The Canadian Minister (Massey) to the Secretary of State49

No. 79

Sir: I have the honour to refer to Mr. Castle’s note of April 3rd. 192950 in regard to the proposal advanced in my note No. 34 of March 2nd. 1929 that a conference should shortly be held to discuss the settlement of fisheries questions outstanding between Canada and the United States.

It was stated in Mr. Castle’s note that the competent authorities [Page 78] of the United States Government considered that the outstanding fisheries questions between the two countries were essentially questions of the proper husbandry of the resources in international waters, and the examples were cited of the recent treaty for the preservation of the Salmon fishery in the Fraser River, and of the present negotiations concerning the North Pacific Halibut fishery; the advisability was also mentioned of steps being taken to preserve the Great Lakes fisheries. It was further stated that the United States Government, though entirely agreeable to undertaking an independent discussion of the Great Lakes fisheries or similar problems, deemed it inadvisable to undertake a general discussion of the fisheries situation until the new treaty was concluded governing the North Pacific halibut fishery.

I have been instructed to represent that His Majesty’s Government in Canada are of the opinion that, to judge from the correspondence exchanged between the two Governments and from the nature of the Conference held at Washington on February 26th. 1926, the outstanding fisheries problems go beyond the scope of the proper husbandry of the fisheries resources in the international waters in which the two countries are interested, important as this matter is. They further find it difficult to understand in what manner the proposed treaty governing the North Pacific halibut fishery would be involved in the general discussion proposed, since it is understood that the two Governments, having accepted the recommendations of the International Fisheries Commission, are already in full agreement on the steps to be taken further to protect this fishery, and since the only reason for suggesting a treaty is that the United States Government have found it impossible to carry out these recommendations by other means. I have today addressed a note to you51 urging on behalf of the Government of Canada the advisability of rapidly concluding the negotiation of this treaty.

His Majesty’s Government in Canada see no objection to undertaking at any time an independent discussion of the Great Lakes fisheries or of similar aspects of the fisheries question. They are prepared to begin such a discussion as soon as the negotiations concerning the halibut fishery have been concluded. They desire, however, to suggest that the proposal also should then be revived for a conference on the outstanding fisheries questions generally, inasmuch as these questions extend beyond the problem of the husbanding of the resources in international waters.

I have [etc.]

Vincent Massey
  1. This note was acknowledged by the Department on August 7, 1929, with the statement that it had been brought to the attention of the appropriate authority of the Government (711.428/1283).
  2. See note of April 3, 1929, signed for the Secretary of State by Mr. Castle, supra.
  3. Ante, p. 60.