740.00119 P.W./2–1446: Telegram
The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith)
599. You should reply to letter quoted urtel 430 Feb 14 along following lines:
“With reference to the letter, dated 12 Feb 1946, from Mr. Lozovski to Mr. Kennan, regarding the disposition of Japanese destroyers and surface combatant vessels of lesser tonnage, the US Govt recognizes that Japanese vessels may be needed by the Soviet command for repatriation and other purposes connected with the implementation of the capitulation of Japan. Japanese vessels under the control of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers are at present being used for such purposes in various parts of the Far East, and it would, therefore, be appropriate to assign some of these vessels to repatriation work and other tasks connected with the implementation of the Japanese surrender in areas occupied by Soviet forces. The Soviet member of the Allied Council for Japan might, accordingly, request the Supreme Commander to assign a suitable proportion of the Japanese vessels under his control to these tasks.
It is felt that the assignment of Japanese vessels to such tasks should not be connected with or in any way prejudice the ultimate disposition of these vessels. In fact, as long as the vessels are engaged in repatriation work and in other tasks connected with the implementation of the Japanese surrender, they should remain under the control of the Supreme Commander and should not be considered available for final disposition. The division of Japanese destroyers and surface combatant vessels of lesser tonnage between the four powers should, therefore, await the completion of these tasks.
The final disposition of the Japanese merchant fleet involves the broader problems of reparations and the future economy of Japan. A final decision on its disposition, therefore, must await further policy decisions by the Far Eastern Commission.”