711.428/2052: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham) to the Secretary of State

19. Department’s 9, January 11 [13] 7 p.m. Foreign Office informs the Embassy that though they have not yet received replies from all of the interested departments the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has written to them in substance as follows.

The anxiety of the United States Government is appreciated. The good results achieved by the convention of 1930 should not be adversely affected by the activities of fishing vessels sailing under the flags of states which were not parties to that convention since in the opinion of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that convention was conceived on thoroughly sound lines. As regards the expedition of the Steamship Thorland to these waters a member of the Foreign Office who owns the vessel called at the Ministry and it emerged from the ensuing conversation that owners of the vessel are aware of the provisions of the convention and that it is intended that the vessel shall conform to all the regulations made under the convention. In the circumstances there would appear to be very little risk of damage [Page 189] being done to the halibut fisheries as a result of the operations of the vessel. In the absence of any general convention regulating the fisheries in the waters in question to which His Majesty’s Government is a party it will not be practicable to take any action to restrain the owners of the Thorland from sending the vessel on this expedition. It would moreover be entirely against the habitual policy of His Majesty’s Government to attempt unduly to restrain the activities of British fishing industry in its reasonable use of fishing grounds in any area outside territorial waters.

The Foreign Office advise the Embassy informally that until answers from the other interested Ministries were received the Foreign Office could not make a formal reply to the Embassy’s representations of November. The Foreign Office believes, however, that its formal reply will not differ in essentials from the above views of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

I understand the Canadian High Commissioner is telegraphing his Government today in a similar sense.