The Counselor for the Department of State to the French Ambassador (Jusserand)
Washington, December 1, 1914.
My dear Mr. Ambassador: The positive declaration made by the British Government on the 26th ultimo that they would not seize shipments of cotton as contraband, has greatly relieved the tension which has prevailed among American planters and shippers, due to a feeling of apprehension and uncertainty as to the policy of [Page 293] Great Britain. There is, however, remaining considerable embarrassment among cotton shippers, who claim that while the British authorities do not interfere with shipments of cotton, the French authorities cause undue detentions of vessels loaded with this commodity and destined for belligerent countries in Europe, interrupting the course of their trade and causing them great expense. It would, therefore, be a great satisfaction if you could obtain from your Government as clear a statement of the immunity of this product from seizure as the British Government has been good enough to make in regard to it.
I know that you will appreciate the desire of allaying the apprehension which prevails on this point in regard to an article which this country wishes to export to Europe, and which seems to possess no qualities making it contraband. However groundless such apprehension may be, it is well to quiet it by assurances which can leave no doubt of the intention of your Government.
I am [etc.]