168 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1430 WASHINGTON, 16 October 1946, 8.32 p.m.



Our No. 1385. [1]


The following is a summary of an aide-memoire just received from the State Department.

The United States Government has considered carefully and sympathetically the Australian Ambassador's aide-memoire of 5th October and has asked General MacArthur for his further comments on the Australian request that the Allied Governments supply entire crews for the proposed expedition. The Supreme Commander has now replied that it would be entirely impracticable to endeavour to arrange accommodations for Allied crews or to utilise such crews on the forthcoming expedition. Reconditioning of the vessels would not only be economically unsound but would probably cause such delay as to render the expedition impossible. The Supreme Commander believes that the most serious difficulty in carrying out the Australian proposal would be in attempting to control and operate the expedition with crews of mixed nationalities, owing to divided responsibility, conflicting shipping laws, and problems of housing and feeding crews pending sailing and of ensuring uniform pay, rations and equipment. The Supreme Commander could not accept the responsibility for control of mixed Allied crews and does not believe that the proposal could be carried into practical effect. The Supreme Commander would, however, heartily welcome additional Allied inspectors should any nation concerned wish to offer them. Meagre quarters will allow only three Allied personnel to each factory ship, but two of these could be Allied inspectors with the third an inspector from S.C.A.P. Headquarters. Accommodations and meals will be substandard and considerable hardship can be expected. The Supreme Commander desires to know as early as possible if any nations concerned desire to appoint inspectors together with the date when they will report to the Fisheries Division, Natural Resources Section of S.C.A.P. Headquarters. It is understood that foreign Governments concerned will pay salaries and provide equipment and rations of such inspectors. As equality of pay is believed advisable the Supreme Commander wishes to be notified as soon as possible of any inspector's contemplated salary.

The aide-memoire repeats that the expedition is an emergency one for one season only and is under complete control of the Supreme Commander who has expressed opinion that it should be considered an Allied expedition. It will not fly the Japanese flag but special SCAJAP pennant, which is flown by all ships operating under the Supreme Commander's control throughout the Pacific and under the direction of Rear Admiral Momsen [2], and which is described in detail (see FEC.247 of 5th October). The United States Government confirms the previous statement that the question whether the Japanese shall or shall not have a whaling industry in the future is one for Allied consultation and decision. The same applies to the ultimate disposition of all Japanese whaling equipment and facilities. The United States Government, noting that the Australian Government states it cannot agree to any recognition of Japanese whaling rights, believes that the proper forum for discussion of future Japanese whaling rights is the Far Eastern Commission 'where the whole question can be discussed at length with a view to the establishment of a definite policy acceptable to all'.

The aide-memoire concludes:

'In view of the above considerations the United States Government regrets that it cannot accede to the Australian Government request that the entire crew of the forthcoming expedition be composed of nationals of Allied countries.'

Full text by airmail.

1 Document 156.

2 Rear Admiral Charles B. Momsen, U.S. Navy.

[AA:A1067, P46/10/10/3/1, i]