The British Ambassador (Geddes) to the Secretary of State

No. 337

Sir: With reference to my note No. 223 of March 22nd4 relative to the discontinuance of the privileges accorded during the period of the war to Canadian fishing vessels in United States ports, I have the honour to inform you, at the request of the Government of Canada, of the arrangements which they have made in view of the fact that legal authority no longer exists to continue to allow United States fishing vessels privileges conferred by the Order-in-Council of the 8th of March, 1918, under the War Measures Act, which has [Page 673] now ceased to be effective. The Government of the Dominion have decided for the present year to make available for United States fishing vessels visiting ports on the Atlantic coast of Canada the licenses contemplated by Chapter 47 of the Revised Statutes of 1906, which are usually known as modus vivendi licenses. In communicating this information to me the Government of Canada have requested that I should again press upon your attention the desirability, not only of ensuring the proper protection of the salmon fisheries of the Pacific Coast, but also the Fraser River salmon fisheries and the Pacific halibut fishery. It is pointed out by the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries that the Fraser River salmon fisheries, which should, in the aggregate, be worth in both countries not less than $30,000,000 annually, under existing conditions are not worth one-third of that amount and are annually rapidly nearing the point of commercial exhaustion. The Pacific halibut fishery, the greatest the world has known, is also in an exceedingly serious condition, it being admitted on all sides that it can be saved only by proper international action. The Government of Canada reiterate their previously expressed opinion that the best interests of both the Dominion and the United States of America would be served by the removal, from the list of unsettled questions, of that of the granting of privileges to the fishing vessels of either country in the ports of the other. They again emphasise the desirability that negotiations for the settlement of all outstanding fishery questions between the two countries should be taken up anew at the earliest possible moment.

I venture accordingly again to draw your attention to these matters in the hope that you may be disposed to urge upon the competent authorities of the United States Government the desirability of reopening negotiations with the Government of Canada at the earliest possible date.

I have [etc.]

A. C. Geddes
  1. Not printed.