File No. 894.85/5
The Ambassador in Japan ( Morris ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 1, 11.40 a.m.]
Japanese Government today handed me a lengthy memorandum in reply to request contained in your telegram February 9, 7 p.m. The following is a summary:
Desiring to contribute whatever lies at our disposal towards the common cause of the Allies, Japanese Government proposes the following plan of adjustment:
- To place at the service of the United States Government 150,000 dead weight tons for six months;
- Delivery to be effected at the earliest possible date, the first 100,000 tons leaving Japan by the end of April and the remaining 50,000 tons by the end of May;
- Charges for the use of the ships to be not less than the charter rate fixed by the Inter-Allied Chartering Committee;
- The United States Government to extend to the crews of such ships the same measure of relief as is accorded to the crews of American citizens on board the ships requisitioned by the United States in case of death, injury, illness or other casualties while on duty;
- Suitable formula to be agreed upon concerning the contract or arrangement for use of the ships.
Japanese Government includes the following explanations. Total dead weight tonnage of Japanese shipping in the Pacific service end of December was not more than 600,000 dead weight tons. Total tonnage afloat registered in Japan approximately 2,021,000 tons. Total tonnage of Japanese ships over 5,000 dead weight not over 1,350,000 dead weight tons, which represents the whole of Japanese merchant fleet fit for ocean service. Regular liners in foreign service 159,000 dead weight tons. Necessary to keep these intact for the maintenance of supplies, mails, of the other service. In addition to regular liners, 124,000 tons now in employ of Allies. Remaining available tonnage therefore not more than 266,000 tons of which Japanese Government has decided to set apart 50,000 tons for the transportation of munitions and supplies between France, Japan and (French Colonies?). Deliveries by March 30 cannot be made as ships must be recalled from distant seas. Charterage here now $20 per ton but Japanese Government will make up to us the difference as well as possible difference in war risks.[Page 637]
As the Japanese Diet is now in session and as the offer here made will require an appropriation to meet the obligation assumed by the Government, an immediate answer is imperative.