The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

No. 748

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 1190, dated March 4, 1935,60 in regard to the advisability of the Japanese Government being approached with a view to there being concluded between the United States and Japan a treaty to regulate salmon fishing in certain waters of Bering Sea and Bristol Bay. The Department made available to the Department of Commerce a copy of your despatch under reference, and there is enclosed a copy of a letter, dated April 16, 1935, from that Department,60 in which there are set forth circumstances which, it is believed, make it important that a treaty such as that under contemplation be entered into with the least possible delay consistent with diplomatic considerations.

The Department shares your view that the Japanese Government should be approached informally, that it should be informed of the desires of this Government in connection with the preservation of the fishery resources of Alaska, and that the Japanese Government should be asked to indicate whether it would be prepared to cooperate in the matter. The Department associates itself with the Embassy in the view that the results of projected negotiations between the Japanese and Soviet Government in regard to fishing by Japanese nationals [Page 1075] in Soviet waters would have important bearing on the attitude which the Japanese Government may take in the matter of salmon fishing off the coast of Alaska, and it believes, therefore, that no approach should be made to that government until there has been presented to the Japanese and Soviet Governments reasonable opportunity to conclude between them an agreement.

The Department does not, however, concur with the Embassy in the view that an approach to the Japanese Government should await the enactment and enforcement of legislation by Japan to regulate fishing in northern waters by Japanese nationals. It is realized that the enactment of such legislation would place the Japanese Government in relatively favorable position to cooperate, if it should so desire, with the American Government to preserve the fishery resources of Alaska. In view of the fact that the Japanese Government was reported in 1931 by the Embassy to be favorably disposed toward cooperative regulation of salmon fishing off the coast of Alaska and of the fact that operations by Japanese would seriously affect the American salmon fishing industry, it is requested that the Embassy attentively follow the fishery negotiations between the Japanese and Soviet Governments, and that the Embassy report to the Department as soon as the Embassy believes that it would be opportune, in the light of the views set forth in the present instruction and in the enclosure thereto, to approach the Japanese Government.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
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