File No. 832.85/64
The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 21, 3.55 a.m.]
3060. Referring to my 3022, January 11, 6 p.m.1 The Foreign Office has just sent me the following note on this subject:
- The Franco-Brazilian arrangement was concluded December 30  last and consequently is not posterior to the conference.
- It results from the discussions which took place at Washington during October 1917 that the Federal Government has declared it has no objection to the assignment of this tonnage to France. On October 25 Mr. Polk was kind enough to inform the Ambassador of France that the Shipping Board made no opposition to the negotiations undertaken by the French Government and that the American Ambassador at Rio would be informed that the United States relinquished its interest in the question of the German ships.
- It should be noted that the agreement of December 3 of which the Ambassador of the Republic at Washington was given the means of fully informing the Department, treated of not an acquisition of the boats but a chartering for a certain length of time (until April 1, 1919).
- The situation as regards French tonnage is such that the French quota is in relation to the general means of transportation of the Allies proportionately in the position of creditor. There would appear then to be practically no advantage in giving back a part of the Brazilian tonnage only to receive back afterwards in the Allied or neutral ships a tonnage superior to the tonnage ceded. The Minister for Foreign Affairs does not doubt, in view of the preceding explanations, that it will be easy for technical organisms to harmonize the situation where preceding negotiations placed France and the stipulations of the recent inter-Allied conference which regulated the partitioning of the tonnage.
Copy and translation of note follows by mail.2
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[For the application in the Swedish modus vivendi of the principle of equal division of chartered neutral tonnage between Great [Page 501] Britain and the United States, see telegrams from Great Britain, January 21, 1918; to Great Britain, January 24; from Great Britain, January 29 (clause 9 of the provisional tonnage arrangement)—volume II, pages 1203–1207.]