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only one and exactly the same manner, and deciding upon them in only one and exactly the same manner. It probably would conduce to no good end to set forth on this occasion the reasons why the Alabama claims, more than any other class of international claims existing between the two countries, are the very claims against which the United States cannot agree to or admit of any prejudicial discrimination. To present those reasons now would be simply to restate arguments which have been continually presented by this department in all the former stages of this controversy, while it is fair to admit that those reasons have been controverted with equal perseverance by her Majesty's department for foreign affairs.
It is not to be understood by these remarks that the United States except against the possible designation of a sovereign or head of a friendly state as arbitrator or umpire in regard to the Alabama claims. On the contrary, the United States would not be unwilling to have so distinguished an arbitrator or umpire agreed upon by the commissioners in any and, indeed, in every case that shall come before them. All that is insisted upon is that the arbitrament of a sovereign or head of a nation shall not be made unnecessary in regard to other United States claims and British claims and yet be made indispensable to the adjustment of the Alabama claims.
Article V provides that in the event of a decision on any of the claims mentioned in the next preceding article (article IV) being arrived at by the arbitrator involving a question of compensation to be paid, then the amount of such compensation shall be referred back to the commissioners for adjudication, and in the event of their not being able to come to a decision, it shall then be decided by the arbitrator appointed by them, or who shall have been determined by lot, according to article I.
I remark upou this article V that no objection will be made to it if it shall be so amended as to adapt it to the general structure of the convention after article IV shall have been stricken out.
Article VI provides that, with regard to the Alabama class of claims, neither government shall make out a case in support of its position, nor shall any person be heard for or against any such claim. The official correspondence which has already taken place between the two governments respecting the questions at issue shall alone be laid before the commissioners, and in the event of their not coming to a unanimous decision, as provided in article IV, then before the arbitrator without argument, written or verbal, and without the production of any further evidence. But the commissioners unanimously, or the arbitrator, shall, however, be at liberty to call for argument or further evidence if they shall deem it necessary.
The United States are obliged to disallow this article in its present form, upon the principle set forth in my remarks upon article IV, and for the reason there given. The article is believed to be superfluous, while the precautions it contains against allowing as full a hearing and exami. nation of the Alabama claims as is allowed to all other American claims and to British claims, would have the mischievous effect of exciting unnecessary distrust in the Senate and among the people of the United States, and it is presumed even among the people of Great Britain. The President confidently hopes that upon reconsideration of the subject her Majesty's government will consent to amend the convention by striking out article VI, or at least by amending it, so that article VI will read as follows :
" In case of every claim the official correspondence which has already 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 VII provides that the decision of the commissioners or of the arbitrator or umpire, as the case may be, shall be considered by both parties as absolutely final and conclusive, and full effect shall be given to such decisions without any objection or delay whatsoever.
This article VII is approved.
Article VIII provides that no claim arising out of any transaction prior to the 26th of July, 1853, the day of the exchange of the ratifications of the convention of the 8th of February, 1853, shall be admissible under the convention.
This article VIII is approved.
Article IX provides that all sums of money which may be awarded by the commissioners or by the arbitrator or umpire, on account of any claim, shall be paid in coin, or its equivalent, by the one government to the other, as the case may be, within twelve months after the date of the decision, without interest.
In view, however, of possible delays of legislative appropriation in the two countries, the word “ twelve" ought to be struck out and the word “ eighteen” inserted. Article IX, if so amended, would be accepted.
Article X provides that the high contracting parties engage to consider the result of the proceedings of the commission as a full and final settlement of every claim upon either government arising out of any transaction of a date prior to the exchange of the ratifications of the present convention; and further engage that every such claim, whether it shall have been presented to the notice of, made, preferred, or laid before the commission, shall, from and after the conclusion of the pro. ceedings of the convention, be considered and treated as finally settled and barred.
This article X seems unobjectionable and is approved.
Article XI provides that the commissioners shall keep an accurate record, and correct minutes or notes of all their proceedings, with the dates thereof, and shall appoint and employ clerks or other persons to assist them in the transaction of the business which may come before them; that the secretary shall be appointed by the principal secretary of state for foreign affairs of her Britannic Majesty, and by the representative of the United States in London, jointly; that each government shall pay the salaries of its own commissioners, and all other expenses, and the contingent expenses of the commission, including the salary of the secretary, shall be defrayed in moieties by the two parties.
