The Belgian Ambassador (Van der Straten-Ponthoz) to the Secretary of State
The Belgian Ambassador presents his compliments to the Honorable the Secretary of State and referring to his letter of January 11th, No. 216, regarding the four Belgian tankers Lubrafol, Spidoleine, Belgian Gulf and Good Gulf, has the honor to transmit herewith, copy of a letter addressed under date of January 21st,7 to Mr. B. P. Newton, Vice-president of Gulf Oil Corporation, by Mr. René Boël, Chief of the Belgian Economic Mission in London, and Sir T. Ashley Sparks, Representative Ministry of Shipping in the U. S. A.
In this connection, the Belgian Ambassador takes the liberty of drawing the particular attention of the Honorable the Secretary of State to the passages of the letter regarding the use of the four tankers by the American Navy. The intention of the Belgian Government may be set forth in the following terms: The Belgian Government is prepared, after the vessels are restored to Belgian flag, to consent, on proper request, to the transfer of those tankers, preferably to the United States flag in order that they may be available when and if they are required for United States Government Service. This readiness in the case of the two ships allotted to British service is subjected [Page 7]to the provision that equivalent tonnage should be made available to the British Ministry of Shipping in their place.
The Belgian Embassy is ready to enter, at any time, into negotiations with officials of the Department of State and of the Navy in order to discuss the terms of an arrangement covering the abovementioned undertaking.
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