840.811/4–2848: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Romania


A–121. Ref is to report No. 100 from Amlegation, Bucharest dated 13 February 1948, Subject: Implementation of the Rumanian Peace Treaty through January 31, 1948, and Article 36—“The Danube” of that report and circular airgrams March 5, March 31 and April 19 on the calling of a conference “to workout a new regime on the Danube”.1

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Dept notes the reference in the above report to a licensing system for operation on the Danube and your comments that it is improbable that a license would be issued to any applicant other than the government monopoly. Also that it is doubtful that river vessels owned by other countries would be able to obtain port, landing or other facilities in Rumania.

The Department is interested in testing the licensing system and if possible the availability of facilities to other companies and countries. It requests the Legation’s opinion on whether an application for a license might be a useful way of testing this article of the Peace Treaty and if so whether the Legation has knowledge of a company (Rumanian or non-Rumanian) which could be encouraged to make an application in Bucharest.

The Department would also be interested in receiving any other suggestions of methods of testing the Danube provisions of the Treaty.

The Department has been informed by a classified US Source that the following represents available information on Danube shipping companies in Rumania. Dept desires verification, correction and/or further information to enable us to have latest picture on these companies in preparation for possible Danube conference.

In May 1947 Soviets discussed with French Danube Navigation Company (SFND) the possibility of purchasing or chartering 29 vessels in Rumania belonging to SFND but we have no information on outcome of talks. In September 1947 it was reported that six tug boats were under construction at Galati for SFND.
Of the pre-war Greek fleet on the Danube, some were bought by Rumania for delivery as reparations to USSR, some were chartered by Sovromtransport, some are still in the US Zone of Germany, but there are others operating independently in Rumanian waters.
Sixteen British vessels which were returned by the Soviets for repair by Rumanians under the armistice terms. Rumanians are delaying repair work unnecessarily so as to delay return to British.
A few British vessels now in condition to be used have been refused fuel oil by the Rumanians and are idle.
In the summer of 1947 it was reported that the Soviets were negotiating with a Dutch Navigation Company for the purchase of seven elevators and one tank barge in Rumania.
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