File No. 894.85/4a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan ( Morris )


In connection with the desire of the Allied Governments greatly to increase the shipping in the transatlantic service during the next six months, please say to the Foreign Office that the American Government, knowing the desire of Japan to give all possible aid in the prosecution of the war, requests the Imperial Japanese Government to charter to the United States as large a portion of the Japanese tonnage as possible. The American Government suggests that out of the 2,500,000 tons belonging to Japan now in the Pacific service 600,000 tons might be chartered to the United States without any serious inconvenience to Japan. The Department trusts that [Page 629] the suggestion will receive favorable consideration. It is hoped that deliveries can begin at once and extend over a period not later than March 31.

The American Government proposes—

That the charters be made to the United States Shipping Board;
That the period of the charter be six months;
That the rates to be paid by the United States Shipping Board be $9 per deadweight ton a month, while the vessels are running in the American-European trade and that for any vessel used in trades other than to Europe and the Atlantic islands the rate be $7 per ton;
That the United States Government will agree to bear the war risk insurance on the basis of a valuation of $200 per ton on steamers up to 10 years old and $175 per ton on those from 10 to 20 years old;
That either the New York Produce Exchange form of time charter party or the United States Government form be used.

The Japanese Government will be glad to learn that the American Government acting with Great Britain and France has been able during the past three months to arrange charters with neutrals for more than 1,500,000 deadweight tons of shipping. The American people count much upon the friendship of Japan and will be deeply stirred on learning that the Japanese Government have agreed to these proposals of the United States.

The assistance that will thus be given by Japan will be of the greatest importance to the common cause of our two nations in the war which they are waging together against the Central European Powers.