Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of International Communications (Saugstad)

Mr. McCormick-Goodhart called, in response to Mr. Saugstad’s invitation, to discuss further the subject of the possible sale of the Government-owned reserve fleet to the British Government as discussed in Mr. Hickerson’s memorandum of July 28 [25], 1939.

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Mr. Saugstad pointed out that the Maritime Commission’s proposal was made before the advent of war in Europe, that the matter has been somewhat complicated by present war conditions and the enactment by this Government of the Neutrality Act,7 although the Department has received no further views from the Maritime Commission with regard to the effect that war conditions may have upon the Commission’s desire to dispose of the surplus fleet.

Mr. Saugstad suggested that the proposal had become a policy matter outside the scope of his activities and that the British Ambassador be informed of the situation and invited to call at the Department to discuss future procedure in the matter with Assistant Secretary Berle in order that all further discussions on the subject may be kept within the limitations of administrative procedure and policy.

  1. Neutrality Act of 1939; 54 Stat. 4.