894.628/3–2547: Telegram

The Political Adviser in Japan (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State


69. Suggested basis for resolving impasse in Committee 252 appears satisfactory in so far as SCAP’s administrative control over Japanese fishing areas remains unchange[d]. Likewise, should any extension of fishing areas specified in paper become necessary, consultation would be had with Allied Council should it appear that such extension is a matter of substance and is not the result of a bilateral agreement.

On other hand we have been unable from outset to perceive valid basis for Allied objection to SCAP emergency Antarctic whaling operations carried out by Japanese vessels and crews, especially as there can be no threat to security and such operations conform strictly to all international conventions and obligations accepted by any country engaging in whaling.

Last operation with only two factory ships produced the following: (in metric tons) whale oil 12,260; salted meat and blubber 16,560; frozen meat 1,822 liver oil 4.4; liver 132; other products (includes bone, entrails, skin, glands, et cetera) 9550.

Fuel oil for Antarctic whaling expedition just completed cost estimated $800,000. Value of whale and vitamin A oil obtained estimated at no less than $3,300,000.

These protein food products and the whale oil, which will more than pay for the cost (other than yen costs), are vitally necessary to Japan’s economy. If these products are not obtained from whaling [Page 196] operations, it will fall upon United States alone to supply equivalent of resulting deficit.

Only commitment regarding whaling operations by United States Government of which SCAP is aware is that reported in War Service 6349 (State serial 516, October 8, 194653) that “no future Japanese whaling expeditions would be authorized without prior consultation interested nations particularly regarding security aspects involved”.

SCAP emergency whaling operations using Japanese vessels and crews in no way prejudice future Allied action regarding Japanese whaling industry following termination of occupation. United States presumably committed only to extent that interested nations will be consulted before future expeditions are authorized.

There would be no insuperable objection to proposed compromise plan outlined in W 94394 if it could be determined before final approval that Far Eastern Commission agreement will be forthcoming to SCAP emergency whaling operations using Japanese vessels and crews during next season. SCAP would authorize such whaling operations only if emergency conditions made such operations necessary. At present time, however, continued shortage of protein foods makes almost inevitable that such operations must be conducted during forthcoming season.

If it should become apparent that Far Eastern Commission agreement to SCAP whaling operations during forthcoming season can not be obtained and therefore desirable, in order to make such operations in Antarctic possible, to abandon suggested compromise plan, it may be that commitment which American Government gave for consultation would be satisfied merely upon individual consultation with interested governments regarding any security aspects they may consider involved.

Providing Far Eastern Commission agreement to such emergency whaling operations can not be obtained and it is still believed necessary to accept proposed compromise plan, adequate assurances are requested that equivalent of marine products and resultant foreign exchange which will thus be lost to occupation and to Japanese economy will be forthcoming from American and Allied sources.

It would appear that failure of any Allied countries to offer an equivalent substitute to products obtained from emergency whaling operations (including foreign exchange from whale oil) and absence of any security threat or other mitigating factor would be of primary importance in rebutting Allied objections to SCAP operations which are for emergency only and designed solely to obtain food and vital [Page 197] oil, without any commitment whatsoever regarding future of Japanese whaling industry.54

  1. On Economic and Financial Affairs, Far Eastern Commission.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Telegram 107, May 1, from Tokyo, proposed a second SCAP-administered, Japanese-manned Antarctic whaling expedition and requested that interested governments be consulted and their anticipated objections be removed (804.628/5–147). Telegram 121, May 10, from Tokyo, suggested that the subject be placed on the agenda of the Allied Council for Japan (894.628/5–1047).