The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Wallace)
Washington, March 8, 1920—8 p.m.
490. For Rathbone from Department and Davis: R–263.
Your 635, March 4, 7 p.m., R–393.
- Approve notice in your 1st provided words in second line “it is its view that” are cut out.
- Approve your 2d.
- Your 3d. Claims based on agreement entered into before the war between American and German firms had relation to ships in German ports not in American ports nor seized by U.S., therefore, it is our view that such claims should be presented to the Reparation Commission.
- Your 4th. It was not thought advisable to limit notice to ex-German ships other than those captured, seized or detained by Allied and Associated Governments because (1) we wish to avoid the issue of Brazilian, Uruguayan and other similar ships; (2) it might be difficult to avoid answering the argument that as Reparation Commission by Lloyd-George Agreement is charged with securing the title to the ships detained by Allied and Associated Governments notice should be given to Reparation Commission of what ships had been so detained; (3) as it is impossible to tell what attitude the Senate will take in reference to the Lloyd-George Agreement, it would seem best not to specifically rely upon it.
- Your 5th. Until attitude of Senate becomes clear it will be impossible to state specifically the course which will be adopted by this government in reference to the ships seized by the United States. In general, however, it is felt that we must rely upon title acquired by seizure under Joint Resolution, treating the Lloyd-George Agreement as a compromise agreement precluding other governments concerned from questioning title, and as one entered into subject to approval of Congress to meet the wishes of the Allied Governments that this course be adopted rather than that treaty should contain provisions specifically conferring title in various allied and associated governments to vessels seized by them. It would not seem to lie in the mouth of those governments to allege technical inconsistency of the two claims when the situation resulted from their urgent recommendation with full knowledge on their part of our claim to title by seizure.
- Your 6th. We note dates notice will be altered.33
- The unofficial representative on the Reparation Commission reported, Apr. 9: “Dates May 15 and June 15 adopted as dates to be inserted in notice regarding claims and notice as previously outlined including those dates approved for publication.” (File no. 462.00 R 29/158.)↩