859.85/10–1245

The Secretary of State to the Danish Minister ( Kauffmann )

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of October 12, 1945 and I am gratified to note that your Government has approved policies adopted by you in your relations with this Government during the period that your country was under military occupation by Germany.

I have also noted your statement regarding the desirability that fair compensation for the Danish vessels requisitioned by this Government in 1941 be determined and paid without delay.

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This Government is likewise desirous, and has been all along, that a satisfactory understanding with respect to the amount of compensation to be paid the Danish shipowners be reached as promptly as possible. It has no disposition to question your statement that such compensation should be measured in accordance with the rules of international law or your statement concerning the importance of this matter from the point of view of Danish economy and dollar exchange.

There are, as you well know, a number of factors that have given rise to difficulties in arriving at an understanding on the question of compensation. It was with a view to solving some of these problems that the President recently reconvoked an Advisory Board on Just Compensation, to which you have referred.

You state that from the beginning the Danish shipowners have been desirous of seeing the question of compensation for the requisitioned Danish ships solved in an amiable way and that it is still the hope of the owners as well as of the Danish Government that this question will be satisfactorily settled without resort to international arbitration, but that your Government is prepared, should the occasion arise, to refer the matter to adjudication by an international tribunal. In order that there may be no misunderstanding, I think that I should call attention to the fact that, under the acts of Congress pursuant to which the vessels were requisitioned, the owners have the right, if the amount found by the American authorities to be due is unsatisfactory, to have the matter judicially determined in courts of the United States, and that arbitration would scarcely be in order while such remedy is available. I may assure you, however, that this Department is hopeful that a settlement both fair and satisfactory to all interests will not be unreasonably further delayed.

Accept [etc.]

James F. Byrnes