I suggest that this article XI shall be amended, first by inserting after the word “commissioners," in the first line, the words, “an arbitrator or umpire;” and second, by striking out the second paragraph entirely and substituting for it the words following: “The secretary shall be appointed by the representative of her Britannic Majesty in Washington, and by the Secretary of State of the United States, jointly." With these amendments this article XI will be satisfactory.
Article XII fixes a period within which the ratifications of the conven. tion shall be exchanged.
This article is unobjectionable and is approved.
I close this dispatch, as you might reasonably expect, with some remarks and directions upon the general subject of the negotiation. It is sincerely hoped that the amendments I have proposed may be allowed by her Majesty's government. It is conceived that these amendments
do not, in fact, change the character of the convention, and that they do not secure to one party, or deprive the other of, any material advantage which the convention allows in its present shape. All that they can accomplish is to relieve the convention of an apparent spirit and tendency to prejudice the largest class of United States claims before the commission and the arbitrator.
In assigning my reasons for requiring the amendments, I have confined myself within the narrowest possible limits, seeking to avoid all unneces. sary argument or controversy. You are authorized, however, to say I am of opinion that the amendments proposed are important to recommend the convention to acceptance by the Senate, and approval by the Congress of the United States.
The terms in which you have expressed yourself in your correspondence concerning the convention leave no room to doubt that you have supposed that it would be satisfactory to the United States in its present shape. It is further believed that you may have expressed that opinion to Lord Stanley. Her Majesty's government, disappointed in the expectation thus excited, may possibly be reluctant to continue the negotiation. In that case you are authorized to say that the transaction was conducted on the part of this government by a large use of the cable telegraph; that you were expected by this government to adhere more closely than you have done to the convention of 1853 as a model, and were supposed to be so adhering, while my telegraphic instructions, written under that misconception, were liable to be misunderstood by you as approving the departures you have made from the prescribed model. To this stateinent you will add the expression of regret on the part of this government that this misunderstanding, which now seems to have been unavoidable, should have been a means of leading her Majesty's government to suppose that articles IV, V, and VI might be expected to obtain the constitutional assent of the government of the United States.
If on receiving this instruction you shall be able to bring the negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion, it will be better to have that conclusion expressed in the form of a protocol rather than of a convention. That form would be preferable over the form of a convention, in view of the discussions which any settlement of the subject might be expected to undergo in the Senate and among the people of the United States. It is not intended, however, by this remark to indicate any distrust of the acceptance of the convention when amended as herein proposed. On the contrary, there is good reason to believe that such a settlement would be as promptly approved as its influence upon the relations of the two countries would be immediately felt and appreciated.
It remains only to say that, in view of the present situation of the claims question, it is expedient to let the satisfactory settlement of the naturalization question and the San Juan question rest in protocol. On the other hand, should her Majesty's government accept the amendments of the claims convention herein proposed, you are authorized in that case to reduce the three or either two of these agreements to the forms of distinct conventions, and to sign and transmit them at once to this department to be laid before the President for ratification.
To facilitate your understanding of this dispatch, I give you herewith a copy of the convention as it would stand when amended as is herein proposed. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. REVERDY JOHNSON, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Conrention between Great Britain and the United States of America for the settlement of all
outstanding claims. Signed at London, Norember 10, 1868. [The amendments by the government of the United States to this protocol are indi. cated as follows: The words added are in italics. Those stricken out are placed between brackets.)
Whereas claims have at various times since the exchange of the ratifications of the convention between Great Britain and the United States of America, signed at London ou the 8th of February, 1853, been made upon the government of her Britannic Majesty on the part of citizens of the United States, and upon the government of the United States on the part of subjects of her Britannic Majesty; and whereas some of such claims are still pending, and remain unsettled; her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the President of the United States of America, being of opinion that a speedy and equitable settlement of all such claims will contribute much to the maintenance of the friendly feelings which subsists between the two countries, have resolved to make arrangements for that purpose by means of a convention, and have named as their plenipotentiaries to confer and agree thereupon, that is to say: her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the right honorable Edward Henry Stanley, commonly called Lord Stanley, a member of her Britannic Majesty's most honorable privy council, a member of Parliament, her principal secretary of state for foreign affairs; and the President of the United States of America, Reverdy Johnson, esquire, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the United States to her Britannic Majesty ; who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:
ARTICLE I. The high contracting parties agree that all claims on the part of subjects of her Britannic Majesty upon the government of the United States, and all claims on the part of citizens of the United States upon the government of her Britannic Majesty, which may have been presented to either government for its interposition with the other since the 26th of July, 1853, the day of the exchange of the ratifications of the convention concluded between Great Britain and the United States of America, at London, on the 8th of February, 1853, and which yet remain unsettled; as well as any other such claims which may be presented within the time specified in article III of this convention, whether or not arising out of the late civil war in the United States, shall be referred to four commissioners, to be appointed in the following manner, that is to say: two commissioners shall be named by her Britannic Majesty, and two by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, of the United States. In case of the death, absence, or incapacity of any commissioner, or in the event of any commissioner ornitting or ceasing to act as such, her Britannic Majesty, or the President of the United States, as the case may be, shall forthwith name another person to act as commissioner in the place or stead of the commissioner originally named.
