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139 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1338 WASHINGTON, 26 September 1946, 10.14 p.m.


F.E.C.240, Japanese Whaling.

1. Plimsoll received an aide-memoire from the State Department on Japanese whaling today (sent you in F.E.C.239). [1]

2. He expressed regret that the United States Government had not gone further to meet the desires of the Australian Government, [particularly in regard to the employment of Allied] [2] personnel, a point to which Australia attached great importance.

He said he would have to inform his Government of the aide-memoire before a considered reply could be given, but in the meantime offered the following comments.

3. He asked for further details about control of expeditions and the role of the Japanese Government. Reply was that MacArthur regarded arrangements as providing 'Allied Control'. Plimsoll said that this did not seem very specific and that, even if proposed United States plan were accepted some safeguards might be necessary such as a public declaration by the Supreme Commander to the effect that the expedition was an Allied one and in no sense a Japanese expedition. The reply was that a statement to this effect could be made. Plimsoll then asked what flag would be flown by the Japanese. The reply was that it was 'assumed that the Japanese flag would be flown'. Plimsoll thereupon stated that this would not be acceptable to Australia, which could not agree to the Japanese flag or any other sign of Japanese participation being used.

4. Plimsoll asked for more details of what Allied personnel would be used. He said that Australia would not be satisfied with no more than American inspectors on the factory ships (paragraph 3 of the aidememoire) or that Allied personnel should be confined to Americans. The reply was that MacArthur had been asked to supply details of Allied personnel desired by him, and that his answer had not yet been received.

5. Plimsoll said he could not agree that a directive to MacArthur of 13th November, 1945, did not require prior consultation with other powers. He said that arguments in paragraph 5 of the aide- memoire were such as might have been made during consultation but not such as to excuse absence of consultation. The reply was that 'off the record the American Government agrees but the official attitude must be as in the aide-memoire'.

6. In regard to paragraph 6 of the aide-memoire Plimsoll pointed out that consultation in future should not be confined to 'security factors'. The reply was that this point would be taken care of. Australia would be informed of all proposed expeditions.

. .in the Antarctic or elsewhere, now that Australia could in the course of these consultations raise matters other than security.

7. Plimsoll also pointed out as an aside that the amount of whale meat that would be obtained would provide a very small part of the Japanese food requirements.

8. Care has been taken here not to weaken in any way our stand on the expedition. Norway's refusal to participate and United Kingdom's willingness to accept Japanese crews, however, will probably make it impossible to gain all our original points.

9. New Zealand and United Kingdom representatives here have been informed of the aide-memoire and the interview.

1 Document 138.

2 Words in square brackets, omitted in transmission, have been inserted from correcting cable of the same date, on file AA:A1067, ER46/13/19/2.

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

Category: International relations

Topic: History