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DEBATE FOR THURSDAY, MAY 1.Resolved,- That the United States have a right to exclusive jurisdiction in Behring Sea.
Brief for the Affirmative.K. Fairbank, '90, and W. K. Post, '90.
Best general references,- Fur seal fisheries of Alaska (U. S. Doc., House Report, 3883, 2nd session, 50th Cong.); Bancroft's Alaska, chapters X and XI; History of the Pacific States, vol. xii; N. Y. Tribune, Mar. 19, 1890.
I. Definition of the resolution and of the position of the United States.
II. The United States hold such a right by the established general principles of international law. (a) 1t is the custom of nations to maintain jurisdiction over large bodies of waters, and no limit is observed by them as to the extent of their jurisdiction from the shore-e.g. Chesapeake Bay, Bay of Chaleurs, Fortune Bay, Long Island Sound, Battie, formerly Gulf of Manar, etc. (b) A nation's first duty is to maintain the existence of its inhabitants, and a number of the inhabitants of the United States would starve if the government did not protect the seal fisheries. Hall, p. 42; Fur Seal Fisheries of Alaska, pp. 6 7.
III. The United States possess such a right by legal and historical title. (a) At the time that Russia acquired the title to Behring Sea to was possible and customary to make such acquisitions. (b) She did acquire it by discovery, by uninterrupted possession, and by prescription. Annual Register, 1821. Correspondence of Poletica and Adams. For. Rel., vol. v., p. 652 et seq. Art. 4 of Convention with Russia of 1824. U. S. Treaties. (c)) The United States bought all the Russian rights in the purchase of Alaska. Convention with Russia of 1867, U. S. Treaties. Sumner's speech in Cong. Record, 1866, vol iv., p. 542.
IV. The United States having legally acquired the exclusive jurisdiction of Behring Sea, has never lost it by any definite act, and must, therefore, still possess it.
Brief for the Negative.F. L. DeLong, '90, and G. B. Henshaw, '90.
Best general references,- C. B. Elliott in Atlantic Monthly for Feb., 1390; J. B. Angell in Forum for Nov., 1889.
I. The open sea cannot be appropriated; dominion over the seas can exist only as to those portions capable or permanent possession from the shore. See all the leading authorities on Int Law.- e.g., Abdy's Kent, L. 97; Halleck I., ch. 6 13; Wildman, I., 70; Marters, 40 (ed. 1864); Huntefenille, Tome I., tit. i., ch. 3 S 1; Kluber, 130 (ed. 1861); Ortolor I., 145; Baron de Cussey I., tit. 2, SS40.41; Heffter, 75, 76 (ed. 1866).
II. Behring Sea is clearly an open sea. (a) No authorized definition of a closed sea can apply to it: Vid. authorities cited above.
III. The United States by claiming a right to exclusive jurisdiction would be denying what it always has formerly understood to be international law, (a) It has acknowledged that Behring Sea is open. J. Q. Adam's letter to the Russian Minister, Mar. 30, 1822: Lawrence's W. Lestor, pp. 307, 314. (b) It has denied the right of territorial jurisdiction over similar bodies of water in Europe. Holbeck I., ch. vi., SS17 and 19. (c) It is denying today that in the Northeastern fisheries there can be any territorial jurisdiction over the seas except only as to those portions capable of permanent possession from the shore: C. B. Elliott, The U. S. and the Northeastern fisheries, p. 109; Atlantic M., Feb. 1890, p. 186.
IV. The question of fur-bearing animals is foreign to the subject. (a) The expediency of protecting the fur-bearing animals is foreign to the question of "a right to exclusive territorial jurisdiction," for expediency is not right. (b) The fur-bearing animals, however, can best be protected by international agreement: Atlantic M., Feb., 1890, p. 186; Forum, Nov., 1889, p. 234.
V. To argue that the United States has a right to the exclusive jurisdiction of Behring Sea is to argue against the freedom of the ocean altogether.
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