File No. 411.57N83/193

The Commercial Adviser of the British Embassy ( Crawford) to the Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk)

No. 42

My Dear Polk: We have now received a telegram from Mr. Balfour in reply to our telegram of November 25th,1 informing us that His Majesty’s Government fully agree with the United States Government that the principle of equal division of control should be applied to Norwegian ships and it is assumed that this division will similarly apply to all other neutral and inter-Allied tonnage. As regards Norwegian tonnage it is proposed that the principle should be applied as follows:—

Points Nos. 1, 2 and 3 of our telegram of November 25th to be put into force. This telegram was submitted to you and to Mr. Munson2 before despatch and a copy is enclosed.

This will give the Shipping Board control of vessels under charter to American citizens on November 23d and the European Allies will retain similar control over vessels in their service at that date.

Point 4. The control of the balance of Norwegian tonnage to be equally divided between the United States Shipping Board and His Majesty’s Government. The British authorities will prepare and forward a list of Norwegian ships which were in Allied service on November 23d and they would be glad if the Shipping Board would forward a corresponding list of the vessels which they regard as coming under the control of the Shipping Board.

On receipt of this list a statement will be prepared of the total balance of ships so that arrangements can be made for their division in equal proportions.

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It is considered that the charters of ships chartered since November 23d should remain good and that they should be taken into account in the division of the balance to avoid unnecessary dislocation of tonnage.

Yours very truly,

Richard Crawford
  1. See draft telegram enclosed with note of Nov. 24, 1917, from the Commercial Adviser of the British Embassy, ibid., Supplement 2, vol. I, pp. 639640.
  2. Frank C. Munson, Shipping Board representative on the War Trade Board until Aug. 31, 1918.