File No. 763.72111R24/35

The Assistant Attorney General ( Warren ) to the Counselor for the Department of State

My Dear Mr. Lansing: I have received your letter of March 24,1 enclosing letter and clipping from William Bayard Hale, regarding a campaign for the enlistment of recruits for the British Army.

In reply, I desire to say that Mr. Hale, under date of March 8, had already written to this Department a duplicate of the letter sent to you, and I enclose herewith a copy of the reply sent by me to Mr. Hale.

The matter is now under investigation by this Department.

Yours cordially,

Charles Warren
[Page 761]

The Attorney General ( Gregory ) to Mr. William Bayard Hale

Dear Sir: I am directed by the Attorney General to acknowledge receipt of your letter of March 8, 1915, enclosing clipping from the New York Times, 1 relative to alleged activities of the British Government in the United States in obtaining services of aviators.

In reply, I desire to say that the matter will be investigated, and any violations of the penal or neutrality laws of the United States will be prosecuted if sufficient evidence can be obtained that any such violation exists.

I desire further to say that this Department has been actively investigating numerous reports of violations of Section 5282 of the Revised Statutes (now Section 10 of the Federal Penal Code of 19102). This statute, however, as you doubtless are aware, is very imperfect in its provisions, and in order to prosecute thereunder it is necessary to prove absolutely that some specified person has been actually hired or retained to enlist, or to go outside the United States with intent to enlist, or has actually, himself, enlisted, or entered himself to enlist in the United States.

You will therefore see that mere advertising for recruits or enlistments does not constitute any penal offense, nor does mere invitation to enlist do so. It is necessary to prove that the person so advertising, or so inviting, did actually hire or retain some other person in violation of the statute.

The statement in your letter, “that the activities of British recruiting officers in this country ought to be stopped, and that the Federal Government has abundant authority to put a stop to them,” is, of course, subject to the conditions stated above.


For the Attorney General:
Charles Warren

Assistant Attorney General
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Approved March 4, 1909, to take effect January 1, 1910.