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711.008 North Pacific/239 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

WASHINGTON, December 18, 1937–4 p. m. 359. Your 656, December 18, 8 p. m. You may inform the Foreign Minister as follows:

The Department appreciates the reasons given for publication in Japan of the Japanese reply before the reply is published in Washington. However, the Department considers it highly important that this Government be given an opportunity before publication in Tokyo to consider the text of the reply with reference to its possible effect upon public opinion in this country. After such consideration it is the present belief of the Department that publication of the reply should preferably be made simultaneously in Tokyo and Washington.

For your information and discretionary use in conversation with the Foreign Minister, the Department contemplates that it may

be necessary, in order to satisfy American interests concerned that suitable representations have been made, to publish here concurrently with the Japanese reply the memorandum presented to the Foreign Minister.


711.008 North Pacific/247 : Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

Tokyo, December 22, 1937—8 p. m.

[Received December 22–2:03 p. m.] 669. Our 673 [661], December 20, noon.82

1. The Foreign Office today handed us its reply, translation of which is as follows:

“Confidential. Note verbale. The Imperial Foreign Office takes note of the views set forth in the aide-mémoire handed by the American Ambassador at Tokyo to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the occasion of their conversation on November 24 as follows:

The American Government is of the opinion that further to defer settlement of the Alaska fisheries problem would incur the risk of serious disturbances being raised on the Pacific Coast, and that time is of the utmost importance in the settlement of these problems. Various labor organizations are concerning themselves with these problems, and apparently have various plans. It is therefore hoped that the Japanese Government will appreciate the need of taking speedy action with a view to eliminating the danger of unfortunate incidents arising by which the situation would be made complicated.

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The Imperial Government firmly believes in the justice of its contention that so long as salmon fishing is carried on on the high seas such fishing cannot warrantably be subjected to restriction by another power. Especially is such the case when effort is being made by Japan to coordinate conservation of fishery resources with existing fishing industries. A 3-year project is being undertaken by means of a Government experimental vessel to investigate the degree to which the resources of the high seas are capable of being developed, and it is believed that such official investigations cannot properly be made the grounds for controversy. Nevertheless, in the light of the view of the American Government to which reference has been made, and from the broad viewpoint of relations between Japan and the United States, the Japanese Government at this time and for the time being will on its own initiative suppress pertinent plans of fishing industries, and the above-mentioned investigations arising out of a fixed plan will be suspended. It will be prepared to give this matter as sympathetic consideration as possible.

As it is expected that the discontinuance of the investigations will impose a serious penalty on the Japanese fishing industry, it is, from the standpoint of domestic relations, an extremely delicate matter. Accordingly, the Imperial Government desires that the time of publication of its views shall be decided by arrangement between the American and Japanese Governments.

Tokyo, December 22, 1937.

Addendum: Japanese floating canneries and vessels producing fish meal will, as heretofore, operate in the waters of Bristol Bay, as the American Government is aware. These vessels have no relation whatever to the salmon fishing industry. In the past, those uninformed of the facts have related the operations of the above-mentioned experimental vessels with these vessels, thus tending to give rise to misapprehensions."

2. The following is a translation of the press communiqué which will be released at a time to be agreed upon between the two Governments.

"Bristol Bay, Alaska, salmon fishery question. Following the experimental salmon fishing operations of experiment ships of the Department, [of] Agriculture and Forestry in Bristol Bay, Alaska, this year and last, persons in American enterprises affected have made a great sensation over the question of fishing in that area by Japanese and recently American public opinion has become increasingly worse. To leave this matter in its present state would be to incur the danger of serious disturbances arising, and consequently for the purpose of clearing up the danger in this

disturbed state of affairs, it has become necessary to give consideration to some appropriate solution.

We firmly believe in the justice of the contention that fishing which is limited to the high seas cannot warrantably be subjected to any restriction by another power particularly when Japan is attempting to coordinate conservation of fishery resources with existing fishing industries and to investigate the degree to which the resources of the high seas are capable of being developed and we believe that such official investigations cannot properly be made grounds for controversy

While making this as our explanation nevertheless the views of persons in affected enterprises in America being as set forth above, and having in mind the broad viewpoint of reconciliation and agreement between Japan and the United States, it has been decided to give as sympathetic consideration as possible to suspending the carrying out of the investigations based on the plan for 1938.”

3. In delivering to us the note the Foreign Office made orally the following statement which is strictly confidential and is not to be divulged to any private persons whatsoever:

a. The last sentence of the second paragraph of the Foreign Office note is to be interpreted by the American Government as an assurance that the Japanese Government will continue in the future as in the past to refrain from issuing licenses to fish for salmon in Alaskan waters. The Japanese Government cannot, in view of the importance to Japan of preserving its right to fish on the high seas, formally and publicly give such an assurance.

