The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: The British Embassy has inquired whether this Government could appoint a delegate to attend an informal [Page 1129] conference which the British Government proposes to convene to discuss the question of making certain amendments of a technical nature to the provisions of the Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling signed at London June 8, 1937.

The primary object of the United States in participating in the international whaling conferences and agreements has been to further the Cause of conservation. Four of the five amendments suggested by the British Government for discussion at the conference would relax present international whaling regulations as contained in the Convention for the Regulation of Whaling concluded at Geneva September 24, 1931,7 the Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling signed at London June 8, 1937 and the Protocol signed at London June 24, 1938, which are in force with respect to the United States and a number of other countries. So far as is known, none of the whaling vessels of German registry or of Japanese registry are operating at present. A number of the British and Norwegian whaling vessels have been sunk and a number have been converted into oil tankers. Accordingly, it appears that notwithstanding a lowering of the restrictions on the taking of whales, the catch of the vessels available for whaling operations at the present time can not be expected to equal the catch of vessels engaged in those operations prior to the war.

The Department of the Interior has been consulted and has stated that the proposed conference may reveal facts and recently acquired data that will demonstrate that certain of the suggested amendments may be adopted without jeopardizing the future abundance of the whale populations, and that if such assurances are forthcoming then the United States might consider approving some of the proposed amendments or modifications thereof.

The London Whaling Agreement of 1937 was ratified or adhered to by the United States, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, and New Zealand. All of those countries except Mexico and New Zealand ratified or adhered to the Protocol of 1938 amending the London Whaling Agreement of 1937. Argentina is understood to be enforcing the Agreement by Executive Decree but has not yet deposited a ratification.

I believe that the British invitation should be accepted and I suggest the designation of Mr. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr. of the Department of State, who is now in London, to represent this Government at the conference, and the designation of Mr. John M. Allison, Second Secretary, American Embassy, London, as Mr. Cumming’s assistant and alternate. It is believed that their attendance at the meeting will [Page 1130] involve no additional expense to this Government. However, if any expenses are incurred they will be defrayed from funds available to the Department of State.

I should appreciate it if you would inform me whether the appointment of the above named persons would meet with your approval.8

Faithfully yours,

[File copy not signed]
  1. Signed by the United States on March 31, 1932, Department of State Treaty Series No. 880, or 49 Stat. (pt. 2) 3079.
  2. Marginal note reads: “CH OK FDR.” The Secretary of State addressed a note to the British Ambassador on June 7, 1943, accepting the invitation to appoint a delegate to the Conference and naming Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., for that purpose, with John M. Allison as assistant and alternate.