862.85/1057: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Wallace) to the Acting Secretary of State

590. R–373 for the Department and Davis. Your 420, February 25, 7 p.m., Treasury R–233.

  • First. Have had in mind possibility of claim by United States that title to German vessels seized in American harbors passed to United States other than through treaty or Wilson–Lloyd George Agreement and will avoid in future, as I have in past, taking any position inconsistent with such claim of independent title. Do not, however, understand you wish me to assert that claim, unless necessary to avoid contention that it has been waived. Paragraph 2d my R–22130 was based on assumption that no such claim on part of [Page 520] United States would be put forward. Allied Governments may not anticipate such claim of title outside of treaty if agreement mentioned and fact of execution of that agreement lends color to such expectations. On other hand I understand that broad provisions of Wilson–Lloyd George Agreement regarding enemy ships captured, seized or detained would include ships as to which title was made under prize courts or otherwise. Would appreciate your views as to this.
  • Second paragraph. Note desirability of avoiding discussions with representatives of other countries regarding our position as to ex-enemy vessels seized by United States.
  • Third paragraph. Am not clear as to which is the attitude indicated in your paragraph 5th that United States will probably take regarding these ships in case treaty is ratified.
  • Fourth paragraph. See no difficulty avoiding any position which would prejudice interpretation of article 439 of treaty in manner you indicate; we will also avoid taking position under article 297 in its application to ships. Presume this is what you desire in stating it inadvisable, at this time, for United States to take definite position in application of economic section. Have already expressed my views regarding application of article 297 to ships (see my R–191,30 R–19531 and R–23530) and understood by your R–15432 that you agreed with views expressed paragraph third of my R–191. In view of your R–233 would appreciate new instructions as to position I should take regarding Brazilian ships when that question comes before Reparation [Commission], unless Brazil changes her position it is inevitable that section 297 will be discussed in connection with Brazil’s claim. Rathbone.
  1. Ante, p. 516.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 508.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Ante, p. 510.