File No. 763.72111/2490

The Acting Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Spring Rice )

No. 880]

Excellency: Referring to your note of July 7, 1915, transmitting a copy of a circular which you sent to the British consuls in the United States on December 23, 1914, with reference to the furnishing of assistance to British subjects who desire to return to England for military service, and to the Department’s note in reply of July 8, 1915,1 I am now in a position to advise you of the views of this [Page 767] Government upon your request for an opinion as to the legality of rendering such assistance.

As the Department is advised that it is possible that a judicial construction of the actions which your excellency has in mind is involved in indictments now pending and about to be submitted to grand juries in various district courts of the United States, I am sure you will appreciate the hesitancy of the Attorney General in rendering an opinion on the construction of a statute which may shortly come up for judicial review, especially as the statute has, I am informed, never been the subject of judicial construction in this particular respect.

The Attorney General, however, desires me to say to your excellency that, should you believe the facts do not support the charges made in the indictments recently found in San Francisco in the cases of alleged recruiting, he would be glad to have your views on the matter and any facts you may care to present.

I have [etc.]

Alvey A. Adee
  1. Not printed.↩