The German Chargé (Thomsen) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson)

My Dear Mr. Acheson: In our today’s conference concerning foreign merchant ships lying in United States ports you drew the conclusion from my discussion of the so-called Right of Angary that we consider the Right of Angary applicable under the condition that a state of urgent public emergency exists in the nation which desires to make use of such right. In amplification of my reply to your remark I should like to make the following statement:

“The German Government is of the opinion that under universally recognized principles of international law the first prerequisite for the application of the Right of Angary is the existence of a state of urgent public emergency, and that it can be exercised under no other conditions by any nation in time of war. The mere desire to obtain additional tonnage or even a lack of shipping tonnage gives no nation the right to requisition foreign ships lying in its harbors under the Right of Angary. It needs no mention that such a state of urgent public necessity does not exist in the United States inasmuch as the Government of the United States, since the outbreak of the present war, has been and still is in a position freely to consent to the sale and transfer of a large number of its own merchant ships to third nations.”

I am [etc.]

H. Thomsen