Press Release Issued by the Headquarters of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur97

A second SCAP-controlled and Japanese-manned Antarctic whaling expedition has been authorized by the Supreme Commander pursuant to instructions from the United States Government.

The reasons for this action are obvious. The last whaling expedition produced for Japanese consumption some 21,000 metric tons of needed protein foods which helped make up the food deficit in Japan. It also produced for the world market, which is in short supply, over 12,000 tons of whale oil and 11 tons of Vitamin A and D oil. It is expected that the second expedition will produce an equivalent amount of whale meat for consumption in Japan and an equivalent amount of needed oils for allocation to other parts of the world by the International Emergency Food Council.

There is a continuing food shortage in Japan. The burden of supplying the deficit imports of food continues to fall upon the United States, which is also endeavoring to meet demands for food from many other countries. With their whaling fleets and trained crews the Japanese possess a means of providing additional food for themselves and of helping to meet a world deficit in oils. These utilities at this moment of need must be used.

Not to do so would mean a direct cost to the United States of over U.S. $10,000,000, the equivalent of approximately 40,000 tons of wheat and an additional loss of approximately U.S. $6,000,000 in foreign exchange from the sale of whale oil. There was no Antarctic whaling during the war and the supply of whales there has accordingly increased [Page 236] so that no undue diminution of the whaling potential is involved.

The second expedition, as was the case with the first, is being organized under the immediate supervision of Colonel Hubert G. Schenck, Chief of SCAP’s Natural Resources Section. Allied observers will supervise as before. The Antarctic waters in which the whaling is to be conducted are international. The SCAP observers accompanying the vessels will submit full radio reports daily and will require implicit observance of international whaling regulations.

As SCAP-controlled Japanese manned ships operating to repatriate 5–½ million Japanese prisoners of war and civilians have during the past 18 months entered numerous Allied ports in the West and Southwest Pacific without incident, it is believed that no problem of security is involved in this second whaling expedition.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 1133, June 23, from Tokyo, in which Mr. Atcheson reported his memorandum of June 21 to the members of the Allied Council for Japan, which transmitted to them the SCAP directive to the Japanese Government authorizing the whaling operations in question.