825.34/5–747: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Chile


A–177. There are now in the possession of the Chilean government a number of US naval vessels leased to Chile during the war under a charter party agreement between the two governments. By the terms of this agreement, the US retains title to the vessels and Chile is required to return each vessel, unless lost, to this government at a place and time to be specified by the US. This procedure was used because under the Lend Lease Act37 it was not permitted to transfer title to these vessels.

As the Navy Department now considers the ships leased to Chile to be surplus to its needs, it is planned to offer them for sale to Chile as surplus property at a low price. If Chile should agree to purchase, it is planned not to require Chile to return the ships to a US port for actual repossession by the US, but to ask that they be returned to an appropriate US official in Chile until a contract of sale is finalized. Failure to purchase the ships will necessitate that they be returned by Chile to a US port for actual repossession by the US and subsequent disposal. Although agreement states that “hire” (charge for use) of the vessels during the war shall be determined by subsequent agreement between the two governments, it is not planned to charge for use of the ships, since they were employed in the common defense effort.

Please report your comments by cable and any objections you may perceive. US ships covered by agreement with Chile are: 3 aircraft rescue vessels, 6 aircraft rearming vessels.38

  1. 55 Stat. 31.
  2. Memoranda of February 26 and March 11, 1947, from the Deputy Field Commissioner for Military Programs, Foreign Liquidation Commissioner’s Office, to the Chief of the Division of Special Inter-American Affairs, indicated that 6 LCI(L)’s and 4 LSM’s were transferred to Chile (825.34/3–1747).