562.8F4/40: Telegram

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

297. For the Delegation to Whaling Conference. Department approves course of procedure outlined in Embassy’s 261, January 11, 9 [Page 938] p.m. As many of the countries parties to the Geneva Whaling Convention of 1931,9 Article 6 of which requires that “the fullest possible use shall be made of the carcasses of whales taken”, and a few of the countries parties to the London Whaling Agreement of 193710 and the Protocol thereto of 193811 are not represented at the present conference, the signature of a formal document substantially relaxing provisions of the convention, agreement or protocol at the present time is not favored by the Department, notwithstanding the fact that countries parties thereto but not represented at the conference do not engage in pelagic whaling. However, if the American Delegation is convinced that relaxation of existing agreements can be accomplished only by a formal document with adequate safeguards the Department authorizes the delegation to urge consideration of such a document by the conference.

In view of report in second paragraph of Embassy’s 261, January 11, 9 p.m. of indications that 14–16 or more factory ships may be availble for whaling in first season after the war, Department requests that American Delegation concur in any proposals to relax provisions in the existing agreements, whether such proposals are embodied in an informal recommendation or in a formal document, only on the condition that there be established and strictly observed a limitation of the catch if the delegation should be of the view that such a relaxation without the limitation would result in the killing in any year of more whales than the average yearly take of whales during a representative period in the 10 years preceding 1940. Department relies upon judgment of Dr. Kellogg in matters respecting measures appropriate for maintaining an adequate stock of whales. The Department requests that the American Delegation bear in mind that this Government is of the view that the future existence of international cooperation regarding the conservation of whales and of other marine life depends to a great extent upon continued respect for the provisions of the whaling convention, agreement and protocol, and that any relaxation of those instruments without accompanying adequate safeguards would be a backward step.

  1. Signed by the United States March 31, 1932; for text, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 880, or 49 Stat. (pt. 2) 3079.
  2. Signed June 8, 1937; for text, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 933, or 52 Stat. 1460. For documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1937, vol. i, pp. 920 ff.
  3. Signed June 24, 1938; for text, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 944, or 53 Stat. (pt. 3) 1794. For documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. i, pp. 947 ff.