The Secretary of State to Mr. John T. Walsh
Your January 5. While Department holds that transfer of a belligerent-owned merchant vessel to American purchaser made in good faith is valid, you should be advised that British and French Governments have announced that they may contest such transfer, particularly if the vessel shall engage in commerce with their enemies or with the neutral countries contiguous thereto. Government of United States does not guarantee protection in advance of the event. Question of validity of transfer is one dependent upon facts of case known to parties and in regard to which they can take advice of counsel.