Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

The Irish Minister called to see me this morning at his request.

The Minister said that while the Irish Government greatly appreciated the generous attitude of the United States in making possible the acquisition and purchase of two ships in this country, the shipping requirements of Ireland were becoming rapidly more acute as a result of the world situation and that the Irish Government earnestly hoped that the United States might find it possible to sell or charter to the Irish Government four or five additional ships. I said to the Minister that I was sure he realized what our own shipping requirements were and that I feared, consequently, that it was out of the question for this Government to take the action suggested. I said, however, that I would be glad to take the matter up with the Maritime Commission and find out definitely what the attitude of the Maritime Commission would be.

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The Minister then said that the matter of the payment for the ships already acquired by the Irish Government had run up against certain obstacles. The Minister reminded me that the Irish Government had informed this Government that it could only make payment for these ships in goods and that some delay in settling this question had now apparently arisen between the Maritime Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. I said that I would be glad to look into the matter and find out what the difficulties might be. The Minister handed me a memorandum28 containing a table showing the food imports into Ireland in the last year and the food imports this year as an indication of the serious situation with which the Irish Government is now confronted as a result of shipping shortages.

S[umner] W[elles]
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