The Acting Chief of the Division of Lend-Lease and Surplus War-Property Affairs ( Matlock ) to Mr. Henry Waegelein, Deputy Assistant to the United States Maritime Commission
My Dear Mr. Waegelein: This is in response to your telephone request of Mr. Truesdell of this office for advice regarding action taken by the Department of State to effect the return of merchant vessels, use and custody of which were transferred to the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under the Lend-Lease Act.
On October 31, 1946 the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs2 called in the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires3 and in the course of conversation [Page 654] handed him an aide-mémoire 4 which reviewed the note of the United States Government of September 14, 19465 and asked when a reply might be expected. In reviewing the note of September 14 reference was made to merchant vessels as follows:
“This note reaffirmed the position of the Government of the United States, as set forth in its note of March 18, 19466 that the purchase of dry-cargo vessels, tankers, and other merchant vessels, use and custody of which were transferred to the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under the Lend-Lease Act, is governed by existing statutes of the United States and that those not purchased must be returned to the Government of the United States in conformity with such statutes. The Government of the United States expressed its desire that discussion of the disposition of these vessels also commence on or before October 15, 1946.”
We shall be pleased to inform you from time to time of further developments in this regard.