711.008 North Pacific/286: Telegram

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

79. Your 104, February 13, 2 p.m., and previous.

1. The following is the text of a draft press communiqué which, if concurred in by the Japanese Government, will immediately be released here as concluding the present discussions in regard to the Alaska salmon fisheries.

“As a result of discussions between the American Government and the Government of Japan in regard to the fishing activities of Japanese nationals in the off-shore waters of Alaska, especially fishing operations in the Bristol Bay area reported during the past fishing season, the Japanese Government has given, without prejudice to the question of rights under international law, assurances as follows:

That the Japanese Government is suspending the 3-year salmon fishing survey which has been in progress in waters of Bering Sea and Bristol Bay.
That fishing by Japanese vessels is not permitted without licenses from the Japanese Government; that the Japanese Government will refrain from issuing licenses to fish for salmon in Alaskan waters; and that in order to make effective this assurance the Japanese Government will, in the event that conclusive evidence is presented that any Japanese vessels engage in salmon fishing on a commercial scale in the waters in question, cancel [Page 177] such licenses as they may hold to engage in crab and other fishing; and that, if Japanese nationals have in the past taken salmon in commercial quantities in Alaskan waters such fishing has been without the knowledge of the Japanese authorities.

The Japanese Government has given these assurances with the object of collaborating with the American Government in its efforts to conserve and protect the Alaska salmon fishery resources, and in consequence of the Japanese Government’s desire to avoid and remove cause for the apprehension of American fishing interests and the American public with regard to Japanese fishing activities in the vicinity of Alaska.

Discussions in regard to measures for the protection of Alaskan fisheries have been conducted by the two Governments concerned in a friendly manner, both Governments having been desirous of removing from the Alaskan fishery situation a possible source of disturbance to Japanese-American relations. The assurances given by the Japanese Government will be regarded by each Government as regulating the situation until such time as the problems involved may call for and circumstances may render practicable the taking of other measures”.

2. In your discretion you may inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs that this Government expects to release concurrently with the above press communiqué a separate independent statement of its own dealing with certain administrative phases of the Alaska fishery situation which are entirely within the province of this Government.

3. For your information and discretionary use:

The communiqué is designed to indicate the general approach of the two Governments to the fishery question.

With regard to the final clause of numbered item 2, under assurances, it has developed here that a statement to this effect is important to meet criticism in regard to Japanese salmon fishing during the past season.

While the Department realizes that the assurances which have been given by the Japanese Government are substantial, and accepts your judgment that they are the maximum concessions which the Japanese Government may be expected to make at this time, it can not be assumed that the concessions will entirely satisfy affected American interests and the American public. However, the communiqué has been framed toward accomplishing this as effectively as possible. The communiqué does not deviate from the assurances and statements of the Japanese Government, and the concurrence of the Japanese Government in the communiqué in the form proposed would materially contribute to the acceptability in the United States of the Japanese assurances.