711.008 North Pacific/34: Telegram

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

94. Department’s 51, March 22, 7 p.m.

The Associated Press despatch is substantially the same as press release given out by Domei on March 16 which was not published in local Japanese or English press.
The statement is based on reply of the Director of the Bureau of Fisheries to an interpellation at a committee meeting of the Lower House. The interpellation was apparently inspired by pamphlet published last month by the “Kaigo Gyogyo Shinko Kyokai” (Society of Oceanic Fishing Promotion) of Tokyo answering the protests of American and Canadian fisheries publications regarding the Japanese rights to take salmon in the northeast Pacific outside American and Canadian territorial waters.
Diet committee hearings are not published in the Official Gazette. The Embassy is endeavoring to procure the exact Japanese text of the committee hearings but so far without success and it is doubtful if the text can be obtained.
The views of the society mentioned in paragraph 2 were first published in the press on March 20 and 21 and reported to the Department in despatch No. 2328 on March 2238 forwarded in pouch on March 22. The society defends the Japanese point of view in regard to the question of salmon fishing in waters adjacent to the territory of other countries. It contends that the Japanese because of their characteristic ability should base their livelihood upon the open sea and thereby contribute to human welfare; that foreign vessels in former days were accustomed to catch seals and whales off the coast of Japan; that the same international right should exist today; that the high seas are the common property of the people of the world and should not be monopolized by any nation or nationalities; that it is absurd to attempt to claim ownership of seals or salmon in the high seas; and that there is some reason in claiming that fishing by aliens in adjacent seas might cause unemployment through injury to domestic industries but that the conditions in any individual [Page 736] country should not be confused with the general principle of the freedom of the high seas. In an annexed list of recommendations the society requests the Japanese Government to investigate and deliberate on the following three points:
That care must be taken for preservation and protection of the salmon which are of economic importance.
That in conformity with the principles of international law full regard will be given for maintenance of public order and interest of other countries.
That harmony must be maintained among the whole salmon fishing industries.
A distinct movement appears to have arisen recently among the Japanese fisheries interests to obtain a share of the salmon fishery industry of the eastern North Pacific. According to the statement summarized above, there [this?] is to be claimed as a matter of international justice and according to the recommendations it is apparently hoped to gain the right to the share of the industry through governmental negotiation and without unduly disturbing international relations or interfering with the rights and interests of the United States and Canada under international law. How it is hoped to accomplish this purpose is not explained.
  1. Not printed.