861.24/3–848

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union ( Panyushkin )

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to your note No. 51 of March 8, 1948 protesting against the actions of United States representatives in connection with the delivery to the United States of the lend-lease tankers Emba and Belgorod in the port of Yokohama.1 Your [Page 984] note states that United States representatives have requested that the tanker Emba be placed in drydock for examination and inspection of shaftlines, and that it be subjected to trials while under way; and also that the crews of the tankers Emba and Belgorod should remain on board these ships until the arrival of a ship which would transport them to the U.S.S.R. and that such ship should arrive in Yokohama and remain there until delivery of the last vessel.

I have been informed that delivery of the tankers Emba and Belgorod was completed in orderly fashion on March 9, 1948 at 2:00 P.M. Yokohama time and that the crews immediately went ashore to await the arrival of the Soviet ship which will return them to the U.S.S.R. I have also been informed that the ship designated to return the crews to the U.S.S.R. is the S.S. Smolny which is scheduled to arrive in Yokohama between March 10 and 15.

A misapprehension apparently exists on the part of your Government concerning the details of delivery of the tankers Emba and Belgorod in Yokohama. All reports received to date indicate that United States representatives have carried out their instructions to the fullest extent possible. As indicated in my note of February 27, 1948,2 these instructions were, as proposed in your note of January 31, 1948, that delivery of the eight lend-lease vessels agreed upon in your notes of January 31 and February 17, 1948 should be effected with the least possible delay by means of brief bills of receipt with agreed inventories attached.3

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Willard L. Thorp
  1. Not printed. The contents of the note are here sufficiently summarized.
  2. Not printed.
  3. The Ambassador in the Soviet Union Lieut. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith reported in telegram 658 on April 10, 1948, that the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (Tass) had information from authoritative sources that all eight vessels had been returned to the United States in the period between February 20 and March 27 (861.24/4–1048).