Truman Papers

No. 1009
The War Shipping Administrator (Land) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Clayton)1


Memorandum to Honorable William L. Clayton, Assistant Secretary of State


The Tripartite Conference will agree that U. S. S. R. (Russia) will be given as reparations one-third (⅓) of the captured and/or surrendered German merchant tonnage. (This will exclude (a) Fishing vessels; (b) Harbor and Inland Water Craft; (c) Coastal shipping required for German use.)

If the above assumption is correct, the Protocol should definitely cover the following points:

In this one-third distribution full consideration should be given to any enemy merchant tonnage captured or surrendered now in possession of U. S. S. R.
Ships may be tentatively “earmarked” for delivery to U. S. S. R. at the end of the war with Japan.
The implementation should not take place until after the fall of Japan, preferably six months after VJ–Day which, by limitation, is the period of the United Maritime Authority.
The allocation, manning, and operation of these ships now fall under the cognizance and authority of the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board and the United Maritime Authority.

These ships are now engaged in providing shipping service for military and other tasks necessary for, and arising out of, the completion of the war in Europe and the Far East and for the supplying of all the liberated areas as well as the United Nations generally and the territories under their authority. They are being handled and integrated accordingly. (Note: Any change in the present military and civilian approved instructions covering these vessels will interfere with the successful prosecution of the war with Japan.)

E S Land
[Page 974]

Notes To Accompany Attached Memorandum to Assistant Secretary of State Clayton

Russia is not, at present, a signatory to the “Agreement on Principles having reference to the continuance of coordinated control of merchant shipping,” which was done in London on the 5th day of August, 19442 (United Maritime Authority).
To date Russia has evinced no interest in joining the United Maritime Authority.
Our records indicate that Russia endeavored to dissuade both Norway and Sweden from joining the United Maritime Authority but they were not successful. This attitude on the part of Russia indicates either a misunderstanding or a fear, or both, as to the intent and purposes of the United Maritime Authority.
The shipping allocations to Russia by the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board have been satisfactorily handled by the United States and the United Kingdom throughout the war and if Russia does not choose to accede to the United Maritime Authority, there is no reason why she should not henceforth apply to it for her shipping requirements. This leads to the conclusion that Russia’s accession to U. M. A. is not vital provided that the Protocol definitely states that the delivery of ships to Russia will not take place until the limit of the U. M. A. period, namely within six months after VJ–Day.
  1. The presence of the signed original of this memorandum in the Truman Papers suggests the probability that it was passed on to Truman. Cf. ante, p. 383.
  2. Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1722; 61 Stat. (4) 3784.