711.008 North Pacific/266¾

Memorandum of Conversation by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton)

Mr. Suma, Counselor of the Japanese Embassy, called by his request. He said that the Japanese Embassy here had received this morning a cable from the Japanese Foreign Office referring to an Associated Press report from Washington which appeared in the New York Herald-Tribune of January 8 and which had apparently been cabled to Japan. This press report was to the effect that the Japanese reply to American representations in regard to the Alaska salmon fishing situation had failed to settle the dispute between Japan and the United States in regard to this matter. Mr. Suma said that according to the Foreign Office cable the Foreign Office considered that the communications which it had sent to Ambassador Grew represented substantial concessions on the part of the Japanese Government and that the case was closed except for the making of arrangements between the two governments as to the making of releases to the press. Mr. Suma said that the Japanese Foreign Office was considerably perturbed by the newspaper report in question; that the Japanese Foreign Office had worked earnestly with other Japanese governmental departments to effect an agreement which would be satisfactory to the United States; and that the Japanese Government had its own problem with regard to the desires and the needs of the Japanese fishermen and the Japanese fishing industry.

I told Mr. Suma that the situation was substantially the same as it was when he came to see me on this matter several weeks ago, namely, that the Department had sent a telegram to Ambassador Grew informing Ambassador Grew that the Department would have certain comments to make in regard to the note verbale and the proposed press communiqué of the Japanese Government; that the matter was still under consideration here with the view to sending a telegram of comment to Ambassador Grew. Mr. Suma inquired whether it was likely that the telegram would be sent forward in the near future. I said that I hoped so but that I could give no assurance in this regard. Mr. Suma then inquired whether the American Government would send a further note to the Japanese Government or whether the American Government would instruct Ambassador Grew to present further [Page 162] comments orally. I told Mr. Suma that I thought that the latter procedure would be followed but that here again I could give no assurance inasmuch as no definite decision had as yet been reached in regard to the substance of the telegram which the Department expected to send to Mr. Grew.

I referred to the statement in the Japanese Foreign Office telegram to the effect that the Japanese Foreign Office considered the case to be closed with the exception of the working out of some arrangement for publishing the press communiqué of the Japanese Government. In this regard I said that from our point of view the case was riot closed in that we expected to ask Mr. Grew by telegraph to make some further comments to the Japanese Government in regard to the substance of the Japanese Government’s reply as well as in regard to the question of publication.

Mr. Suma referred again to the report which had appeared in the press here and said that his Government considered it very important that until the two governments had reached an agreement in regard to the question of publicity, neither government make public statements or comments in regard to the situation. I said that I would bring this point to the attention of higher officers of the Department. I said also that I did not know the source of the information which was contained in the press report under discussion but that the information represented in that press item did not of course constitute a publication of the text of the Japanese Government’s proposed press communiqué or the text of the Japanese Government’s note verbale. I said that with reference to the publication of those Japanese documents, we would of course expect to consult the Japanese Government. I pointed out that in this Alaska salmon fishing situation the Department was endeavoring to cooperate with the senators and congressmen from the interested western states, with the congressional delegate from Alaska and also with representatives of the fishing interests; and that from time to time these individuals asked the Department for information in regard to developments in the situation, at which time the Department endeavored to be responsive to such inquiries.

M[axwell] M. H[amilton]