The Secretary of Commerce (Hoover) to the Secretary of
Washington, March 9,
My Dear Mr. Secretary: I enclose herewith a
memorandum with regard to a fishing matter with Canada, which explains
It appears that this department is acting entirely unofficially in
allowing Canadian vessels certain privileges in the United States in
return for certain privileges in Canada as a result of an emergency
measure taken during the war.
The fishing community both on the Atlantic and Pacific sides is somewhat
divided on the desirability of this measure, but as a matter of fact it
is being carried on without any authority in law, apparently with the
idea that some treaty negotiations are likely to be presented to the
Senate bearing on the question.
I would be glad if you could at an early date let me know what the
situation is as I do not feel that we have the right to continue this
sort of action no matter how advantageous it may be to American
The Commissioner of Navigation (Chamberlain) to the Secretary of Commerce (Hoover)
Washington, March 9,
Representative Lufkin of the Gloucester district, will come in soon
to see you about the war arrangement for reciprocal fishing
privileges with Canada.
- Vessels of the United States and no others are entitled to
engage in the coasting trade and fisheries. (R.S. 4311).
- To meet the conditions of the hard winter of 1917–18,
Secretary Redfield on February 21, 1918, as a war measure
instructed Collectors of Customs to admit Canadian and other
allied vessels to our fisheries, and Canada acted
- This order, which is contrary to law, still stands, though the
conditions which prompted it no longer exist.
- It has not been canceled, principally because a fisheries
treaty was negotiated soon after with Canada on the reciprocal
principle of the order. The fate of the treaty in effect would
have determined the continuance of the order. For various
reasons the treaty was not sent to the Senate.
- Expediency may suggest, as do the Gloucester people, that
nothing be done, as their fishing season on the Newfoundland
banks soon begins and they think a tariff bill imposing a duty
on fish will become law early in the summer. This, however,
leaves the Secretary of Commerce still in a lawless attitude,
the more untenable because the last Congress just before
adjournment terminated by joint resolution approved March 4 , practically all war legislation,
proclamations, power, etc.
- The situation turns on the fisheries treaty; if that is not to
be sent to the Senate, then the order of February 1918 ought to
be canceled; if the treaty is to go to the Senate, pending the
determination of its fate the Department might perhaps be
justified in letting the order of 1918 stand a little
- You may wish to take this up with Secretary Hughes and tell
Mr. Lufkin, so that if the conflicting Gloucester and Boston
people want you to hear them, they can also arrange to have
their say before the State Department, if Secretary Hughes