Truman Papers

No. 388
Note by the President’s Chief of Staff (Leahy)1

Disposition of German Ships (Captured)

In regard to captured German merchant ships it is apparent that an acute shortage of ocean going tonnage for redeployment of troops and their equipment against Japan necessitates temporary transfer of captured German merchant ships to the United Maritime Authority of which the U. S. S. R. should be a member.

[Page 572]

Upon the surrender or defeat of Japan I propose that the then remaining captured German merchant tonnage be divided equally among the U. S. S. R., Great Britain, and the United States.

It is also proposed that captured German war vessels be divided as equally as may be possible among the three above enumerated powers at the earliest practicable date.

  1. Printed from the ribbon copy, which is unsigned. It bears the following typed notation above the heading: “(To be used only if brought up by Stalin or Churchill)”.