Report of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission to the Governments of Soviet Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Recommending the Allocation of Merchant Vessels of the German Merchant Marine
Section A. Report of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission.
Section B. Recommendations of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission.
Section C. Appendices:48
- Agreed Recommendations for the Division of German Merchant Vessels.
- Lists of vessels comprising the German Merchant Fleet, which
were known on the 1st December 1945, as under:—
- List A–1: Passenger Vessels of 1600 GRT49 and over
- List A–2: Passenger Vessels under 1600 GRT
- List B–1: Cargo Liners of 2300 DWT50 and over
- List B–2: Cargo Liners under 2300 DWT
- List C–1: Tankers of 2300 DWT and over and Special Ships
- List C–2: Tankers under 2300 DWT
- List D–1: Cargo Vessels of 2300 DWT and over
- List D–2: Cargo Vessels under 2300 DWT and over 300 DWT
- List D–2a: Cargo Vessels under 300 DWT
- List E: Uncompleted Vessels
- List I: Miscellaneous Sea-Going Craft
- List J: Additions and Deletions.
- Exchange of letters between the Commission and the Allied Control Authority for Germany concerning the tonnage of Merchant Marine required for the needs of the German Peace Economy.
- List of Ships reserved to satisfy the German Peace Economy.
- List of Germant Merchant Vessels sunk during the War within 5 miles of the coast, and including the vessels sunk with Chemical Warfare Ammunition in accordance with the Order of the Allied Supreme Commander.
- List of Merchant ships owned by Allied and Neutral Countries seized by the Germans.
- Minutes of the plenary Meetings of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission.
Section A. Report of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission
1. The Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, agreed at the Conference held at Berlin between the 17th July and 2nd August 1945 that “The German Merchant Marine, surrendered to the three Powers and wherever located shall be divided equally among the U.S.S.R., [Page 1514] the U.K., and the U.S.A.”51 For this purpose the three Governments agreed to “Constitute a Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission comprising two representatives for each Government, accompanied by the requisite staff, to submit agreed recommendations to the three Governments for the allocation of specific German merchant marine ships and to handle other detailed matters arising out of the agreement between the three Governments regarding the German merchant ships.”
2. As authorised by the above agreements, a Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission comprising two representatives of each Government was established. The representatives were:—
|Admiral G. I. Levchenko||U.S.S.R.|
|Mr. A. A. Affanasiev, N.K.M.F.52||U.S.S.R.|
|Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey J. A. Miles K.C.B.||U.K.|
|Sir Andrew Common M.W.T.53||U.K.|
|Vice Admiral R. L. Ghormley U.S.N.||U.S.A.|
|Mr. Thomas F. Dunn W.S.A.54||U.S.A.|
3. The Commission met in the City of Berlin, at the Headquarters of the Allied Control Authority from 1st September to 7th December 1945.
4. A special committee was established for deciding all practical matters connected with the division of the German Merchant Marine and for preparing recommendations for the distribution of the vessels between the three Powers. In addition, a Technical sub-committee was formed to inventory the vessels comprising the German Merchant Marine and to compile the lists of these vessels, as well as a Sub-committee for their valuation according to the method adopted.
5. The representative of each of the three Governments assumed the responsibility for submitting lists of all German ships known to them and these lists were corrected by the Technical sub-committee as further information came to light. On the basis of these lists the Commission compiled the first basic lists of the German merchant ships available, divided in four categories viz: a–Passenger Liners, b–Cargo Liners, c–Tankers and Special ships, d–Dry Cargo vessels.
Each category of vessels was subdivided in two groups:
- Large vessels—Passenger ships over 1600 GRT and Cargo ships over 2300 DWT
- Small vessels—Passenger and cargo ships under above-mentioned tonnage.
Vessels under 1600 GRT or 2300 DWT were listed separately as it was considered that the requirements of the Allied Control Council could be met out of this tonnage.
6. The basis adopted for division was a valuation of the tonnage at 1938 building prices.
The Committee worked out the values, taking into account type, size, speed, and age of the vessels also the type of machinery.
