The Norwegian Embassy to the Department of State
The Norwegian shipowners A/S A. F. Klaveness in February 1939 entered into a contract with the Framnæs Mekaniske Verksted, (Framnes Shipbuilding Co.) Sandefjord, for the construction of a ship. The total amount agreed to was Norwegian Kroner 3.625.000. The construction was not terminated when the German invasion took place.
In 1941 the German authorities, against the protest of the owners, confiscated the ship after having offered to buy the contract. The owners up to then had paid Kroner 2.175.000. The Germans paid an additional amount of Kroner 1.450.000. The builders contend that an additional amount of Kr. 120.000 is still due. Upon completion the ship was taken over by the German authorities and given the name of Darss.
The Darss is at present in Bremerhaven where it has been seized as a prize by the American Navy. The shipowners have protested through the Norwegian Shipping Office in Hamburg and the matter [Page 86] has been discussed by Norwegian and United States authorities in London. The latter have contended that it must be proved that the owners are Norwegian and that the builders have no further claims.
According to the draft agreement regarding liberated ships negotiated between the Norwegian Government and the Government of the United Kingdom Norwegian ships seized by the Germans under conditions as described are still deemed to be Norwegian. The proper American authorities were kept informed regarding the said negotiations, and it is understood that they had no objections to the principles embodied in the draft. The British Ministry of War Transports in a letter of August 22, 1945 to the Norwegian Ministry of Shipping placed the Darss at the disposal of the Norwegian Government freed from all responsibilities.
The Norwegian Government trusts that the United States authorities will consent to the delivery of the Darss to the Norwegian owners. The A/S A. F. Klaveness is a well-known Norwegian shipping firm with a capital 100% Norwegian. The Framnæs Mekaniske Verksted, which maintains a claim against the ship is also a Norwegian corporation.