Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

President Truman to General Marshall

407. The following message in reply to a request from Chiang Kai-shek for the transfer of six liberty ships to Chinese Government ownership was sent this date:

“Replying to your message of February 17 requesting that six liberty ships be transferred to the complete ownership of the Chinese [Page 791] Government, you are informed that at the present time I have no legal authority to make such a transfer.

There is now pending before the Congress legislation which should become a law within a few days providing authority for government owned ships to be sold to foreign governments.

Upon the final approval of this legislation steps will immediately be taken to accomplish without avoidable delay the sale of six liberty ships to the Chinese Government.”

Please let me have by telegraph your comment and recommendation on the request made by Chiang.