File No. 763.72112/1834
The Secretary of State to the Postmaster General ( Burleson )
My Dear Mr. Burleson The President has sent me a note, approving the plan which I submitted to him on Saturday last, with reference to forwarding to the countries now at war by parcel post any articles of merchandise. The plan is simply to announce: First, that so far as the action of belligerent countries is concerned, the rules which apply to merchandise sent by freight or express shall apply also to merchandise sent by mail, and secondly, that merchandise deposited at the various post offices to be sent into belligerent territory, will be accepted and sent at the sender’s risk.
This plan would leave merchandise sent by mail to be dealt with by belligerents in the same manner as shipments by other means; in other words, the question of forfeiture involved would in either case be left for the decision of the prize courts. In the sending of merchandise by parcel post, care could be taken to have it put up in packages separate from the ordinary mail, so that any action taken in regard to merchandise need not delay or otherwise embarrass the regular mail traffic. This plan, I believe, would relieve us of the difficult and delicate task of enforcing at our post offices the orders in council of the British Government recently issued, to the validity of which we have not committed ourselves.
I am [etc.]