To this I received the following reply ;
Ottawa, 26th February, 1902.
My Dear Mr. Bourassa,-This morning I received your letter in answer to mine of the 21st instant, in which I asked you for your authority for making the extraordinary statement you were reported in the newspapers to have attributed to me in your speech in the House of Commons on your motion for papers in the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. This report stated that you ' then went on to credit Sir Louis Davies with making the statement that he had spent three months in London trying to get the officers of Mr. Chamberlain to take the part of Canada at the sitting of the Anglo-American commission.'
I am glad to find that you uow repudiate the correctness of this report, and send me as a correct statement of what you did say that I ' was obliged to pass three months in London to convince Mr. Chamberlain's officials that they should not side with the American government, but with us.'
While accepting this statement of what you really did say, I have failed to notice that you have made any public correction of the report of your remarks.
As your authority for making this statement you refer me to certain alleged interviews which, you say, I gave upon my arrival from England, namely, the ' Gazette,' and the ' Herald,' Montreal, and the Toronto ' Globe,' of October, 1899. I have looked up these reports which you gave as your authority, and I am obliged to say that after a careful perusal of them, I am unable to see that they afford just ground for the statement you were reported to have made, or the one you send me as the statement you actually did make.
I gave no ' interview ' to any of those newspapers, and the report to which you call my attention do not purport to be in the form of a regular interview ; but with respect to the charge you make, you have been entirely and grievously misled. I went to England in 1899, accompanied by Mr. Pope and Mr. King, to lay before the Imperial government a complete statement of the contention of Canada with respect to the Alaska boundary line. Our treatment by the officials of the colonial office on that occasion was most sympathetic, and those gentlemen did everything they could to furnish us with any official documents and information we required. In point of fact, Sir John Anderson, who had charge of this question in the colonial office, did everything that lay in his power to further the object of our mission.
Nothing could have been further from my thoughts than to have attributed to Mr. Chamberlain, or any of his officials, either indifference or hostility to Canada's interests, and if I had done so I certainly would have done violence to the truth.
And here I call the attention of the House to the following paragraph :
The American correspondents of the English
papers in Washington and New York had been transmitting during that summer letters and cablegrams to England giving a very perverted and incorrect view of Canada's claims and position, with respect alike to the main contention and the provisional boundary line then being established, and these telegrams would, no doubt, have had the effect of prejudicing Canada's case, if left unanswered. I did what I could to dissipate this prejudice.
I certainly never made any such statement as you are reported to have attributed to me ; nor did I ever make any such statement as you in your letter give as the correct report of what you said. I never knew or heard of any officials of Mr. Chamberlain taking any part adverse to Canada during the sittings of the Anglo-American commission or afterwards ; on the contrary, as I have stated before, so far as my knowledge went they were ready at all times to do everything they could to further Canada's interests.
As you were one of the secretaries of the Joint High Commission, and sat as a colleague with me for two sessions after this alleged interview took place, and never to my knowledge, made reference to it before, I trust you will take an early opportunity in the House of Commons of correcting your statement, which is certainly a misleading one and unjust to me.