File No. 862.85/311
The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Uruguay ( Wadsworth)
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With reference to Department’s February 8, 7 p.m.,1 and in view of the fact that the bid of the Emergency Fleet Corporation will be modified by the Shipping Board to meet Uruguayan requirements, you will present textually to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following memorandum:
The Government of the United States has given its entire support to the bid of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, which was made in accordance with the information then in possession of that corporation [Page 668] and in an endeavor to comply with the laws of Uruguay. The full texts and translation of the Uruguayan law of November 9, 1917, and of the decree of November 19, 1917, have now been received and the Emergency Fleet Corporation is enabled to understand the legal requirements in the case. It is therefore most desirable that this bid be accepted in principle as the Emergency Fleet Corporation is now ready to make such changes in its bid as may be necessary to meet legal requirements.
The Government of the United States feels that in supporting the present position of the Emergency Fleet Corporation it is incumbent upon it to remind the Government of Uruguay that it has endeavored to meet the desires of that Government in every possible way and has perfected arrangements to the end that a supply of coal may be furnished each month for the needs of Uruguay. In carrying out the program for coal supply, it is, however, felt necessary to point out that in view of the serious tonnage situation difficulties may present themselves in the future in obtaining bottoms for the transport of this coal and without those vessels which it is hoped may be acquired under the bid, the accomplishment of the above-mentioned program may encounter insuperable obstacles.
In regard to the obligation of the Government which supports bids presented to the Government of Uruguay, the Government of the United States wishes to make clear that it will accept responsibility, in case of the acceptance of the bid of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, in the event of any international claim arising from the use of these ships being brought against the Government of Uruguay by the German Government.
The Government of the United States is earnestly desirous of obtaining these vessels through the bid which it supports, both on account of the urgent necessity for the use of this tonnage in connection with war purposes and in order that the policy of close cooperation between the United States and Uruguay may be satisfactorily carried out. This Government wishes that relations between the United States and Uruguay be maintained on the most friendly basis and desires you to exert every effort to effect this. The Department depends upon your tact and ability to retain the prestige which the United States now has in Uruguay and considers the present situation one of great importance.
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