File No. 763.72112/706

The Department of State to the German Embassy


The Department of State has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Imperial German Embassy’s memorandum of the 7th instant,1 stating that the German Government, expecting that the Government of the United States will extend to American trade with Germany, so far as it does not include contraband, the same protection as to the trade with other countries, gives the formal assurance to the Government of the United States that all goods imported into Germany from the United States, directly or indirectly, which belong to the class of relative contraband, as, for example, foodstuffs, will not be used by the German Army or Navy or by Government authorities, but will be left to the free consumption of the German civilian population excluding all Government purveyors, it being added that the German Government would also be ready to leave for the duration of the war the sale and distribution of such imported goods, as oils or cereals, to American organizations.

In reply the Department of State has the honor to say that the American Ambassador at London has been instructed, by telegraph, to communicate to the British Government this assurance on the part of the Imperial German Government, in connection with representations which the Ambassador was directed to make with a view to the release of the American steamer Wilhelmina , which is understood to be carrying a cargo of foodstuffs destined for Germany and which is now detained in a British port.2

  1. Ante, p. 95.
  2. The substance of the second paragraph was repeated in a note of the same date from the Secretary of State to the German Ambassador acknowledging the latter’s note of February 13.