Memorandum by the Liaison Officer With the War and Navy Departments (Chapin) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

Mr. Berle: There is attached as of possible interest an outline study4 of German merchant ships in the Americas based on reports to the present date.

Since September 3, 1939, a total of 93 German merchant ships have been in port in this hemisphere at some period (total gross tonnage 555,754). Forty-nine of the 93 ships are still in port (total gross tonnage 244,695). Seven others are at sea (total gross tonnage 44,805). Twenty-four of the 93 ships have been reported scuttled, or sunk or captured by the British and French Navies (total gross tonnage 169,877).

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According to authoritative sources, 4 of the German ships, leaving since October 17, 1939, succeeded in arriving at Norwegian or Spanish ports (total gross tonnage 24,472), and 7 more are reported arrived in home ports in Germany (total gross tonnage 58,283).

One of the German ships has been transferred to an American flag (Honduras) while in an American port (5,356 tons). Nicaraguan negotiations for the purchase of another, the Stella, 479 tons, are currently suspended. Only one ship, the Tacoma, has been interned, in Uruguay (8,268 tons).

Since the outbreak of the war, almost 26% of the total German merchant ships in this hemisphere (and almost 31% of the total tonnage) has been sunk, captured or scuttled. Germany has retrieved 7½% of the total of 93 ships in her ports (10½% of the total tonnage).

Of the total number of German ships in the Americas since the outbreak of war, not quite 53% of the ships (only 44% of the total tonnage) remains in American ports.

Selden Chapin
  1. Not printed.