The Chief of the Foreign Military Aid Branch, Logistics Division, General Staff, United States Army (Davis) to the Acting Chief of the Lend-Lease and Surplus Property Branch, Division of Economic Property Policy (Shenefield)


Dear Mr. Shenefield: The recent inspection of U.S. tanks in the possession of Mr. Van Loo in Belgium by the Five Power Commission indicates that these tanks (448 Sherman and 20 Stewart tanks) can be used by the Western Union Powers as tanks or as a source of supply of spare parts. These tanks can also be used to meet U.S. Army requirements.

It is felt that these tanks should first be applied against the Western Union requirements and secondly, if possible, any tanks not required by the Western Union should be recaptured and returned to U.S. Army stocks in Europe.

It is requested that action be initiated to stop further disposition of tanks in question and to have the United Kingdom regain possession of these tanks for eventual retransfer to the Western Union Powers or recapture by the United States. Upon receipt of information that the United Kingdom has regained possession and upon determination of the tank requirements of the Western Union, the Department of the Army will furnish the necessary disposition instructions.1

Sincerely yours,

Charles I. Davis

Lt. Colonel, GSC
  1. On January 5, 1949, Mr. Shenefield replied that he had been “informed by the British Treasury Delegation that recapture of the tanks cannot be exercised by the British Government”, and that he understood “that these tanks have been applied to the purpose intended by your letter.”