File No. 763.72112/251

The British Ambassador ( Spring Rice ) to the Acting Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Counsellor: In compliance with your request I telegraphed on the 23d instant to my Government to enquire what was their view with regard to cotton and whether or no they considered it to be contraband. You addressed this question to me as you said there seemed to be doubts in certain quarters in this country as to the attitude of my Government.

Last night I received a reply from Sir Edward Grey in which he authorises me to give the assurance that cotton will not be seized. He points out that cotton has not been put in any of our lists of contraband and as your Department must be aware from the draft proclamation now in your possession, it is not proposed to include it in our new list of contraband. It is therefore, as far as Great Britain is concerned, in the free list and will remain there.

I am [etc.]

Cecil Spring Rice

[Enclosure—Telegram]

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Grey ) to the British Embassy at Washington

You can give assurance that cotton will not be seized. It has not been put in any of our lists of contraband and as State Department must know from draft proclamations in their possession, it is not proposed to include it in our new list of contraband. It is therefore as far as we are concerned in the free list and will remain there. But we do not in our new proclamation accept free list of the Declaration of London as regards some articles other than cotton.

Does the State Department realise that though we detain cargoes of contraband to make sure that they are really intended for neutral countries and have retained some cargoes such as copper destined for Krupp, we have not yet taken a single cargo without paying for it and have let all proceed that were really destined for neutral countries?