File No. 124.0665/23a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Sharp )1


Department’s 310, November 25, 1914,2 and circular December 18, 1914.3 In view of understanding between United States and belligerent countries regarding inviolability of Department’s diplomatic and consular correspondence, the following rules established by the Department are hereby called to your attention:

Communications from private individuals or institutions abroad to private individuals or institutions in United States should not be sent in Department pouches.
Personal letters from United States diplomatic or consular officers or employees of American missions or consulates abroad addressed to private individuals in United States may be sent in pouches, but should be censored by heads of missions with a view to prevent transmission of statements which would otherwise be censored by Governments, and should be left unsealed with postage fully prepaid.
Official correspondence of diplomatic and consular officers to individuals outside of Department should be marked “Official business,” and should be left unsealed.
Communications from nations at war to agents in the United States should not be transmitted through pouches.
The Department reserves right to censor all mail received in the pouches.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to diplomatic officers in other belligerent countries.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1914, Supplement, p. 542.
  3. Circular not printed.