The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Wallace)
Washington, April 24, 1920—5 p.m.
839. For Boyden from Department and Davis. B–17. Your B–19.
- Shipping Board informs us that they have sold to date 43 ex-German vessels, none of which is below 1600 D.W.T. One, the Carl Diederichsen now named Raritan is of 1600 D.W.T.; 5 ex-Austrian vessels sold, all of which are over 2000 D.W.T. 30 ex-German vessels including 16 first class passenger type and 14 intermediate type for steerage and cargo are held under an injunction preventing sale. They further state 5 additional vessels available for sale, one at least is under 1600 D.W.T.
- Your 2d. As we have stated before if definite position is demanded, it must be that title and possession of the ex-German ships seized in United States ports rest on act of seizure under joint resolution of Congress independently of the treaty.
- In publishing notice concerning the reference to the Reparation Commission of claims against ex-German vessels, it has been pointed out that this notice does not apply to claims relating to ships seized in United States ports during the war.
- We will request the Shipping Board to hold up for time being sale of vessels under 1600 gross tonnage.
- Referring to figures of ship losses. There have probably been some changes since the Shipping Board intelligence lists were submitted to A[llied] M[aritime] T[ransport] E[xecutive]. Our figures at present show pre-war losses 67,835 tons, losses during the war, 347,082, total 414,917 tons. This, however, does not include 36 vessels mainly small schooners which were lost without trace. It is possible that it may be found later that the loss of certain of these vessels was due to German submarine activities. The tonnage figures also do not include merchant vessels damaged but not sunk. This damage is estimated to amount to $3,658,045.38 made up of $896,928.93, representing pre-war damage, $2,761,116.45, representing damage after April 6, 1917.