562.8F4/40: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

261. From the Delegation to Whaling Conference. Kellogg and Department’s instructions arrived yesterday. Following extended discussion today with Norwegians and among our Delegation (and telephone talk with Dobson) we have the following impression as to position now faced:

The British favor an informal understanding to relax agreements. Our discussions with Norwegians lead us to believe that an informal arrangement without adequate safeguards for conservation might result even in first year after the war in much larger catch than had heretofore been taken into consideration. (Our advice now indicates that 14–16 factory ships including ships in German hands might be made available for whaling in first season and that sufficient killer boats to operate these factory ships will be available.)

We believe therefore that relaxation of the existing agreements can only be accomplished by a formal document with adequate safeguards. We accordingly intend to propose (a) that relaxation of the agreements in the first postwar season should be accompanied by a provision for limitation of the catch. We suspect that the British will be unwilling to agree to such a limitation without further study but we shall endeavor to secure their assent.

Failing an understanding on these lines we propose to urge (b) that the Conference in a final act adopt recommendations modifying existing agreements to be considered by their respective governments for adoption at the Washington conference which the Department proposes to call. If the present Conference agrees to the first procedure (a), the Washington conference can then concentrate on the long term agreement which is of course our ultimate objective.

We shall proceed along the lines indicated above unless instructions to the contrary are received before the meeting on January 13. Authorization No. 86 has not yet been received.