395 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 680 WASHINGTON, 27 May 1947, 6.55 p.m.


F.E.C. 137 Japanese Whaling.

1. Major General Hilldring, Assistant Secretary of State, today discussed Japanese whaling with representatives of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Norway. He said the United States Government was desirous of having another Antarctic expedition this year using Japanese ships, equipment, and men, but under S.C.A.P. control as last year.

The main reason was to reduce the enormous financial burden on the United States Treasury by providing food and saving foreign exchange. He admitted criticism made by the Australian observer in his report that insufficient oil had been extracted, but said that facilities would be modified this year to permit the necessary processing. He guaranteed that no violation of International conventions would be allowed, and said Allied Inspectors would be welcome (instead of only S.C.A.P. Inspectors as last year).

Hilldring emphasized again and again that the sole object was to reduce the drain on the United States Treasury to finance Japanese essential imports.

2. Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Norwegian representatives all vigorously opposed the expedition and left no doubt in Hilldring's mind that their Governments would not agree to it. The arguments set out in your cables were pressed. The Australian representative emphasized that Australia desired Japanese Whaling ships and equipment as reparations as soon as possible, preferably in time for use by Australia in the coming season. Pointed out that in addition to Norway, every country of F.E. C. except the United States had agreed with the Australian paper that Japanese whaling outside the North Pacific should be prohibited and that the paper had been kept in the Committee level at the request of the United States on the understanding that the United States would probably agree to the prohibition of Japanese whaling. Hilldring said that he fully admitted that record.

3. Hilldring gave assurances that no Japanese expedition would be authorised before further consultations, but left the impression that the United States was determined to go ahead.

4. The Ambassador is seeing Dean Acheson within the next few days and intends personally to raise this matter with him in the strongest possible terms.

[AA : A1068, ER47/31/22]