855.852/57: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Panama (Dawson)

94. Your 102, May 16, 11 a.m.23 The suit brought by the Belgian Government in a United States District Court of Texas for recovery of the four tankers in question was terminated on May 3 with dismissal of the libels and award of the tankers to the Gulf Oil Corporation. There may be an appeal.

In order to place the tankers in immediate operation pending possible appeal, the interested parties, with the knowledge of the Department and the cooperation of the Maritime Commission, agreed to certain stipulations substantially as follows:

That one of the four vessels in question under libel by the Belgian Government will be placed in the shuttle service, meaning Venezuelan or domestic northern range service.
That three of the vessels will be operated by the Gulf Oil Corporation in their own interests.
That stipulations will be entered into by their attorneys in Texas in consultation with representatives of the Belgian Government.
That if the Belgian Government agrees that it will facilitate the continuation of the Panamanian registry, the Gulf Oil Corporation will agree that such action will be without prejudice and that in case the ultimate decision of the court of last resort is adverse, to facilitate the return to Belgian registry.
That the vessel going into the shuttle service with compensation will not be considered part of the Gulf Oil contribution to the tanker quota.
That the three vessels in the service of the Gulf Oil Corporation will continue under their operation in the same category as the vessels of any other oil corporation in or out of the pool in the same status.

The Department is in receipt of a telegram dated May 23 from Randolph Bryant, Judge of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, as follows:

“I take pleasure in advising you that on this morning in open court in Beaumont proctors for libellant the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and for claimant Gulf Oil Corporation have entered into written stipulations approved by this Court in which libellant has agreed without prejudice to facilitate placing the vessels Good Gulf, Belgian Gulf, Lubrafol and Spidoleine under permanent Panamanian registry and by which claimant Gulf Oil Corporation is authorized to place these vessels in its service immediately.”

Please bring the foregoing to the attention of the Panamanian Government and take all appropriate steps to facilitate permanent [Page 20] Panamanian registry for these vessels in order that they may be placed in service without any further delay.

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