711.008 North Pacific/264

Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Counselor of the Department of State (Moore)

Judge Moore: I wish you would talk with the Secretary and tell him I suggest that you proceed immediately to the study of the possibility of adopting a new policy relating to off-shore fishing in [Page 769] Alaska. The policy would be based on the fact that every nation has the right to protect its own food supply in waters adjacent to its coast in which its fish, crabs, etc., leave at certain times of the year on their way to and from the actual shore-line or rivers.

I am fully aware of the old decisions in sealing decisions and awards. Nevertheless in the case of Alaska, we are faced with the problem of food supplies rather than of fear [fur?], which can hardly be classed as a necessity of life. Therefore, if on the facts it is necessary to protect fish which would normally be used for food in the United States on their migrations up to any reasonable distance from the actual shore, we would be giving some needed protection to one of our national food supplies.

I make the suggestion of a study of this kind only with the thought that Japan may seek to delay action and that we can not go along with much further delay. It occurs to me that a Presidential proclamation closing the sea area along the Alaskan coast to all fishing—Japanese, Canadian and American—might be a way out—in other words a kind of marine refuge where one is essential to end depletion. I do not know what Japan could well say in the event of such a proclamation and I am reasonably certain that the Canadian Government would approve and probably do the same thing along their British Columbia coast-line.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]