411.60 d Finnish Vessels/119

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Bundy)

The Minister of Finland called with respect to the Finnish ship claims for detention during the War.

I told the Minister that recommending that these claims be submitted to the Court of Claims seemed to involve two questions. First, the question of law, that is whether a refusal of bunker licenses created liability. Secondly, whether the United States Government should consent that these claims be adjudicated so many years after the event upon which the claims depend.

In this connection, I pointed out that a claim with respect to one ship was presented and refused in 1922 but that apart from this no claims were presented until 1928, ten years after the alleged detention of the vessels.

I stated that it seemed to the Department that the claims made by Finland were based on the purpose of the War Trade Board in refusing licenses and that this purpose, if material, was a question of fact peculiarly difficult to determine correctly so many years after the events in question. For this reason I stated that the Department is inclined not to make the recommendation for a court hearing.

The Finnish Minister stated that he would like to present the views of his Government with respect to the particular question of the delay in making the claims.

H[arvey] H. B[undy]