Forced Settlement: The Alaska Boundary Tribunal
Following the modus vivendi of 20 October 1899 and the survey of the provisional boundary the following summer, there had been fitful negotiations over the type of tribunal, or similar body, that would fix the Alaska Boundary. For the moment there was no need to hurry. The excitement of the Klondike Gold Rush was over, and interest had turned to events elsewhere. Gold production had peaked at just over 22 million in 1900, and individual miners, forced out by the growing consolidations, were leaving to prospect elsewhere or, more often, to return to the south. In addition, Britain and, to some extent, Canada had been involved in the South African War which dragged on until the final surrender in May 1902. By then, Theodore Roosevelt was growing impatient to settle the matter finally. On 24 January 1903, a treaty signed in Washington by John Hay, secretary of state of the United States, and Sir Michael Herbert, the British ambassador, set the stage for another attempt.
The Hay-Herbert Treaty, as it became known, called for a tribunal consisting of "six impartial jurists of repute, who shall consider judicially the questions submitted to them, each of whom shall first subscribe an oath that he will impartially consider the arguments and evidence presented to the Tribunal, and will decide thereupon according to his true judgment. Three members of the Tribunal shall be appointed by His Britannic Majesty and three by the President of the United States. All questions considered by the Tribunal, including the final award, shall be decided by a majority of the members thereof." 1 There were seven questions dealing with the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825: