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Mr. Johnson to Mr. Seward.

[Telegram per cable.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, November 16, 1868. Have reason to believe Washington will be agreed to.

REVERDY JOHNSON. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Johnson to Mr. Seward. No. 61.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, November 23, 1868. SIR: Lord Stanley and myself have signed to-day a supplement to the claims convention, which makes two changes in the original. The first is that Washington is to be the place of meeting of the commission instead of London; and the second, rendered necessary by that change, is that the secretary of the commission is to be chosen by our Secretary of State and the British minister at Washington.

I am glad to say that Lord Stanley very readily assented to these alterations, and that he has from the first evinced an earnest desire to settle upon terms entirely satisfactory to the United States every disputed matter, while scrupulously guarding what he believed to be the rights and honor of his own country; and I am equally glad to say that this is in accordance with the manifest sentiment of the people of all classes, and especially of the statesmen who, if there be a change in the administration here, will be called to the government. I have the honor to remain, with high regard, your obedient servant,

REVERDY JOHNSON. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

ADDITIONAL ARTICLE.

Whereas by article I of the convention between her Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, signed at London on the 10th day of November, 1868, for the settlement of all outstanding claims, it was agreed that the commission thereby stipulated to be appointed for the investigation and decision of such claims should meet at London ; and whereas it has since appeared desirable that the place of meeting of the said commission should be Washington, the plenipotentiaries who signed that convention, having met together, have agreed to substitute Washington for London as the place for the meeting and sitting of the commission aforesaid. They have further agreed that the secretary of the commission shall be appointed by the representative of Great Britain at Washington and by the Secretary of State of the United States, jointly, instead of in the manner provided by article XI of the convention,

The present additional article shall have the same force and effect as if it had been inserted, word for word, in the convention of the 10th of November, 1868. It shall be ratified and the ratifications shall be exchanged at the same time as those of the convention,

In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and have affixed thereto their respective seals.

Done at London the 23d day of November, in the year of our Lord 1868. (SEAL.]

STANLEY (SEAL.

REVERDY JOHNSON.

Mr. Johnson to Mr. Seward.

[Telegram per cable.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, November 24, 1868. Washington substituted for London. See bag.

REVERDY JOHNSON, Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Johnson to Mr. Seward.

[Telegram por cable.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES.

London, November 24, 1868. Can San Juan protocol be made a convention? Thought advisable. Answer,

REVERDY JOHNSON. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Johnson to Mr. Seroard.
[Telegram per cable.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, November 26, 1868. Can San Juan protocol be changed to convention? Asked Monday; not answered. Answer.

REVERDY JOHNSON. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Johnson.
[Telegram per cable.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, November 26, 1868. Let San Juan rest. Claims convention unless amended is useless. Wait for dispatches Friday or Saturday.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. REVERDY JOHNSON, Esq., &c., &c., &c.:

Mr. Seward to Mr. Johnson.
[Telegram per cable.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, November 27, 1868. The following amendments referring to British printed copy are essential in the claims treaty:

Article I, line 20, insert after President, “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."

Same article I, second paragraph, strike out "London" and insert « Washington."

Same article I, third page, strike out, “save as otherwise provided in article IV of this convention."

Article II. Strike out the last paragraph entire.

Article IV. Strike out all after word “claims” in fourth line, or, if preferred, cancel the whole of article IV.

Article V. If article IV is amended and retained as above proposed, article V may then stand without amendment. If article IV is canceled entirely, then amend article V, line 2, by striking out the words, “mentioned in the next preceding article."

Article VI. Either cancel the whole article, or substitute the following therefor: “In case of every claim, the official correspondence which has taken place between the two governments respecting the questions at issue shall be laid before the commissioners, and, in the event of their not coming to a decision thereupon, then before the arbitrator. Either government may also submit further evidence and further argument thereupon, written or verbal."

Article IX. Strike out " 12" and insert "18."

Article XI, second paragraph, strike out all after the word “the” and insert “representative of her Britannic Majesty at Washington and the Secretary of State of the United States, jointly."

If these amendments be not accepted, let San Juan remain in protocol. If they are accepted, sign the claims convention as amended, and convert San Juan protocol into convention and sign the same. Full explanations go by post, but time is important.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. REVERDY JOHNSON, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Johnson..

No. 47.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, November 27, 1868. SIR: I have received your dispatch of the 10th of November, No. 49, which is accompanied by a convention which you signed with Lord Stanley at London on the 10th instant, for the settlement of all outstanding claims. Your dispatch gives your reasons for assenting to the convention, and especially to some of its provisions. Having submitted these papers to the President, I am now to give you his directions concerning the matters thereby presented. In order to do this with greater perspicuity, I shall take notice of the several articles contained in the convention in their proper order.

Article I provides for the appointment of four commissioners for the adjustment of mutual claims, two to be named by her Britannic Majesty and two by the President of the United States. In the event of any commissioner omitting or ceasing to act, her Britannic Majesty, or the President of the United States, as the case may be, shall name another person to act as commissioner instead of the commissioner originally named. Article I further provides that the commissioners shall meet at London, and make and subscribe a solemn declaration therein prescribed. This declaration shall be entered of record. This article further provides that the commissioners shall then, and before proceeding to any other business, name some person to act as arbitrator or umpire, to whose

final decision, save as otherwise provided in article IV, shall be referred any claim upon which they may not be able to come to a decision. If they should not be able to agree upon an arbitrator or umpire, the commissioners on either side shall name a person as arbitrator or umpire, and in each and every case in which the commissioners may not be able to come to a decision, the commissioners shall determine by lot which of the two persons so named shall be arbitrator or umpire in that particular case. The person or persons so to be chosen as arbitrator or umpire shall make and subscribe the same solemn declaration which is prescribed to the commissioners, and it is to be entered of record. In the event of the death, absence, incapacity, or failure of such arbitrator or umpire, another shall be named to act as arbitrator or umpire, in the same manner as the person originally named.

