Mr. Eugene H. Dooman, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State (Dunn), to the Counselor of the British Embassy (Wright)
Dear Mr. Wright: We have read with much interest your letter of July 4, 1945 (Ref. 1852/8/45), which Mr. Cecil was good enough to bring in, and we have not failed to give it careful study. I made some comments to Mr. Cecil, the salient features of which I present below by way both of reply to your letter and of confirmation of what I said to Mr. Cecil.
The suggestions in your letter toward amending the proposed policy statement address themselves to two points: limitation of the policy of North American waters, and the refraining from limiting to American nationals fishing operations in areas contiguous to our coasts that have been developed by nationals of this country.
Let me say that we do not believe that it would be practicable to consider at this time a revision of the policy statement itself on the basis of such facts and arguments now available. However, we are prepared to make it clear in some other way that the policy is one which this Government proposes to pursue only in waters contiguous to the United States and in the waters in the Western Hemisphere in which the United States has a vested fishery interest. Probably the most appropriate means for that purpose would be the press release to be issued when the policy statement is published.67
The second suggestion is one which I do not see our way clear to meeting. Let me explain. The salmon fisheries in Alaska, for example, have been developed exclusively by nationals of the United States. There have been attempts by foreigners to participate in these fisheries which, had they been allowed to continue, would inevitably have exhausted this important food resource. It would be wholly [Page 1523] unrealistic if this Government, in seeking to establish new principles for the conservation of our fishery resources, were to give foreigners the impression that it would not assert preemptive control over such fisheries. As I said to Mr. Cecil, I cannot recall any situation in the North Sea or Eastern Atlantic which in any way parallels these fisheries or others which I could mention; and it would seem from the last paragraph but one of your letter that the British Government recognizes that this particular feature of our proposed policy could have no practical application in North European waters. If, therefore, it were invoked, in the North Sea let us say, the reasoning would have to be too oblique to be convincing.
We do not presume to tell other nations how they shall safeguard the resources of fishing areas in which we do not have a vested interest, but we cannot but be aware that the depletion of such resources will inevitably operate to put increased pressure on fishing areas that we have developed or in which we have operated over a substantial period of time. It is for that reason that we earnestly hope that effective regulations for the conserving of the resources of North European waters will be developed by agreement among the interested countries.