The method adopted was, of necessity, somewhat arbitrary, but it provided a practical means of assessing the relative values of the vessels to be distributed. Passenger vessels were valued separately. The values were assessed before it was known to which Power the vessel would be allocated.
7. On completion of the first Basic lists on September 18, 1945, inspection parties comprising representatives of the U.S.S.R., U.K., and the U.S.A., were sent to the ports in all zones of Germany, and to the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Holland. Instructions were given to the representatives of the three Powers to inspect the German merchant vessels in the United States ports.
The inspection parties inspected the German merchant vessels which lay in the ports at the time of inspection. Some of the vessels mentioned in the first Basic list were not inspected as they were at sea. The inspection parties found a number of vessels not mentioned in the first Basic Lists.
Many vessels of small tonnage (Coastal ships) were not inspected as time did not allow of this.
According to the condition of the vessels, their machinery and cargo gear as recorded in the inspection reports, the values were adjusted and the final agreed lists were compiled.
8. The Commission discussed the question of the vessels, which according to the order of Allied Supreme Commander, were sunk with Chemical warfare ammunition. It was agreed that nine vessels, which were already sunk at the time of the discussion were to be excluded from the lists of the German merchant marine to be divided and to be included in the List of Sunken ships with a notation to this effect. It was agreed to leave the other six vessels the loading of which with Chemical warfare ammunition had begun, in the list of the German merchant marine to be divided and to include them in the share of the United Kingdom.
9. The Commission at its first meeting addressed a letter to the Allied Control Council for Germany asking for information about the tonnage necessary to the needs of the German Peace economy.[Page 1516]
On November 21st, 1945, the reply of the Allied Control Council was received, requesting the reservation for the needs of the German peace economy of 175,000 tons carrying capacity of the German merchant marine (see appendix 356).
In order to meet this request, the Commission reserved 200,000 tons DWT, i.t. 175,000 tons carrying capacity (see appendix 456); the Commission then worked out its recommendations for the division of the German merchant marine between the three Powers (see appendix 156).
10. The Commission discussed the following questions, arising out of the decision of the Berlin conference regarding the German merchant marine:
- Sunken vessels.
- Merchant vessels that were owned by the Allies and Neutrals and seized by the Germans.
- Repair and re-conversion of the vessels to be divided.
- Supply of the ships to be divided, with spare parts, stores, fuel and food.
- Provision of the vessels to be divided with the necessary shipping and technical documents.
- Delivery of vessels divided between the three Powers.
- German merchant ships under construction in Sweden.
- German merchant ships which may be found in the future.
- German Sea Fishing Fleet.
- German port facilities and dredging fleet.
- Inland Water Transport.
- Compensation for use of vessels prior to delivery.
Section B. Recommendation of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission for the Division of the German Merchant Marine
The Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission agrees and recommends to the three Governments that:—
1. The German merchant marine surrendered to the three Powers be divided equally among the U.S.S.R., the U.K., and the U.S.A., according to the attached list (see appendix 156).
2. In conformity with the decision of the Allied Control Council (see appendix 356) 175,000 tons carrying capacity, i.e., 200,000 DWT, of the German merchant marine be reserved for German peace economy in accordance with the attached list (see appendix, 456).
3. All the German Merchant vessels sunk within five miles of the coast of Germany (see appendix 556) be destroyed before the end of 1946.[Page 1517]
Each of the three Powers, represented on the Commission, shall report to the others when this has been done.
In the case of the few vessels mentioned in appendix 5, sunk in the coastal zones of countries other than Germany, a formal request for their destruction shall be sent to the Sovereign Powers concerned.
4. Vessels not of German nationality (see appendix 657) be placed in the custody of the Allied Control Council for Germany, pending return to their owners on proof of title.
5. The Commission discussed the question of the German merchant vessels that were in construction in the Swedish shipyards at the time of capitulation of Germany.
As the information about this question is insufficient, the matter be taken up through the normal diplomatic channels.