6. It has not been easy to abandon an appropriation made by the Diet at the request of the Government but the Japanese Government is prepared to risk censure on this point in order that it may convince the American Government of its desire to seek amicable settlement of this problem.

c. There has been no commercial fishing for salmon in Bristol Bay. The Japanese Government is confident that next season when the Government fishing vessel will not have entered Alaskan waters no evidence will be found of any Japanese vessel fishing for salmon and that the American Government will understand that charges of this tenor are not based on fact.

4. The Foreign Office will be glad to receive indication of the date on which the Department desires publication of the note.


711.008 North Pacific/247 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

WASHINGTON, December 23, 1937–6 p.m. 370. Your 669, December 22, 8 p.m. The Department has given preliminary consideration to the press communiqué to be released by the Foreign Office, and will have certain suggestions to make. Accordingly it is desired that publication be postponed until these suggestions have been communicated.

HULL 711.008 North Pacific/249 : Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

TOKYO, December 24, 1937—7 p.m.

[Received December 24–11:30 a.m.] 678. Our 669, December 22, 8 p.m. The Foreign Office today informally brought to my attention a "March of Time” feature of the Alaska fishery question presented in a manner calculated to excite unfriendly feeling against Japan and stated that it would appreciate any action which the Department could appropriately take in the matter.



Memorandum by Mr. Eugene H. Dooman of the Division

of Far Eastern Affairs

[WASHINGTON,] January 4, 1936 (1937]. Conversation : Mr. Lawrence Richmond and Colonel Howlett, repre

sentatives of the American cotton velveteen industry; Mr. Sayre; 84

Mr. Dooman. Mr. Richmond thanked Mr. Sayre for the opportunity which had been given the representatives of the American cotton velveteen industry to call on Mr. Sayre and lay before him recent developments with regard to certain conversations which had been held between the American and Japanese cotton velveteen interests. He referred to the hearing which was held on December 15 by the Tariff Commission on the velveteen complaint, and he said that, following that hearing, representatives of the two industries had met together and had worked out a plan to regulate imports into the United States of Japanese velveteens. An outline of this plan had been initialed, and a formal agreement embodying the plan had now been formulated by the counsel for the American industry. Mr. Richmond then handed to Mr. Sayre the outline, as initialed, and the draft of the formal agreement.85

Mr. Sayre stated that he was appreciative of the trouble taken by Mr. Richmond and Colonel Howlett in coming to Washington and

* For previous correspondence, see Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. IV, pp. 806 ff. * Francis B. Sayre, Assistant Secretary of State. * Neither found in Department files.

informing him of recent developments. He said that, of course, he had been kept informed of the discussions between the American and Japanese industries, and that he knew in a general way the purport of the agreement which had been reached.

Mr. Sayre then gave a brief review of the administration's general economic policy and of its economic policy vis-à-vis Japan. With regard to the former, he said that it was the earnest desire of the Department to increase the foreign trade of the United States, and with that end in view this Government has striven earnestly to remove barriers to international trade. With regard to the trade with Japan, Mr. Sayre pointed out that Japan is the most important purchaser of American raw cotton, that it bought much more from the United States than the United States bought from Japan, and that any movement toward substantially decreasing Japanese imports would have an unfavorable effect upon international relations. Fortunately, he continued, the trade between the United States and Japan is largely complementary in character, but there is a narrow range of goods imported into this country from Japan which is competitive in character. The introduction of these goods had created sharp problems, and this Government has sought, in collaboration with the Japanese Government, to adjust these problems in a friendly and satisfactory manner. It had been increasingly felt, however, that greater benefits could be derived by collaboration between the American and Japanese industries affected by such a problem than by efforts toward regulation by the American and Japanese Governments; and it was for this reason that Mr. Sayre had been gratified to learn that the conversations which had been initiated between the American and Japanese cotton velveteen industries were developing favorably.

Mr. Sayre then stated that it was his expectation that the American velveteen industry would do nothing which might be regarded as illegal, but that, out of an abundance of caution, he took this opportunity to express his concern that nothing be done by the industry which might warrantably be construed as violating laws in restraint of trade.

Mr. Richmond said that he and his colleagues had been guided all along by legal advice. He said that the industry had engaged Mr. Max Steuer as a counsel, that Mr. Steuer had carefully studied the Wilson Act 86 and other similar acts, and that Mr. Steuer (in whose office the draft agreement had been drawn up) had advised that the agreement would not be illegal. The responsibility with regard to the legality of the agreement would, therefore, have to be placed on Mr. Steuer.

* Approved August 27, 1894; 28 Stat. 509.


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