103.9164/3453: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

3802. To Land WSA from Reed.

Lord Leathers and I met Friday82 with the Allied Shipping Ministers to discuss the joint memorandum83 in regard to recaptured ships which was submitted to them several days ago. I have forwarded by air pouch two copies of the memorandum which we submitted. There was general agreement in regard to the proposals put forward in the memo with minor qualifications. We propose to prepare an agreed note of the meeting which I will send you promptly.
Several points were raised by Leathers which were not covered by the agreed note.
In particular Lord Leathers raised the question whether we should not work out with our Allies, and they among themselves, a series of knock for knock agreements to cover ships taking part in operations including all recaptured ships. I took no position on this question. The Allied Ministers appeared to favor the proposal in principle and it was left that [apparent omission] further discussions with MWT indicated that they have arranged with the Belgians and Dutch for special charters for all ships taking part in operations under which any damages or losses arising out of collisions between such ships fall on government of registry. MWT would like to see the same principle extended by agreement to cover all recaptured ships during the period they are required by the Supreme Commander or until they reach UK ports, as well as all Norwegian, French and U.S. ships taking part in operations during the period of operations. The proposal is that in regard to ships covered by this agreement each government would relieve each other Allied Government of liability for claims arising out of collisions made by each government or its nationals against other Allied Governments [Page 153] or their nationals. Could you advise me whether WSA would be interested in principle in working out such an agreement and if so give me appropriate instructions? [Reed.]
  1. May 5.
  2. Not found in Department files.