462.00 R 29/98: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Wallace) to the Acting Secretary of State

635. R–393. For the Department and Davis. Department’s 454, March 2, 8 p.m., your R–257.

In accordance with your instructions I will give following written notice addressed to the Reparation Commission upon receipt of advices that you approve form.

“On behalf of United States Government I desire to give notice that it is its view that all claims of which notice is given to the Reparation Commission in respect of or relating to ex-enemy ships seized by the Government of the United States in American ports or elsewhere should be transmitted to the Government of the United States for its examination and determination.”

As this notice will probably give rise to discussion will state, if discussion seems to make it advisable, that United States claims, apart from treaty, title to ex-enemy ships seized by it and consequently any claims in respect of such ships must be passed upon and disposed of solely by United States Government.
Claims made in respect to ships both under treaty and Wilson–Lloyd George Agreement can be made only by Allied and Associated or neutral Governments or nationals of such governments acting through their governments. Accordingly claims based on agreements entered into before the war between American and German firms cannot be made on behalf of German firms and can only be made on behalf of American firms by American Government. If United States is to take position that as they have title to seized ships they alone can adjudicate claims in respect of those ships, do not understand why United States should present claims of its nationals to Reparation Commission in respect of such ships.
Notice set forth in my R–36129 apparently drawn to conform to treaty and not to Wilson–Lloyd George Agreement. From your approval of form of notice I judge you do not think it necessary or advisable that notice should limit ships to be divided by Reparation Commission to ex-German ships other than those captured, seized or detained by Allied and Associated Governments. If you have contrary view and think proposed notice should be modified in this respect please cable at once modification you desire as matter is to be considered at meeting Reparation Commission March 8 if reached.
In considering foregoing please bear in mind that I do not understand position that will probably be taken by United States in event of ratification of treaty. See Embassy’s 590, my R–373.30
In any case dates in proposed notice will be altered. I will promptly notify you when text is finally adopted so that publication may be immediately made in America. Rathbone.
  1. Ante, p. 517.
  2. Ante, p. 519.