The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 18—5:17 p.m.]
2031. Your 920, September 14, 5 p.m. United States Lines representative advises that he is encountering difficulty booking Shawnee to capacity with American citizens due to doubt on the part of some as to the safety of trans-Atlantic travel under present conditions in such a small vessel and their preference to await the availability of larger vessels established in the trans-Atlantic run.
We understand from the Department’s instruction that booking is to be limited to American citizens but the United States Lines’ London office informs us that exceptions may be made in favor of close relatives of American citizens such as wives and minor children of foreign nationality.
The Paris office of the United States Lines would like authorization to book foreigners in such meritorious cases and also Latin Americans on the Shawnee.
I recommend that the Paris representative of the United States Lines be permitted to use his discretion in booking such passengers.[Page 608]
I ask you urgently to approve this recommendation. The Latin American diplomats in Paris are now calling up this mission daily and announcing that they consider it shameful that the Government of the United States should hold out hopes to their Governments which we are unable to fulfill. I am certain that our prestige in South America is suffering severely.
The Latin American diplomats in Paris are considering an appeal to the Italian Government to provide them with ships for their nationals since the Government of the United States has been unable to fulfill the hopes raised.
I request especially immediate permission to have booked on the Shawnee certain Latin Americans that the Ambassadors of Brazil and the Argentine Republic and the Colombian Minister and other diplomats state are intimate friends of their respective chiefs of state.