818.628A/5–2947: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Costa Rica


189. Costa Rican Emb requested Dept make available fisheries expert purpose advising on pending fisheries legislation. Foregoing and Embtels 219 May 28 and 223 May 2940 indicate no immediate Costa Rican legislation.

Issuance Mex declaration Oct 1945 asserting jurisdiction over subsoil continental shelf and control high seas conservation zones prompted US note Jan 194641 stating US–Mex fisheries agreement considered prerequisite US recognition establishment high seas conservation zones. Privately proposed amendments Costa Rican legislation similar problem. Dept approves Emb action (Embtel 223 May 29). In Embs discretion additional aide-mémoire may be presented along following lines:
“US Emb understands certain Costa Rican organizations advocate extension Costa Rican jurisdiction for fisheries conservation purposes beyond usual limits of territorial waters. Since somewhat similar proclamation re fisheries was issued by US Govt Sept 28, 1945,42 it may be helpful to Costa Rican Govt to have summary of principles recognized by US Govt in issuance of this proclamation.
Since due regard must be given conditions peculiar to each region and situation and to special rights and equities of coastal State and any other State which may have established legitimate interest therein, it is felt that prior to establishment of jurisdiction over high seas areas, coastal State must reach agreement with states having legitimate fishing interests in area concerned. Further, fisheries control and regulation must be based on valid scientific evidence, and jurisdiction established must be for purposes of fisheries conservation only.
The US, as a state whose nationals have legitimate interest based in substantial fishing activities in waters contiguous to Costa Rica, is willing to cooperate with Costa Rica in agreement re fisheries conservation [Page 599] and necessary scientific investigation connected with establishment of conservation measures.”
Info Emb only, Dept likely reserve all fisheries rights pertaining high seas areas in proposed extension territorial jurisdiction unless agreement assuring no taxation applicable such areas no restrictions there on purse seiners, freezer ships or vessels without shore bases in Costa Rica. If Costa Rican legislation imminent despite indications paragraph 1 this tel or if Emb action now appears useful Emb requested take interim action suggested paragraph 3 sentence 2 Deptel 166 May 2243 and report soonest.
Re fishing within presently defined Costa Rican territorial limits Dept favors views sentences 3 and 4 paragraph 3 tel under reference also paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 Instruction 366 Feb 21, 1946.43 Dept suggests possibility charge US intervention less if US fisheries expert, in employ Costa Rican Govt, proposed para 1 above, would urge action along these lines with Emb prepared to give added support position if expert fails convince Costa Rican authorities advisability this course. However, if Emb should see indication immediate legislation barring directly or indirectly through prohibitive taxes purse seining in territorial waters, floating canneries or freezers, or vessels not based Costa Rica, or if Emb action now appears useful, Emb should take whatever action deemed appropriate to urge Costa Rican acceptance US views, avoiding action which could reasonably charge intervention. None fees proposed by any group thus far appear prohibitive.
  1. Neither printed.
  2. For note of January 24, 1946, to the Mexican Ambassador (Espinosa de los Monteros), see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. xi, p. 1054.
  3. Department of State Bulletin, September 30, 1945, p. 4884.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.