The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 23—5:12 p.m.]
4491. My 4233, September 12, 2 p.m. I again saw Eden about the need of repatriating various categories of Americans as soon as possible and he assured me that he would support our request.
As a result of the circulars to all known Americans in the United Kingdom, we compiled a list of 69 persons (including their children) who request passage now because they will presumably lose their citizenship if they do not depart by October 14. We had taken this question up with the Director of Sea Transport and he has just informed us that at an allocation meeting today passages for 100 persons to be specified by us were allocated on a transport scheduled to leave for Canada October 15. This is a 23-knot ship of 30,000 tons, which is far larger, and we believe safer, than any of the ships regularly used. It is operated by a commercial line with the usual mercantile marine crew. It is a ship on which the British send civilian passengers including wives of officials now in the United States. On this trip it will carry a large number of R. A. F. trainees, also Government officials, military and naval personnel and a few British civilians.
We consider this a generous offer. The Director of Sea Transport informed us yesterday that there was a waiting list for trans-Atlantic passage of 9,000 persons.[Page 426]
The British will endeavor to advance the scheduled sailing date one or two days, but the Department will realize that the exigencies of war may prevent this or unexpectedly delay the departure. We hope that such delay would not jeopardize the citizenship of the passengers and are assuming that the actual departure from their homes October 13 can be considered as departure within the meaning of the law. If this assumption is incorrect, I hope you will inform me at once since it is most necessary that we notify prospective passengers immediately to give them time to obtain necessary permits and settle their affairs.