711.008 North Pacific/286: Telegram

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

104. Our 92, February 9, 8 p.m., Alaska salmon fisheries.

Last night Yoshizawa handed us the statement in writing referred to in paragraph 3 of our telegram under reference. The following translation was made jointly by the Embassy and the Foreign Office:

“The Japanese Government adheres to its previous contention that fishing on the high seas is not subject to any restriction.

However, in view of the fact that investigations in Bristol Bay by a Japanese Government survey vessel for salmon fishing have created misapprehensions and have agitated public opinion in the United States, the Japanese Government will suspend such investigations notwithstanding the fact that the 3-year program would extend such other investigations into 1938. Furthermore, it has been the practice in the past not to issue licenses to those vessels which desired to proceed to Bristol Bay for the purpose of salmon fishing, which practice the Japanese Government will, on its own initiative, continue for the time being”.

With reference to the word “suspend” and to the phrase “for the time being”, Yoshizawa stated that they did not signify that the Japanese Government definitely plans at some future time to reopen the issue but that they reflect the determination of the Japanese Government to make no concession with regard to the principle involved which would of course be prejudiced if unqualified assurances were given. With regard to the fishery survey, he explained that the balance of the appropriation made for that purpose will have to be returned to the fiscus and will therefore no longer be available after the conclusion of the present fiscal year. In the Japanese text “suspend” was inserted to replace the word “discontinue” which was crossed out and the phrase “on its own initiative” was interpolated. Yoshizawa said that these changes were made at the insistence of the Ministry of Agriculture whose recent change of attitude was previously reported.
Our negotiations with the Japanese have produced the following results.
No licenses for salmon fishing will be issued “for the time being”;
The fishery survey will be “suspended”;
Licenses to crab and fish to further vessels will be canceled if conclusive evidence is presented that they have been fishing for salmon on a commercial scale;
The Japanese Government agrees to publication of the foregoing on condition that the text is previously referred to Tokyo for consideration.
These results do not altogether meet the desires of our Government. However, they are important, they provide the basis for a provisional settlement of the issue and they represent in our considered judgment the maximum concessions which the Japanese Government is prepared to make at this time.