The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt ( Kirk )
359. For Consul, Port Said. The Maritime Commission has instructed American President Lines to inform the master of the S. S. [Page 413] President Buchanan which is reportedly at Suez to arrange, after conferring with you, for the transportation of as many American citizens as can be safely carried to the United States. The Maritime Commission points out in this connection that the President Buchanan is not operating as a passenger vessel, the space below decks formerly occupied as crew quarters now being used for cargo and the passenger rooms above the weather deck are presently used for crew quarters, that consideration must be given to limited tank capacity for fresh water, the lack of toilet facilities and other passenger equipment, and the fact that the vessel is returning to the United States via Colombo and the Cape of Good Hope all of which leaves no doubt but that the voyage through the tropics will be anything but comfortable to passengers. Furthermore, the number of passengers that can be accommodated with an assurance of safety is also contingent upon amount of mattresses and life saving equipment presently aboard vessel or available at Port Said or Suez.
If requested by the master, you are authorized to issue an emergency consular certificate under the provisions of Diplomatic Serial 3047, March 28, 193924 to the President Buchanan. The certificate should specify that the accommodations thus provided may be sold only to American citizens and their accompanying alien spouses and unmarried minor alien children.
Passports may, of course, be validated for travel on American vessels in the Red Sea area.