6. As regards German merchant ships which are subject to the Berlin Agreement and which may subsequently be found when the agreement about the division of the German merchant marine is in force, independently of the flag under which these ships may be, the three Governments take in such cases all appropriate measures through the normal diplomatic channels to secure an immediate delivery of these ships to the Allied Control Council for Germany, and the principles of the agreement for the division of the German merchant marine be applied to these ships.
7. The repair of damage caused by War or Marine Risks during use, running repairs effected for the benefit of the user, and running repairs effected while in use before delivery, be for the account of the user and not be charged to the recipient power.
Special fittings, as in the case of troopers, be for the account of the user. Passenger accommodations fitted for troop carrying have to be re-converted to their previous state at the expense of the country which made the fitting.
Capital restoration repairs and repairs to damage caused by war or marine casualties suffered by vessels prior to the Surrender of Germany, also improvements to crew accommodation be paid for by the Government to which the vessel is allocated to the Government in whose country or zone the repair has been or will be effected. Where repairs have been or will be effected in Germany the cost be borne by Germany and charged against the Reparations’ account of the recipient power.
The custodian power shall facilitate the repair of a vessel in Germany allocated to the other powers to the extent of making her seaworthy [Page 1518] to sail or be towed before German repair facilities are radically reduced in accordance with the Allied Policy agreed at Berlin.
In the U.K. repair facilities will also be granted but no special priority can be given.
8. All spare parts, stores, furniture and equipment on board be handed over at the time of transfer to the recipient power and anything removed from the vessel by the custodian power or its agents be returned.
9. All available documents on board or in the possession of the custodian power or its agents be handed over at the time of delivery. Plans known to be available in the builders yards be handed over also.
10. On transfer the custodian power shall certify to the recipient power the authority under which delivery is made.
11. The physical delivery of the vessels be started immediately on ratification of the report and recommendations of the Commission, and it is hoped that delivery can be begun by 20th December 1945. Between the signing of the report and ratification information on locations of ships to be transferred be supplied to the recipient powers and vessels be concentrated in nominated agreed ports. Representatives of each of the three Powers in the ports of delivery be instructed to give every possible assistance to the recipient power.
Every effort be made to complete the delivery of the ships by the 20th January 1946.
All other matters relative to the delivery of German merchant vessels lying in ports of Powers represented on the Commission or of zones occupied by them be dealt with bi-laterally between the Sovereign Nations concerned, in other ports they be arranged direct between the recipient power and the country concerned.
12. If any German vessels, allocated under the division lists to one of the three Powers be lost or damaged before the physical delivery to the said Power, while in service by another Power, this last Power is under the obligation to give to the Power to which the vessel was to be delivered a vessel of similar type from its own list or to repair the damaged vessel at its expense.
13. As the Commission failed to reach agreement on the disposal of the German fishing fleet, dredger fleet, port facilities, Inland water transport and compensation for use of vessels prior to delivery, it was agreed to recommend to the three Governments to decide these questions separately without connecting them with the division of the German merchant marine.[Page 1519]
14. The Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission be dissolved on the date of the ratification of this report and recommendations.
After the dissolution of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission, the Senior Naval Officers in Germany, representing each of the three Powers, assisted by the Representatives of Narkommorflot, the British Ministry of War Transport, and the U.S. War Shipping Administration, where necessary, be authorised to handle any questions which may subsequently arise out of the agreement between the three Governments regarding the German merchant marine.
15. The foregoing document is drawn up in the Russian and English languages. The text in each language is an original text and is of equal authenticity.58
Representative, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Senior Representative United Kingdom
Vice Admiral K.C.B.
Representative, United Kingdom
Senior Representative United States of America
Vice Admiral U.S.N.
Representative, United States of America
- None printed.↩
- Gross registered tonnage.↩
- Deadweight tonnage.↩
- See Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, p. 1488.↩
- Narkommorflot: Peoples Commissariat for Maritime Fleet.↩
- Ministry of War Transport.↩
- War Shipping Administration.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Although the photostated copy in Department files hears no signatures, the attached minutes of the Ninth Meeting of the Tripartite Merchant Marine Commission, December 7, indicate that the report was approved and signed at that time.↩