Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/88

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Secretary of State that with, questions relating to the exercise of exclusive jurisdiction by the United States for the protection of seals they had nothing to do, and that they were "not authorized to consider or discuss them." Their function was especially restricted to the consideration of facts, causes, and remedies as suggested in the treaty quoted above.

It thus appears to have been clearly the intention of both Governments to regard the commission as one organized purely for the ascertainment of facts and the recommendation of such remedies and regulations as would be suggested by the facts. There is no assumption of any diversity of interests in the matter; the problem is submitted to the commissioners as it might have been if the whole affair had concerned the United States alone, or Great Britain alone. Certain methods of taking seals, at sea and on shore, are followed; it is claimed that these methods, one or both, or other causes are accomplishing the extermination of the herd; the commission is to investigate all the facts, and if it concludes that the herd is in danger of extermination it is to suggest such regulations as it may agree upon for its preservation—not a word or a hint about national or international or traditional rights or "compensatory provisions."

It is of the utmost importance to note these facts, as they appear in the letters of instruction to the commissioners, for they are the basis of the assertion, which might as well be made now as later, that the American commissioners alone, and from the beginning, considered the subject from a scientific or judicial standpoint, while their colleagues, also from the beginning, treated the problem as if it were diplomatic in character, not omitting an occasional attempt to use "dexterity and skill in securing advantages." A small part of the evidence available will suffice to make good this possibly extreme statement, and in attempting to do so it must be understood that not the slightest reflection upon the distinguished gentlemen, who so ably represented and maintained what they believed to be the best interests of the British Government, is intended, or criticism of the course which they followed during the conferences; it is only meant to draw attention to the fact that they were in the attitude of the expert witness whose vision and judgment are undeniably, though unconsciously, influenced by the necessary demands of a previously accepted hypothesis. It is extremely likely that they have precisely this view of their American colleagues, and it is with a view to a fair adjudication of this question that the facts are herewith submitted.

To begin with, there was necessarily a difference in the state of mind of the two commissions in approaching the problem, due to the fact that the British commissioners had already made public ex-