The Counselor of the British Embassy (Wright) to Mr. Eugene H. Dooman, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State (Dunn)

Ref. 1852/8/45

Dear Mr. Dooman: I sent a telegram to the Foreign Office giving the substance of your letter of 20th June about your statement “Proposed [Page 1517] Decision with respect to Fisheries in Certain Areas of the High Seas”.

The Foreign Office have now replied that, although they are still of the view that it would be better for the statement to remain unpublished, they would not express objection if it could be so amended as to make clear that the principles enunciated are only intended to apply to fisheries off the North American Continent. This would apply also to the explanatory remarks accompanying the text of the Proposed Decision, if it was your intention that these should also be made public.

As you have been good enough to let us see your proposed statement in advance, the Foreign Office have ventured to put forward a few suggestions as to ways in which changes of phrase might be made so that the releases will be less embarrassing to ourselves. In putting forward these suggestions, however, the Foreign Office indicate that they are advanced quite informally and that the United Kingdom Government do not wish to assume any responsibility for “editing” the United States Government’s statement.

  • Heading—add the words: “in the Western Hemisphere” after “high seas”.
  • Line 2—add the words: “in North American waters” after “resources”.
  • Lines 12 and 13—delete the words: “and may when conditions warrant be limited to the United States”.
  • Lines 19 and 20—delete the words “and may when conditions warrant be limited to”.
  • Line 21—add the word “American” after “any”.

His Majesty’s Government regards as reasonable the view that a state, which has alone been responsible for the development of a high sea fishery, has a right to expect that other countries will conform to the measures of control required to keep the fishery in a state of health, but whereas this view appears capable of application in practice in North American waters, it has no practical application in North European waters, where its official recognition by the United States Government as a principle of worldwide application would be hailed as an encouragement to the propagation of unjustifiable claims to coastal state control, which His Majesty’s Government must always resist. We hope, therefore, that you will agree to limit any statement which you may publish to North American waters, where for political and geographical reasons the problems involved appear to be less complex, and capable of solution on the lines laid down in your proposed statement.

Would you be kind enough to let me know in due course to what extent you are able to meet the wishes of His Majesty’s Government, as set out above.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wright