File No. 763.72112/370a

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page )


391. Cotton exportation. There is an increasing public irritation in this country over the fact that Great Britain has not made an affirmative statement to the effect that American-owned cotton exported in vessels of neutral nationality, whatever the destination of the cotton, except to blockaded ports, will not be subject to seizure and detention. If British Government would immediately communicate to this Government such a declaration, it would relieve present tendency of public opinion which is imputing selfish motives to Great Britain on assumption that cotton shipments, at least those destined for belligerent countries, will be prevented by the British Government. Complaints are increasing on the part of Americans as to interference of Great Britain with commerce which they [Page 289] consider legitimate. Please bring foregoing at once to attention of British Government and ascertain if they would be willing to make such a positive declaration. This Government feels that it is essential that American public opinion on this matter be quieted and it feels confident that His Majesty’s Government will cooperate with it to that end.