394.1115/129

The Department of State to the Japanese Embassy 47

Oral

Reference is made to the oral statement of October 748 which an officer of the Japanese Embassy left with an officer of the Department on that date in regard to the question of the sending by the Japanese Government to the United States of three ships requisitioned by the Japanese Government.

The Government of the United States has no objection to the visit of the three Japanese vessels in accordance with the schedule of dates set forth in the Japanese Embassy’s communication.

With regard to the desire of the Japanese Government that this Government give a guarantee that the three Japanese ships will not be detained through claims on cargo or other causes, there is no legal way in which the Government of the United States could prevent private individuals in this country having claims against Japanese shipping companies from exercising their legal right to institute legal proceedings which might operate to affect the freedom of movement of the vessels. However, in case the Japanese Government formally notifies this Government that the three vessels in question have been requisitioned by that Government, and should legal proceedings be instituted by private parties against the vessels, this Government would be prepared with a view to freeing the vessels of any impediment arising from the institution of legal proceedings to bring to the attention of the appropriate judicial authorities such information as the Japanese Embassy might furnish this Department showing that the vessels in question were requisitioned. Any request of this sort from the Japanese Embassy should be accompanied by a copy of the order of requisition and should state that the vessel is on a mission for the Japanese Government.

The vessels will be permitted to take on board necessary supplies of fuel and stores sufficient to enable them to return to a Japanese port.

Trade between the United States and Japan is of course subject to this Government’s freezing regulations. This Government understands, however, that the question of cargo is not involved in the proposed visit of the three Japanese vessels to the United States as presented in the Japanese Embassy’s communication on October 7.

With regard to the desire of the Japanese Government that the fact that the three Japanese ships in question have been requisitioned by [Page 433] the Japanese Government be not made public, this Government believes that in order to discourage possible legal proceedings it would be both necessary and definitely advisable to make clear from the outset, at least in the United States, that the vessels in question are under requisition of the Japanese Government. There would be no way to avoid publicity should this Government be asked to acquaint a court with the fact that a vessel is under requisition. In these circumstances this Government would favor the giving of appropriate publicity to the matter at the outset.

Note has been made of the statement in the Japanese Embassy’s communication to the effect that passage will be provided on the three Japanese vessels in question, according to indicated schedule, for those Americans wishing to sail from Japan for the United States.49 The Department of State will expect, as suggested, to instruct the American Embassy in Tokyo to forward to the Japanese Foreign Office lists of the prospective American passengers.

  1. Handed on October 8 by the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson) to the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy (Iguchi).
  2. Not printed.
  3. See press release No. 489 issued by the Department on October 11, Department of State Bulletin, October 11, 1941, p. 276.