File No. 763.72112/2015
The British Ambassador ( Spring Rice ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 16.]
Sir: As you are doubtless aware, difficulties have arisen in regard to stores shipped by the American Red Cross to Germany and Austria, which are not mentioned in the list of articles which His Majesty’s Government communicated to the United States Government on May 11 and which they were prepared to accept as coming within the description contained in the Declaration of London, Article 29 (1), as articles serving exclusively to aid the sick and wounded, and therefore not liable to be considered as contraband of war.1
I have now the honour to inform you that the British Government is prepared to agree to the following arrangement in order to ensure the safe passage of articles, not enumerated in the list, which would be treated as contraband in default of such special arrangement.
The British Government are prepared to favourably consider an application for the free passage of distinctively medical stores sent by the American Red Cross provided a definite undertaking is given by the United States Government in respect of each shipment that stores so sent shall be used exclusively in American Red Cross units and that when worn out, the materials shall not be allowed to become available for any other purpose, civil or military, but shall be destroyed.
The quantity and nature of the articles for which such safe-conduct is requested will of course be taken into consideration, as the original principle underlying the clause in the Declaration of London above referred to must be regarded as still applicable.
Such an arrangement would, in the view of my Government, meet the difficulty which has arisen in regard to the extension of the agreed list of articles the free passage of which is asked for on behalf of the American Red Cross and if it meets with the approval of your Department I shall be happy to inform my Government, and take the necessary steps to ensure the free passage of the articles concerned.
I have [etc.]