File No. 763.72111Un3/19
The British Ambassador ( Spring Rice ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 21.]
My Dear Mr. Secretary: I am informed by the attorney in this city for the Canadian Pacific Railway that a question has arisen as to whether certain classes of Canadian soldiers could be permitted to pass through the State of Maine from Vanceboro to Lowelltown on their way from St. John, New Brunswick, to points in Canada, the route through United States territory being, as you are no doubt aware, that usually taken by passengers arriving from England.
It appears that the Canadian authorities have arranged that soldiers returning from Europe who are, whether owing to wounds or otherwise, unfit for further service, shall be examined and discharged at Liverpool before embarking for Canada. They are then sent forward in parties to their homes in Canada, and, though they are during the voyage still wearing their service uniforms, they of course no longer form part of any military unit and cannot be called upon for service without further enlistment. The men thus returning to Canada would not carry arms, and I should be grateful if you could inform me whether there would be any objection to their passing through United States territory as above described.[Page 776]
Another class of men whom it is desired to send, if possible, over the short route are men, wearing uniform, who are returning to their homes on furlough, or after being invalided for convalescence. Men of this description would travel as individuals, not as parties. It would be a great convenience for these men if they were permitted to travel through the State of Maine instead of taking the longer alternative route, and I should be grateful if you could also favour me with your views on this point.
I am [etc.]