File No. 763.72112/1316

A. Boden to the Secretary of State

Dear Sir: Having come to the United States in order to facilitate the export of the abundant cotton crop through the Netherlands, a neutral country, mainly to the port of Rotterdam, and having not only succeeded by getting the facility of the bigger New York banking institutions, such as the Guaranty Trust Company, New York City Bank, National Park Bank, Knauth Nachodt & Kuhne, [Page 292] for partly financing same, and also interested our banks, our shipowners to put steamers at my disposal, I received a cable last night, by which a shipowner, as well as our Dutch insurance companies, now demand the same assurances and guarantees in regard to letting Dutch bottoms, loaded with cotton, pass free and unmolested while carrying cotton cargoes from the Gulf, as well as Atlantic ports, to Rotterdam. They ask this as a matter of precaution because it has occurred that, where England ordered a ship out of her ports with a free permission to proceed to Amsterdam, the French authorities ordered her to a French port where goods were discharged. It is not the question whether contraband or not contraband, but the danger that a ship being held up for indefinite time pending investigation, causing loss to the shipowner and loss of interest to the banker that has advanced the money, that it should be easy for an article like cotton, which, by no country has been declared as contraband, to give the assurances asked.

American bottoms. These being scarce and quite insufficient tonnage, therefore very high in price, makes it necessary to ship by neutral bottoms. In regard to price, the actual rate for American bottoms from Galveston to Bremen is paid with 3 cents per pound; whereas, I have in charter a Dutch boat at 1¼ cents from Galveston to Rotterdam, to which must be added cost of transportation Rotterdam-Bremen, which is 50 cents per [hundred] pound. Therefore, total of 1¾ cents per pound, which gives a saving of 1¼ cents between neutral and American bottoms.

War Risk Insurance: I am told the American Government charges 5 per cent premium, whereas our Dutch companies charge 2½ per cent, which, again, is a saving of 2½ per cent.

I, therefore, consider it to the benefit of the United States Government, in order that the cotton is shipped unmolested at these reduced rates by which partly the farmer and also partly the importer will be benefited, making his buying capacity so much greater, that the Department of State endeavor to obtain from the French Republic an equal assurance and guarantee as received from the United Kingdom in regard to free, unmolested transportation of cotton, so I may convey to our shipowners, bankers, insurance companies a likewise confirmation such as I had the pleasure to receive from you, which will greatly tend to increase cotton shipments to Rotterdam.

Yours respectfully,

A. Boden