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

No. 1698

Sir: I have the honor to refer to Instruction No. 921 of January 11, 1936,88 in which the Department enclosed a memorandum of conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Sayre and the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy in regard to a proposal to regulate fishing by Japanese in certain waters of Bering Sea and Bristol Bay. The instruction stated that although it appears that the conclusion of an agreement of the kind envisaged is precluded at present by the attitude of the Japanese authorities, the Department would appreciate further suggestion or comment from the Embassy.

The Embassy is inclined to the view that the Japanese will not be willing to undertake negotiations in regard to fishing in northern waters until the present Russo-Japanese fishing difficulties are straightened out, which may require some time. Meanwhile, it seems unlikely that the Japanese Government will encourage salmon fishing by Japanese interests in waters adjacent to Alaska.

For some years, as the Department is aware, the Japanese have been dissatisfied with the fur seal treaty,89 and it is possible that when the Russian fishery difficulties are out of the way, or in a fair way to settlement, the Japanese may propose some modification of the present arrangement and offer restriction of salmon fishing as an inducement. This is pure speculation, but the Japanese desire to reserve liberty of action as regards salmon fishing together with their known attitude towards the present provisions of the fur seal treaty lend some force to the supposition.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. See ibid., p. 1080, footnote 69.
  2. Convention between the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia, signed at Washington, July 7, 1911, ibid., 1911, p. 260.