893.85/2–2646: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in China

345. For General Marshall from Colonel Davis. The following is for your information: Informal advice indicates no direct reply will be made to your radio 234, dated 23 February. Enabling legislation now pending in Congress, passage of which is necessary prerequisite to sale of six Liberties to Chinese, provides that authority to make sale will rest with Maritime Commission, not with War Department. Owning agency must make vessels to be sold available to Maritime Commission before Maritime Commission can make disposition. Therefore, procedure for sale of these six Liberties will include (a) return of ships by War Department to WSA, (b) declaration of ships as available for sale by War Shipping Administration, and (c) sale on [Page 792] terms provided in the Ships Sales Act49 by the Maritime Commission.

War Department has authorized Wedemeyer to return the six Liberties to WSA at any time such return may be necessary to consummate sale. Believe this constitutes only War Department action necessary to expedite transaction. Your office here is following matter with Maritime Commission. [Davis.]

  1. Proposed legislation subsequently enacted; approved March 8, 1946, 60 Stat. 41.