The Minister in Canada (Phillips) to the Secretary of State

No. 508

Sir: With reference to my despatch No. 482 dated June 19, enclosing the Canadian Government’s reply in regard to the establishment of a fact-finding commission to investigate seine fishing in the Canadian waters connected with Lake Champlain, I have the honor to report that I have recently had a conversation on this subject with Mr. Alex. Johnston, Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries. In this connection the Department will be interested to learn that Mr. Johnston is about to retire from that part of his work relating to the fisheries and will henceforth confine his activities wholly to questions relating to marine. Mr. W. A. Found, at present Director of Fisheries, will very shortly be appointed Deputy Minister of Fisheries.

During the conversation with Mr. Johnston to which I have referred, the question of the preservation of the sockeye salmon on the Fraser River was touched upon. Mr. Johnston informed me confidentially that the Canadian Government was considering a new draft of a treaty for the protection of the Fraser River system of sockeye salmon fisheries which, while not radically different from the original treaty, has been somewhat amended. Subsequently, Mr. Johnston was good enough to send me, quite informally, the new text [Page 44] which is now being studied in the Department of External Affairs, and I beg to enclose herewith a copy thereof.24 It is to be understood that the enclosed draft is not official in any sense and is transmitted for the information of the Department and merely as a matter of interest.

Furthermore, it developed during the conversation that the Canadian Government’s note of June 16, transmitted with my despatch of June 19, was an attempt to bring pressure upon the United States Government in the protection of the sockeye salmon industry. Since the United States was greatly concerned in the protection of fisheries of Lake Champlain, it was felt here that this fact would be of use in persuading the Government of the United States to take the needed steps in the preservation of the Fraser River industry. I assume that on studying the Canadian Government’s note referred to, the Department had reached the conclusion that the two fishing industries were closely associated in the minds of the Canadians, but the remarks of Mr. Johnston in this connection seemed to me, nevertheless, worthy of report.

It would be immensely gratifying to the Canadians to receive some assurance that the Government of the United States was determined to end the destruction of the salmon industry, which is regarded here as not only valuable to the Canadians but to the Americans as well.

I have [etc.]

William Phillips
  1. Not printed.