462.00 R 29/42: Telegram
The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Wallace)
Washington, February 23, 1920—7 p.m.
397. For Rathbone from Davis. Treasury R–242.
Your R–330, February 17 regarding ships alleged to have been sold to Dutch subjects.
- First: I concur in action taken by you in this matter and in views expressed in seventh paragraph your telegram as to your general attitude in this and other matters coming before Commission.
- Second: I note your views regarding desirability that hearings should be accorded interested persons and entirely agree with them. Since such hearing was not granted when surrender of ships was previously insisted on by President of Peace Conference, I assumed, correctly it appears from your telegram, that Reparation Commission would take attitude similar to that of Conference and insist on execution terms of Treaty without discussion with Germans or Dutch. The Treaty having come into force, the position of Commission is stronger than was that of Conference prior to time Treaty became operative; at least is this true as regards vessels now within German jurisdiction. I therefore, for reasons stated in my R–227,62 considered it desirable you acquiesce in what I anticipated would be action of the Commission irrespective of hardship on purchasers who may have bought in good faith. Suggestions in fourth paragraph my 227 were prompted largely by my conjecture as to what attitude other members of Commission would be, which is confirmed by your telegram under acknowledgment. Your conduct generally in this matter is left to your discretion in light of suggestions made heretofore.