441.11 W 892/18

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador called today and left an aide memoire which is attached.6 He explained that what he meant was that we would first take up the inter-governmental claims. I suggested to him that all claims ought to be taken up. He thought this might be [Page 218] embarrassing to the Government to appoint commissioners to negotiate the settlement of all claims but would be willing to do it first as to inter-departmental claims.

It seems to me that we should insist that all claims be taken up by the joint commission or representatives to examine them and, if possible, to obtain an agreement to arbitrate any of those where the two representatives do not agree.

I said that I did not know how many claims the Government of the United States had against Great Britain or Great Britain against the United States but that there were a large number of private claims by citizens which necessarily the Government must present; that about many of these claims there could be no question. The Ambassador answered in the affirmative saying that some of the claims were for properties taken by the prize courts and which had not been paid for and undoubtedly should be. I told him that many of the claims filed were in the form of letters without stating the amount or circumstances or details sufficient to present; that it seemed to me the only possible way was for experienced men to sit down and take them up one by one and see if some adjustment could not be made.

The Department should make some reply to this aide memoire. I do not remember the exact terms of the reply in relation to the governmental claims referred to.

I suggest that this would be an opportune time to remind the British Ambassador that we have never had a reply to the various notes about the Romano-Americana Oil Company in Rumania.7

  1. Infra.
  2. See pp. 308 ff.