The Secretary of State to C. W. Leavitt and Company
Gentlemen: The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of November 12, 1915, relative to the difficulties you are experiencing in effecting a shipment of 25 tons of copper to customers in Sweden.
This matter has been taken up informally by the Department with the commercial adviser to the British Embassy at Washington. He states that a number of American firms refining or dealing in copper have been able to conclude arrangements with the British Admiralty under which the Admiralty issues to them certificates providing for non-interference with specific shipments made by them to foreign consignees.
This Department recognizes the right of American citizens to make shipments of merchandise, whether contraband or not, to neutral persons in neutral countries. If, however, steamship companies are unwilling to receive consignments of this character except under [Page 185] special conditions, there is no power in this Department to require an alteration of these conditions, or to impose upon the steamship companies a different course of action.
It is accordingly suggested that you place yourself in direct communication with the British Admiralty in London and endeavor to conclude with it an arrangement similar to the above described. This Department, as well as the British Embassy at Washington, is without information as to the details of these arrangements.
A certificate of the Swedish Consul General relating to the destination and ultimate use of the 25 tons of copper forming the subject of your letter now under acknowledgment, is returned herewith.
I am [etc.]