Wodehouse to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
10 November 1859
I am directed by Lord John Russell to transmit to you, to be laid before His Grace The Duke of Newcastle, copies of a despatch and its inclosures from Her Majesty's Minister at Washington, containing the instructions which have been sent by the United States' Government to General Scott and Governor Gholson with respect to the occupation of the IslandManuscript imageIsland of San Juan, and reporting a conversation which Lord Lyons had held with General Cass thereupon.
I am etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The American Government have refused to accept the compromise offered by HM's Govt for the settlement of the boundary, vizt that the line should be drawn along the middle channel which divides the group of Islands.
The U.S. Govt propose a joint military occupation of St Juan by the two governments until the question of title is decided.
HT Irving 12 Nov
On this point ought not some Instructions to go out to our officers on the spot? In future I shd suppose that they Manuscript imageought to be apprized of the substance of the Instructions given by the U. States Govt.
This remark would apply to the Naval Commander in Chief, as well as to the Governor of Vancouver's Island.
TFE 14 Novr
CF 14
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The Govr must be informed of the answer to Ld J.Rs despatch of August last as promised in my despatch after hearing of the U.S. occupation of S: Juan.
He must also be informed of the proposal of the U.S. (or rather their acceptance of our proposal) for a joint occupation pending the settlement of the question of title, and he must be instructed that upon such proposition being made to him by Genl Scott he is to adopt it, placing in the Island a force equivalent to that retained by the U.S.
N 15
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Duke of Newcastle
Should a copy of this despatch be sent to the Foreign office, for information?
HT Irving 17 Novr
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, Confidential, 16 November 1859.
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Draft, Elliot to Wodehouse, 24 November 1859, forwarding copy of despatch sent to Douglas on the subject of San Juan Island.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Lyons, British Minister at Washington, to Russell, 25 October 1859, reporting the refusal of the U.S. government to accept the middle channel as the boundary, but their willingness to establish a temporary joint occupancy until the sovereignty of San Juan Island was settled, with enclosures.
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General Cass, U.S. Department of State, to Lyons, 22 October 1859, reaffirming America's right to the island, but expressing a desire to avoid any conflict in settlement of the dispute, with enclosures describing instructions sent to American officials in Washington Territory.
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Lyons to Cass, 24 October 1859, acknowledging receipt of his note and enclosures, and advising their contents would be transmitted immediately to Britain.
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W.R. Drinkard, U.S. Acting Secretary of War, to General Scott, 16 September 1859, providing background information and detailed instructions of his role in regard to the San Juan Island dispute (fifteen pages).
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Cass to Richard D. Gholson, Governor of Washington Territory, 15 September 1859, advising of the appointment of Scott and asking that he cooperate fully with the general.