In regard to this article I, I remark that we must require that it may be amended so as to provide that the commissioners to be named on the part of the United States shall be named by the President, “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States." It is not doubted that this ought to be, as it probably would be taken to be, the meaning of the convention as it now stands. Nevertheless, with the view to avoid possible misapprehension, it is desirable that the article should be amended so as to make the provisions literally conform in this respect to the Constitution of the United States. Of course her Majesty's government can have no objection to this amendment.

Secondly, we are advised that in accordance with my suggestions heretofore made by cable telegram, her Majesty's government have consented to amend this first article so as to substitute “ Washington" instead of "London" for the place of the meeting of the commissioners. This amend. ment will be expected to be finally made.

Thirdly, we must insist upon amending this first article by striking out the words “ save as otherwise provided in article IV of this convention." Our reasons for this amendment will fully appear in my commentary upon articles IV, V, and VI. You are authorized to say that with these amendments article I would be satisfactory to the President of the United States.

I proceed to article II. Article II prescribes certain forms and rules for the proceedings of the commissioners, and provides that each government may name one person to attend the commissioners as agent upon its behalf, to present and support claims on its behalf, to answer claims made upon it, and to represent it generally. Article II closes with the following paragraph: “The provisions of this article shall, however, be subject to the special arrangements made by articles IV, V, and VI of this convention, respecting the clairns which form the subject of those articles, which shall be dealt with as directed in those articles."

The United States must insist on striking out this last paragraph of article II, for the reasons which appear in the remarks hereinafter made on articles IV, V, and VI. You are authorized to say that with this exception article II would be satisfactory to the President.

I pass to article III. Article III fixes the periods within which claims shall be submitted, examined, and decided. This article is unobjectionable, and is entirely approved.

I have thus come to article IV. Article IV specially declares that the commissioners shall have power to adjudicate upon the class of claims referred to in the official correspondence between the two governments as the Alabama claims, but declares that, before any such claims are to be taken into consideration by them, the two high contracting parties shall fix upon some sovereign or head of a friendly state as an

arbitrator in respect of such claims, to whom such class of claims shall be referred in case the commissioners shall be unable to come to a unani. mous decision upon the same.

The United States are obliged to disallow this article IV. The United States have no objection to the first clause of the article, which declares that the commissioners shall have power to adjudicate upon the so-called Alabama claims. Indeed, the United States would willingly retain this clause because of its explicitness in regard to the Alabama claims. They did not in their instructions to you insist upon such a special direction in regard to the Alabama claims, but only because they thought that special mention of those claims might be deemed inconvenient on the part of her Majesty's government, while it could not admit of doubt that these so-called Alabama claims were plainly included, as well as all other claims of citizens of the United States, in the comprehensive description of claims contained in article 1.

Secondly, it is to be considered by her Majesty's government that the Alabama class of claims constitute the largest and most material portion of the entire mass of claims of citizens of the United States against Great Britain which it is the object of the convention to adjust. Upon the Alabama claims, as well as all others, this government is content to obtain and most earnestly desires a perfectly fair, equal, and impartial judicial trial and decision. This government has always explicitly stated that it asks no discrimination in favor of the Alabama claims, and can admit of no material discrimination against them in the forms of trial or judgment, but must, on the contrary, have them placed on the same basis as all other claims. This article IV, so far from placing them on an equal footing with the other United States claims and with the British claims, prejudicially discriminates against them in these respects:

1. While the convention provides that the other United States claims and the British claims shall be settled and determined by a majority of the commissioners, this article IV requires entire unanimity of the commissioners for a decision upon any of the Alabama claims.

2. This article IV further discriminates against the Alabama claims in this, that while the choice of an arbitrator or umpire in regard to all other than the Alabama claims is left to be decided by lot in case of a disagreement of the commissioners, this article IV provides that in regard to the Alabama claims the two governments shall definitely agree in the appointment of an arbitrator or umpire.

3. This article IV again discriminates against the Alabama claims in requiring that in regard to those claims the arbitrator or umpire shall be some sovereign or head of a friendly state, while no such limitation is made in regard to any other class of claims.

The present negotiation was undertaken in the hope that the controversy about international claims which has so long existed, and has been attended with so much national feeling on both sides, might be amicably settled and closed by adopting the very simple yet comprehensive principles and forms of reference and adjudication which were adopted with so much success, under circumstances not very dissimilar, by the convention for the adjustment of international claims of February 8,1853. That convention was proposed by the United States, as a model which had already received the approval of both parties and had the prestige of complete and even felicitous success. That convention of 1853 had no reservations and no preference of, for, against, or concerning claims of any class of citizens or subjects of either nation. A judicial tribunal was constituted by it in a manner perfectly equal, just, and fair, and to that tribunal was confided the duty of hearing all claims of whatever separate classes in

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