The Secretary of the Navy ( Forrestal ) to the Secretary of State


My Dear Mr. Secretary: Consideration has been given within the Department to your letter received April 30, 1947,1 in which you solicit my views on the Lend-Lease settlement to be negotiated between this Government and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with respect to articles transferred by the Navy Department to the Soviet Government and with respect to Military articles in general. Paralleling previous settlements with major powers, the Navy Department believes that the policy of the United States to permit retention of Lend-Lease military or naval articles subject to the right of recapture should be adhered to in the settlement with the [Page 686] Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Navy has no objection to items of a naval or military character subject to recapture being taken to mean “arms, ammunition, and implements of war” as enumerated in Presidential Proclamation 2717 of February 14, 1947.

Exclusive of ships, boats, barges and floating drydocks of the Navy transferred to Russia under Lend-Lease, the Navy Department does not presently desire to have the right of recapture exercised except for 260–40 mm anti-aircraft gun assemblies (single) as requested in my letter to you Serial No. 2039P411 dated 9 December 1946. (Annex A)2

With respect to ships, boats, barges and floating drydocks of the Navy, signed custody receipts are held in the Navy Department for 585 craft as listed in Annex (B)2 hereto. Reports received in the Navy Department indicate that of the above craft three (3) Motor Torpedo Boats Nos. 85, 87 and 197 have been lost. Of the craft listed in Annex (B), not reported destroyed or lost, the Navy Department desires that the following types and numbers be recaptured and returned to the custody of the United States upon the conclusion of the Lend-Lease settlement agreement:

Type Number of Vessels
(a) Ice Breakers (CR) 3 —Returned to a port in the Continental United States, to be designated by the Navy Department.
(b) Large Mine Sweepers (AM) 34
(c) Landing: Craft, Infantry (LCIL) 30
(d) Frigates (PF) 28
(e) Torpedo Boats (PT & BPT) 202
(f) Submarine Chasers (SC, PTC, & RPC) 140
(g) Motor Mine Sweepers (YMS) 43

The above listed vessels, (b) through (g), either to a port in the Continental United States or a near port to be designated by the United States. For craft located in the Far East and Maritime provinces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the port of return should be in Japan as specified by the United States. Under no circumstances should we agree to vessels being delivered to or touching in the Aleutians.

The following ships, boats, barges and floating drydocks of the Navy transferred under Lend-Lease to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics should be recaptured in compliance with Public Law #1 of the 78th Congress and offered for disposal to the Union of Soviet [Page 687] Socialist Republics under the terms of the Surplus Property Act of 1944. Should the Soviet Government not desire to conclude the purchase of these vessels under the Surplus Property Act, they should be recaptured and returned to ports as designated for vessels in (b) through (g) above:

Type Number of Vessels
(a) Shallow Water Craft River Tugs (AG) 15
(b) Landing Craft Tanks (LCT) 17
(c) Floating Workshops (YR) 4
(d) Landing Craft, Mechanized (LCM’S 3) 54
(e) Motor Launch (ML) 1
(f) Plane Personnel Boat 1
(g) Landing Craft Support (LCS(S)) 2
(h) Landing Craft Veh. & Pers. (LCVP) 2
(i) Pontoon Barges (250 tons) 6

As a first step in accomplishing the above recommendations, the Navy Department considers that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics should be requested to inform the United States as to the present status of all 40 mm guns and location and condition of United States Naval craft, which step I have been given to understand has already been initiated by your Lend-Lease Settlement Committee.

Sincerely yours,

James Forrestal
  1. See p. 678.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.