894.628 Vessels/200

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 acknowledge the receipt of his note No. 131 of June 14, 1937, requesting with reference to the Secretary’s note of May 22, 1937, that reconsideration be given to the question of consent to the proposed visit of the Hakuho Maru to Chicagof Harbor on Attu Island, Constantine Harbor on Amchitka Island and Nazan Bay on Atka Island, and setting forth a further explanation of the reasons for such a visit.

It is desired to point out in amplification of the statements contained in the Secretary of State’s note of May 22, 1937, that the records of this Government indicate that fur seals do not frequent the waters of the islands mentioned, either on their spring and autumn migrations or during the summer months, and that competent scientists and observers of this Government have never reported fur seals in the vicinity of the Western Aleutian Islands. In view of these facts, this Government continues to hold the opinion that the proposed visit by the Hakuho Maru to the places mentioned cannot be construed as falling within the purview of the so-called Fur Seals Convention of 1911, which would warrant this Government in setting aside the general practice of withholding permission for foreign public vessels to enter harbors of the United States not listed in the Department’s circular note of October 2, 1936.56a

In reference to the Japanese Ambassador’s request that he be informed whether, if the American Government should find it difficult to give the permission requested, a visit by the Hakuho Maru to Dutch Harbor around June 30, 1937, would be agreeable to the American Government, the Secretary of State has the honor to inform the Japanese Ambassador that the visit in question will be agreeable to the American Government and that the appropriate authorities have been requested to extend the usual courtesies and facilities to the vessel. It is requested, however, that the Secretary of State be informed [Page 752] in advance of the exact dates of arrival and of departure of the Hakuho Maru at Dutch Harbor as soon as the information becomes available.

  1. Not printed.