894.628 Vessels/180

The Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador (Saito)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador and has the honor to refer to the [Page 737] Ambassador’s note No. 55 of March 13, 1937,39 inquiring whether it would be agreeable to this Government for the training ship Hakuyo Maru of the Tokyo Fishing Institute to visit during its cruise, Bristol Bay, St. Paul (Pribilof Islands) and Dutch Harbor (Aleutian Islands). Reference is also made to the Department’s note of March 30, 1937,39 requesting information in regard to the reasons for the proposed visit of the Hakuyo Maru to St. Paul Island, and to the Japanese Ambassador’s note No. 83 of April 6, 1937,39 in reply stating that it is proposed to send the Hakuyo Maru to St. Paul Island for the purpose of making a study in connection with the breeding of fur seals.

The statement in the Ambassador’s note of March 13, 1937, to the effect that the Hakuyo Maru does not intend to enter port in Bristol Bay has been noted. In view of the fact that navigation near the shores of Bristol Bay is extremely hazardous because of the flat shore line with infrequent landmarks, the lack of satisfactory charts, and the absence of qualified pilots, this Government desires that the Hakuyo Maru not enter the territorial waters of the United States in the region of Bristol Bay.

It has been the practice of the American Government to construe liberally the provisions of the so-called Fur Seals Treaty of 191140 and to consent to visits by vessels belonging to the Japanese Department of Agriculture and Forestry to St. Paul Island and to other territories of the United States in order to manifest its desire to cooperate with the Japanese Government in the carrying out of the purposes of that Treaty. It is, however, the view of the American Government that the purpose of the proposed visit to St. Paul Island of the Hakuyo Maru, as set forth in the Japanese Ambassador’s note of April 6, cannot be construed as falling within the purview of the Treaty, and permission for the visit is therefore withheld.

The proposed visit of the Hakuyo Maru to Dutch Harbor between July 14 and July 17, 1937, is agreeable to the authorities of this Government and the necessary action is being taken to arrange for the extension to the vessel of the customary courtesies and facilities.

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  4. Signed at Washington, July 7, 1911, Foreign Relations, 1911, p. 260.