711.008 North Pacific/493

The Canadian Under Secretary of State for External Affairs ( Skelton ) to the American Minister in Canada ( Roper )22

Dear Mr. Roper: On April 20th last Mr. Simmons called and left with me a Memorandum which, after commenting generally upon the problem of the conservation of the North Pacific fisheries, went on to make a particular suggestion for an informal joint study of the problem.

It appears that what is especially in the mind of the United States Government is the threat to these fisheries offered by factory ships and trawlers from other countries operating in the extraterritorial waters off the western coast, and both the salmon and the halibut fisheries are regarded as menaced sooner or later.

I understand that your Government do not consider that more is needed at the moment than a careful study of the problem, and the Canadian Government are asked whether they would be prepared to approach the problem in this sense with a common objective and on parallel lines.

The particular suggestion of the Memorandum in this regard is that each Government might informally designate an official or officials and that these would consult together from time to time upon the joint study in question. At the same time each on his own side would act as a liaison with the other interested officers and agencies of his own Government with a view to a correlation of their studies and action. It appears that no interference with the work of the Commissions already established by the two Governments under the Halibut and Sockeye Salmon Conventions is intended. The Memorandum further suggests that the study might best begin with investigation of purely economic and scientific matters relating to the general need of protecting high seas fisheries against possible over-exploitation, and this task is further envisaged as the assembly and analysis of data already available or readily obtainable on each side.

I am now in a position to give you, as requested, the views held here. The Canadian Government continue to share your Government’s view of the great importance of conserving the North Pacific fisheries. They are alive to the possible threat that might arise from the operations of fishermen from other countries employing modernised fishing methods in waters lying beyond but contiguous to the [Page 345] territorial waters of the United States and Canada, and they concur generally in the observations of the United States Government in that regard.

They also concur in the suggestion for a joint study and are prepared to accept your Government’s suggestion and to co-operate along the lines to which I have referred. It is understood that the study will not involve public action, but will rather be of an informal and confidential nature and that the officials to act in the capacity contemplated by the suggestion should be designated from the staffs of the Departments concerned in Ottawa and Washington rather than from other agencies.

The officials who have been designated to act in this capacity for the Canadian Government are Mr. L. C. Christie, Counsellor, Department of External Affairs, and Mr. A. J. Whitmore, Head, Western Division, Department of Fisheries, who will be prepared to consult as proposed with the official or officials designated by your Government.

Sincerely yours,

O. D. Skelton
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Canada in his despatch No. 148, July 10; received July 12.