The Ambassador in Mexico (Daniels) to the Secretary of State

No. 10528

Sir: In continuation of my despatch No. 10492 of April 24, 19408 concerning the purchase of the SS Tine Asmussen by the Mexican [Page 413] Government, I have the honor to quote below from a report dated April 29, 1940 submitted by the Commercial Attaché:

“I asked the Minister of Finance today about the terms of the sale of the S S Tine Asmussen to the Mexican Government, and he replied confirming the terms as reported to the Department in telegram No. 135 of April 19—5 p.m.

“He denied that this tanker was to be used exclusively in coastwise service, and stated emphatically that it would be despatched in regular ocean service as circumstances required.

“He added that the purchase by the Mexican Government was made for cash from W. R. Davis Company, which had purchased the vessel from the German owners paying for it in blocked marks.”

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels

P. S. The Counselor of the Embassy9 yesterday saw the Secretary of the French Legation, who told him that in so far as he knew neither the British nor the French Governments had agreed to the transfer of the Tine Asmussen, or had relinquished their right to seize it. However, they had been given to understand that the ship would be used in the coastwise service, and had made no further protest when its transfer to Mexican registry was announced. W. R. Davis, he said, was the seller of the ship, and would receive about $300,000 for it—one-half in cash and the balance in petroleum; the German owners to be paid in blocked marks by W. R. Davis.

The German Legation here took the position that Germany was really doing a great favor to Mexico and to W. R. Davis by permitting the sale of the ship in getting no cash for the vessel, but merely liquidating part of the debt to W. R. Davis. He said that this aspect of the matter, i. e., no cash to Germany, made it easier for the British and the French to let the matter pass without much comment. He emphasized, however, that he did not know whether they would be given any assurances that the ship’s transfer would be respected by them.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Pierre de L. Boal.