The Italian Ambassador ( Colonna ) to the Secretary of State
The Royal Italian Ambassador presents his compliments to the Honorable Secretary of State and, under instructions of his Government, has the honor to communicate the following:
On May 7, 1941 the House of Representatives passed a bill (H. R. 4466), in which the concurrence of the Senate has now been requested, “to authorize the acquisition by the United States of title to or the use of foreign merchant vessels for urgent needs of commerce and national defense, and for other purposes”.
From the parliamentary debates which have taken place on the subject it is clearly inferred that the United States Government has recommended the enactment of a statute intended to cover the seizure of, among others, the Italian merchant ships now in the ports of the United States.
Referring to his previous notes of March 31, No. 1723 and of April 14, No. 1984, by which the Royal Italian Ambassador has already protested for the taking of possession and control of 28 Italian vessels lying in ports of the United States, he deems now necessary to protest once more for this further action of the Government of the United [Page 475] States which the Royal Italian Government considers a new flagrant violation of international law, while making every reservation as to the rights of the legitimate Italian owners of the vessels which will come under the provisions of the above mentioned bill.