EXTRACT FROM BEHRING SEA (FUR SEAL) ARBITRATION 1893.
ARGUMENT OF THE UNITED STATES, pp. 39-40.
We may, however, briefly observe here, that according to the best authorities in international law the occupation of a new country which is sufficient to give to the occupying nation a title to it depends very largely upon the nature of the country and the beneficial uses which it may be made to subserve. In the case of a fruitful region capable of supporting a numerous population, it might not be allowable for a nation first discovering it to maintain a claim over vast areas which it did not actually occupy and attempt to improve ; but where a remote and desolate region has been discovered yielding only a single or few products, and all capable of being beneficially secured by the discovering nation, a claim to these products asserted and actually exercised, is all the occupation of which the region is susceptible and is sufficient to confer the right of property ; and that whatever authority it may be reasonably necessary to exercise upon the adjoining seas in order to protect such, interests from invasion may properly be asserted. Says Phillimore, who seems to have understood the Oregon territory as embracing the whole Northwest coast of North America :
“A similar settlement was founded by the British and Russian Fur Companies in North America.
“The chief portion of the Oregon territory is valuable solely for the fur-bearing animals which it produces. Various establishments in different parts of this territory organised a system for securing the preservation of these animals, and exercised for these purposes a control over the native population. This was rightly contended to be the only exercise of proprietary right of which these particular regions were at that time susceptible, and to mark that a beneficial use was made of the whole territory by the occupants.” *
* Int. Law; Vol. I, pages 259, 260.