File No. 763.72111/2385

The Postmaster General ( Burleson ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr Secretary: Referring to the advertisement of the Cleveland Automatic Machine Company, Cleveland, Ohio, which appeared in the May 6, 1915, issue of the American Machinist, submitted with your letter of the 25th,1 regarding high-explosive shells, which it is stated in the advertisement can be produced on a machine of that company, I have to say that there appears to be nothing in this advertisement which renders it inadmissible under the postal statutes as a part of the publication, which is entered as second-class matter at New York, New York.

If, however, the advertisement, by reason of the following or any other statement therein—

Fragments become coated with these acids in exploding and wounds caused by them mean death in terrible agony within four hours if not attended to immediately.

From what we are able to learn of conditions in the trenches, it is not possible to get medical assistance to any one in time to prevent fatal results. It is necessary to immediately cauterize the wound if in the body or head, or to amputate if in the limbs, as there seems to be no antidote that will counteract the poison.

It can be seen from this that this shell is more effective than the regular shrapnel, since the wounds caused by shrapnel balls and fragments in the muscles are not as dangerous as they have no poisonous element making prompt attention necessary—

is regarded as objectionable and not in harmony with the President’s attitude in the interests of neutrality, this department will be very glad, if you so desire, to suggest to the publishers of the periodical that such advertisements be not accepted in the future for the reason stated.

Very sincerely,

A. S. Burleson
  1. Not printed.