The Assistant Secretary of State ( Clayton ) to the Danish Minister ( Kauffmann )

My Dear Mr. Minister: I have discussed with my associates in the Department, as well as the representatives of the War Shipping Administration, your letter of May 22, 1945, Mr. Burling’s letter of May 19, 1945, and the various papers that were enclosed with Mr. Burling’s letter.80

I have been informed that the discussions which had been taking place between the representatives of the owners of the Danish vessels and the War Shipping Administration had been substantially completed and that the War Shipping Administration had requested the submission of a comprehensive brief which would summarize all of the owners’ factual and legal contentions with regard to the value of the vessels. I understand that upon the receipt and consideration of such brief, and the disposal of certain other questions, the War Shipping Administration was prepared to set a definite value on the vessels in a manner consistent with both international and domestic law, and to make a firm tender consistent with applicable provisions of such law.

In as much as Congress at the time it enacted the Act of June 6, 1941,81 as amended,82 had in mind these precise vessels and in as much as the Act provided a method for the determination of their value, which in the first instance vested such determination in the War Shipping Administration with the right of appeal to the courts, it is not seen how this Department can properly disregard the procedure as prescribed by the statutes and make recommendations to the Congress until recourse under such procedure has been fully exhausted.

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Therefore, until such procedure has been completed, the Department considers it inappropriate to intervene for the purpose of ascertaining whether the results of such procedure are in conformity with our international obligations.

Sincerely yours,

William L. Clayton
  1. Mr. Burling’s letter and enclosures not printed.
  2. See footnote 58, p. 582.
  3. Public Law 17, 78th Congress, March 24, 1943, An act to amend and clarify certain provisions of law relating to functions of the War Shipping Administration, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1943; 57 Stat. 45.