Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies

By R. A. MacKay | Go to book overview

VIII
THE BOND-BLAINE CONVENTION

The Senate's rejection of the Chamberlain-Bayard Treaty caused an almost completely new departure in Newfoundland's fishery policy. Hitherto, with the single exception of Shea's mission in 1885, Newfoundland had associated itself with Canada in negotiations over fisheries with the United States. Every fishery treaty with the United States concerning Newfoundland had been negotiated by Great Britain, acting on behalf of British North America as a whole. Newfoundlanders were inclined to believe that they had derived scant benefit from this common front on the North Atlantic fisheries question. Moreover, they had become convinced that it was Canada's demands which had formed the stumbling-block to the successful negotiations of a satisfactory fisheries treaty with the United States. Consequently, Newfoundland resolved to rid itself of the handicap of the Canadian partnership and to initiate independent negotiations with Washington.

The time was opportune in 1890, for the two years' modus vivendi established by the Washington protocol of 1887 had expired, and unless Newfoundland granted an extension some new arrangement was imperative. At a meeting held on 22nd February to discuss renewal the Executive Council of Newfoundland voted in favour of four separate negotiations.1 Governor O'Brien forwarded a minute of this meeting to Knutsford, informing him that the Council were "strongly of the opinion that, as our interests are not identical, and we have no burning questions with the United States, such as those existing between that country and the Dominion, we

____________________
1
Minute of Newfoundland Executive Council, 22nd February, 1890. J. of H. of A., 1891, app., p. 491.

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