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118 Evatt to Makin

Cablegram 1326 CANBERRA, 16 September 1946


Reference Washington 1222. [1] Japanese whaling. Please approach State Department and make urgent representations along following lines:-

1. If United States feels that our request for Allied expedition would involve delay and other difficulties, it should be a S.C.A.P. expedition completely manned by Allied crews. Australia is in a position to provide at least a substantial proportion of crews. It seems certain that in conjunction United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Norway could provide total complement.

It is understood that the vessels could be adapted to use by non- Japanese crews. We would in any case stipulate:-

(a) That these arrangements will be confined to the one season 1946/47.

(b) That early consideration will be given to the prohibition of Japanese participation in whaling in the Antarctic, at least for the duration of the occupation.

(c) That Japanese whaling facilities will be subject to consideration not only in connection with the reparations but also the prospective peace settlement.

2. In connection with the S.C.A.P. order of 23rd August authorising the conversion of a tanker [2] it is understood that the United Kingdom Ambassador has been instructed to inform the State Department urgently of United Kingdom dissatisfaction with this development and to endeavour to secure:-

(a) Cancellation of the S.C.A.P. order of 23rd August.

(b) Issue of instruction to S.C.A.P. that no further decisions affecting whaling should be taken without prior consultation.

It is desired that you make similar representations to the State Department.

3. For your own guidance we feel that the bedrock minimum is that the expedition should be under strict control of Allied personnel, that Australia with a territorial interest in the Antarctic must have a status at least as great as that of the United Kingdom and Nor-way and that no Japanese personnel should be tolerated. The participation of any Japanese crew would be open to grave objections, including the setting of a precedent for future operations by Japanese and additional reasons referred to in our 1215. [3] If it is objected that the ships are unsuited to Allied personnel, reconditioning should be directed at once.

1 Arguing that attempts to cancel the proposed Japanese whaling expedition would be neither justified nor successful, the U.K.

Govt had proposed a request, in concert with Australia, New Zealand and Norway, for safeguards lest it constitute a precedent for Japanese whaling and result in friction with British and Norwegian expeditions and contravention of international whaling regulations. While generally supporting the U.K. approach, the Australian Govt had urged that it be an Allied, rather than a S.C.A.P. expedition (cablegram 316 to the Dominions Secretary, dispatched 27 August). Cablegram 1222, dispatched 3 September, reported that U.K. representations to the State Department had been made, with some modifications in the light of Australian views, but that the U.K. Govt had maintained its stand in favour of a S.C.A.P. expedition, chiefly because organisation of an Allied expedition would involve delay, and the possibility of Soviet Union obstruction in the F.E.C.

2 Work on the tanker would not be completed in time for the 1946/47 season. The U.K. Govt interpreted the order as a demonstration of intention to rehabilitate Japanese whaling permanently.

3 Document 78.

[AA:A1067, P46/10/10/3/1, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History