Truman Papers

No. 1005
The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President

top secret

Memorandum for the President

The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend the following statement of policy in regard to the disposition and distribution of captured German merchant shipping.

In view of the urgent requirement for personnel shipping in the further prosecution of the war, captured or surrendered enemy vessels capable of being used to transport troops should be made available as quickly as possible for the U. S. military use.
All captured or surrendered German vessels should be divided among the Allied Nations, first as to immediate use and later as to final disposition, except for such coastwise and inland water craft as are determined to be essential for the minimum German economy. No ocean-going vessels (i. e., ships over 4,000 deadweight tons) designed for foreign trade should be left in the hands of the Germans.
All captured and surrendered German and other enemy ships should be placed in a common pool. In this connection, every effort should be made to persuade the Russians to enter the United Maritime Authority agreement covering the handling of the Allied Nations pool of ships.1
In the final disposition all ex-German personnel shipping should be divided among the Allied Nations.
[Page 970]

Further details in regard to the U. S. needs for personnel shipping were given in a memorandum to you from the Joint Chiefs of Staff dated 7 July 1945.2

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D Leahy

Fleet Admiral, U. S. Navy,
Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy.
  1. See Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1722; 61 Stat. (4) 3784.
  2. Document No. 549, printed in vol. i.