File No. 894.85/20

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


After continued negotiations which have covered all the important elements governing ship construction in Japan, I have agreed to submit for your approval the following proposition which, I believe, is the best that the united shipbuilders can offer.

I can obtain three ships of 9,000 tons each now building, one to be delivered in November and two in December, for probably $200 per ton dead weight with the release of one ton old steel for one ton ship.

I can at once close contract for the building of 32 ships aggregating 253,800 tons dead weight at $175 per ton with deliveries as follows:

  • January, one ship of 9,000 tons;
  • February, four ships totaling 32,700 tons;
  • March, eight ships totaling 75,200 tons;
  • April, eleven ships totaling 79,700 tons;
  • May, seven ships totaling 50,400;
  • June, one ship of 6,800 tons.

Among these ships there are five which are between 5,000 and 6,000 tons.

These deliveries have been worked out with relation to conservative estimates which we have declared on steel deliveries and represent the best the Japanese shipyards can do. If we can arrange to hasten steel deliveries agreed upon under first proposition, that is, the 100,000 tons of old steel, we can probably improve the deliveries under second proposition by 30 days. All the shipbuilders in the group will guarantee performance of the contracts of each member. The group includes all the substantial shipbuilders in Japan and the tonnage contracted for would represent about 50 per cent of the total estimated output of their yards during the first six months of 1919. The remaining 50 per cent would represent fulfillment of actually existing private contracts. I would recommend the acceptance [Page 644] of these ships although we are at liberty to reject any part of the schedule we may desire.

Taken in connection with the 150,000 tons of chartered ships and the 100,000 tons purchased under our first proposition, this last proposal if accepted would complete an aggregate of approximately 530,000 tons added by Japan to the Allied shipping.