323 Australian Government to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 431 CANBERRA, 3 May 1948


Your 453. [1] Japanese Whaling.

Please pass following aide-memoire to State Department:

'The Australian Government has given careful consideration to the State Department's aide-memoire of the 13th April, 1948, concerning the proposed Japanese Antarctic Whaling Expedition for the 1948/49 season and desires to remind the United States Government that the attitude of the Australian Government towards the resumption by Japan of Antarctic whaling so soon after the cessation of hostilities has been made clearly known throughout the past two years. The Australian Government sees no reason to modify its attitude, and wishes to re-state its contention that Japanese participation in Antarctic whaling is properly a matter of principle which should be decided by the Far Eastern Commission.

The Australian Government is particularly opposed to the proposal that a third factory ship be included in the projected 1948/49 expedition. Employment of a third factory ship would not increase the total amount of whale-oil taken from Antarctic waters since the seasonal limit of 16,000 B.W.U. as prescribed by the international Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was reached during the 1947/48 season. It would, however, have the effect of reducing the amount of whale-oil, meat and other products taken by other Allied expeditions whose countries are badly in need of fats, oils and meats. To allow Japan a third factory ship would clearly amount to giving equal treatment to an enemy country, to the detriment of former Allies.

The Australian Government notes that "Allied observers win be welcomed on the expedition to observe compliance with the regulations". In this connection the Australian Government desires to point out that in its view the treatment accorded the Australian observer during the last expedition could not be regarded as satisfactory. The Australian observer states that he was discouraged from seeking technical information from Japanese members of the expedition, and that in general he was made to feel that his presence was not welcomed by the representative of the Supreme Commander.'

2. For Washington only:

We have asked U.K. and N.Z. for their support.

1 Dispatched 14 April 1948, it reported that a. aide-memoire had been received from the Sure Department advising of the necessity for a third whaling expedition to supplement food shortages.

[AA:A1838/283, 479/3/4/1, V]