The commissioners so named shall meet at [London] Washington at the earliest convenient period after they shall have been respectively named, and shall, before proceeding to any business, make and subscribe a solemn declaration that they will impartially and carefully examine and decide, to the best of their judgment, and according to justice and equity, without fear, favor, or affection to their own country, upon all such claims as shall be laid before them on the part of the governments of her Britannic Majesty and of the United States, respectively, and such declaration shall be entered on the record of their proceedings.
The commissioners shall then, and before proceeding to any other business, name some person to act as an arbitrator or umpire, to whose final decision [save as otherwise provided in article IV of this convention) 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 the arbitrator or umpire in that particular case. The person or persons so to be chosen as arbitrator or umpire shall, before proceeding to act as such in any case, make and subscribe a solemn declaration, in a form similar to that made and subscribed by the commissioners, which shall be entered on the record of their proceedings. In the event of the death, absence, or incapacity of such person or persons, or of his or their omitting, or declining, or ceasing to act as such arbitrator or umpire, another person shall be named, in the same manner as the person originally named, to act as arbitrator or umpire in his place and stead, and shall make and subscribe such declaration as aforesaid.
The commissioners shall then forthwith proceed to the investigation of the claims which shall be presented to their notice. They shall investigate and decide upon such claims in such order and in such manner as they may think proper, but upon such evidence or information only as shall be furnished by or on behalf of their respective governments. They shall be bound to receive and peruse all written documents or statements which may be presented to them by or on behalf of their respective governments, in support of or in answer to any claim, and to hear, if required, one person on each side on behalf of each government, as counsel or agent for such government, on each and every separate claim. Should they fail to decide by a majority upon any individual claim, they shall call to their assistance the arbitrator or umpire whom they may have agreed upon, or who may be determined by lot, as the case may be; and such arbitrator or umpire, after having examined the evidence adduced for and against the claim, and after having heard, if required, one person on each side as aforesaid, and consulted with the commissioners, shall' decide thereupon finally and without appeal.
The decision of the commissioners, and of the arbitrator or umpire, shall be given upon cach claim in writing, and shall be signed by them respectively, and dated.
It shall be competent for each government to name one person to attend the commissioners as agent on its behalf, to present and support claims on its behalf, and to answer claiins made upon it, and to represent it generally in all matters connected with the investigation and decision thereof.
[The provisions of this article shall, however, be subject to the special arrangements made by article. IV, V, and VI of this convention, respecting the claims which form the subject of those articles, and which shall be dealt with as directed in those articles.]
Every claim shall be presented to the commissioners within six months from the day of their first meeting, unless in any case where reasons for delay shall be established to the satisfaction of the commissioners, or of the arbitrator or umpire in the event of the commissioners differing in opinion thereupon; and then and in any such case the period for presenting the claim may be extended to any time not exceeding three months longer. .
The commissioners shall be bound' to examine and decide upon every claim within two years from the day of their first meeting. It shall be competent for the commissioners, or for the arbitrator or umpire if they differ, to decide in each case whether any claim has or has not been duly made, preferred, or laid before them, either wholly, or to any and what extent, according to the true intent and meaning of this convention..
ARTICLE IV. 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 before any of such claims is 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 an unanimous decision upon the same]
NOTE.-Omit the part in brackets, or, if preferred, cancel the whole of article IV.
ARTICLE V. In the event of a decision on any of the claims mentioned in the next preceding article being arrived at by the arbitrator, involving a question of compensation to be paid, the amount of such compensation shall be referred back to the commissioners for adjudication; and in the event of their not being able to come to a decision, it shall then be decided by the arbitrator appointed by them, or who shall have been determined by lot according to the provision of article I.
NOTE.-If article IV is amended and retained as proposed, article V may stand withont amendment. If article IV is canceled entirely, then amend article 8, line one by striking out the words “ mentioned in the next preceding article."
With regard to the before-mentioned “Alabama" class of claims, neither government shall make out a case in support of its position, nor shall any person be heard for or against any such claim. The official correspondence which has already taken place