The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Costa Rica

No. 1

The Secretary of State refers to previous correspondence concerning the assignment to the Costa Rican Government of fisheries expert Dr. John L. Kask for the purpose of giving technical advice on fisheries legislation and on other fishery matters.

On June 3, 1947 the Ambassador of the Costa Rican Government presented a note to the Department (a copy of this note is attached43 as Appendix I) requesting the services of a technical expert to advise [Page 600] and assist in developing fishery legislation to protect the natural rights of the parties concerned with it.

Officials of the Department in discussion of this request with officials of the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior decided that it would be preferable to make available to the Government of Costa Rica the services of a technician who was not at present employed by the Federal Government or the State of California. It was believed that in the circumstances the assignment of such a government official might more readily be interpreted in Costa Rica by interested groups as a device for securing more favorable treatment for special United States interests to the detriment of certain other groups or as a means for furthering American economic advantage to the detriment of Costa Rican interests. For this reason, it was believed appropriate to make available the services of an outstanding scientist who had a reputation for objectivity and who was familiar with the west coast fisheries problems.

. . . . . . .

Upon Dr. Kask’s departure it is expected that a press release45 will be issued, after consultation with the Costa Rican Embassy, in the following sense:

. . . . . . .

Officials of the Department and of the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior have discussed with Dr. Kask the objectives of this mission. So far as the Government of the United States is concerned, these objectives, which are to be confidential, are:

To advise the Government of Costa Rica on the proposed fishery legislation with a view to influencing the Government of Costa Rica to adopt measures which will contribute to: (1) Conserving and developing the fishery resources of common concern to Costa Rica and to the United States, and (2) Both short and long range economic benefits to both nations.
To stimulate an active interest in Costa Rica for an improved fishery program, with a view to collaboration by the Costa Rican Government with the United States Government in the near future, on a joint program for the fisheries of common concern.
To advise the United States Government on matters relating to fisheries which are or may be of joint concern.

Dr. Kask was informed that the United States officials considered that these objectives could be served with respect to proposed Costa Rican legislation by:

Opposing prohibition upon or discriminations against any type of fishing gear which scientific evidence does not show to be necessary to conservation of the fishery,
Supporting taxes and regulations which are easily understood and complied with by American fishermen and involve minimum administrative burden on the Government and minimum opportunity for administrative abuse,
Opposing taxes which are prohibitive and which discourage the development of the fishing industries.

. . . . . . .

[In despatch 69, August 14, The Chargé in Costa Rica reported that an aide-mémoire following outline in the Department’s telegram 189 of June 6 was left at the Foreign Office on June 18; it included reservation of full rights in the event of any attempt by Costa Rica unilaterally to assert jurisdiction outside territorial waters. Dr. Kask, he reported, had arrived on July 14, and left for Washington on August 8. (818.628a/8–1447)]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Department of State Bulletin, July 27, 1947, p. 201.