File No. 600.119/598
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page)
7261. For Sheldon [from War Trade Board]:
No. 335. Your No. 326, Embassy No. 9180, March 22, 6 p.m., and Ship Mission No. 44.2 While the agreement as to dividing equally between Great Britain and United States neutral tonnage which might be obtained, may not strictly apply to Dutch tonnage obtained by requisition, nevertheless the Shipping Board and we feel that Dutch tonnage comes within the spirit of this understanding and you and Stevens are authorized to notify the proper officials of the British Government that we will treat agreement as applying to tonnage which we have secured in this manner with understanding that British will act reciprocally in respect of Dutch tonnage requisitioned by them. A correct method of sharing the expense and burdens must be reached at some near date.
We desire to point out that this division of requisitioned Dutch tonnage will have a bookkeeping rather than a practical effect, inasmuch as the Dutch tonnage which we hold in excess of our share will be offset against the Norwegian tonnage heretofore allotted to us but retained by Great Britain under an obligation to return.3 England’s obligation to return large amount of Norwegian tonnage will therefore be reduced by the amount of Dutch tonnage which we hold in excess of 50 per cent of total.
This extension of the principle of equal division to Dutch tonnage must, however, be understood to be without prejudice to our right to suggest some more effective and more equitable method of dealing with neutral tonnage which will take into account the objections of the French and Italian Governments to an appropriation to their exclusion of control of neutral tonnage.