562.8F4/44: Telegram

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

354. From the Delegation to the Whaling Conference. Following is the draft text of the Final Act of the Conference which will be presented to the full Conference on January 19 for approval with a view to submitting it to the various governments concerned for final approval prior to signature by the delegates.

In the blank space in Article IV is to be inserted the date of signature which it is hoped will be within a period of approximately 2 weeks from January 19. The text follows:

“International Whaling Conference, London, 1944.

Final Act

An informal International Whaling Conference was opened in London on 4th January, 1944 and continued on 13th and 17th January, 1944.

The following representatives were present: (Countries in alphabetical order.)

Mr. A. T. A. Dobson (United Kingdom) was invited to preside over the Conference and Mr. A. M. Lowe (United Kingdom, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) acted as Secretary.

The object of the Conference was to consider whether, in the light of the world oil and fat position, it was desirable or necessary in the case of the next Antarctic whaling season to modify by way of relaxation any of the provisions of the existing International Whaling [Page 941] Agreement of 1937, as amended by the Protocol of 1938. The Conference having had the advantage of hearing a statement from the British Ministry of Food on the present position and future prospects of world oil and fat stocks, recognized the critical world supply position of oils and fats and agreed that all possible measures should be taken, so far as whaling is concerned, to alleviate the situation, particularly in the period of the present emergency and in the immediate post-war period. The Conference also recognized that it is of vital importance to all countries interested in whaling to further the conservation of existing whale stocks, which prior to the war were showing signs of depletion, and that any relaxation of present international whaling agreements which might be agreed to be necessary to meet the needs of the war effort and the humanitarian needs for oils and fats in the period immediately following the cessation of hostilities, should be for a limited period only and should provide for adequate safeguards to insure that existing stocks of whales shall not be decimated by unexpected developments in whaling operations.

The countries represented at the Conference therefore agreed that as concerns whaling operations by their own nationals, the International Whaling Agreement of 1937, as amended by the Protocol of 1938, should be regarded as further amended as follows:

Article I. That the period extending from the 8th day of December to the 7th day of March fixed for Antarctic whaling by Article VII of the International Whaling Agreement of 1937, be extended for the first season in which Antarctic whaling operations are resumed, to cover the period from November 24 to March 24, dates inclusive.

Article II. That the embargo in Article I of the Protocol of 1938 on the taking of humpback whales in any waters south of latitude 40 degrees, and which has now lapsed, should be reimposed for the season mentioned in Article I.

Article III. That for the season mentioned in Article I, the total permissible Antarctic catch of baleen whales shall not exceed 16,000 blue whale units, such units to be calculated as follows: 1 blue whale equals (a) 2 fin whales or (b) 2½ humpbacks or (c) 6 SEI whales.

Article IV. The present agreement shall come into force provisionally this . . day of . . . . . 1944.

Article V. (1) The present agreement shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

(2) It shall come into force definitively upon the deposit of the instruments of ratification by the Governments of the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States, the Governments now chiefly interested in pelagic whaling.

(3) For any other government which is a party to the principal Agreement, the present agreement shall come into force on the date of the deposit of its notification of accession.

(4) The Government of the United Kingdom will inform the other governments of the date on which the agreement comes into force and the date of any ratification or accession received subsequently.

Article VI. (1) The present agreement shall be open to accession by any government which has not signed it and which accedes to the principal Agreement.

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(2) Accession shall be effected by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Government of the United Kingdom and shall take effect immediately after the date of its receipt.

(3) The Government of the United Kingdom will inform all of the governments which have signed or acceded to the present agreement of all accessions received and the date of their receipt.

Article VII. The present amendments to the Agreement of 1937 and Protocol of 1938, subject to the provisions of the above Articles (V and VI) shall remain in force until the 30th of June following the conclusion of the season mentioned in Article I.

Recommendation. With regard to Article III above, the Conference desire to record their firm conviction that a limitation on the number of whales to be caught in any one pelagic season in the Antarctic will be necessary in subsequent seasons, if the whale stocks are to be preserved. They accordingly recommend that the maintenance of such a limitation should be considered at the next and subsesquent whaling conferences.

In witness whereof the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed the present agreement. Done in London, et cetera.”

Preparation of this draft was not participated in by representatives of the Foreign Office which may have alterations to suggest as may the Department.

The American Delegation intends to urge the adoption of a second recommendation to the effect that the next whaling conference should consider machinery and procedure to deal with limitation on catch.

Department will note that Argentina and Eire have no present interest in pelagic whaling, the latter because no factory ships now registered in Eire.