File No. 763.72112/1127

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)


1603. Your 2129, 19th.2 British Foreign Office memorandum was published in press here 20th,3 and in view of statements in paragraph fourth about cotton arrangements, the Department has issued a statement to the effect that conversations in regard to cotton arrangements between British Embassy and Foreign Trade Advisers of Department were carried on with the distinct understanding on both sides that the Foreign Trade Advisers were acting for the American exporters and not for the Department, and that such arrangements had no official standing.

The British Embassy concurs in this understanding and published to-day the following statement:

The terms of the arrangement quoted in the British statement as telegraphed were arrived at in London between a private representative of the American cotton interests in London and British officials in London. The reference to the British Ambassador in paragraph 4 is, therefore, an error.

The arrangement in question formed the subject of conversations between the Ambassador and representatives of the cotton interests in this country. There [Page 191] never was any question of a formal and official understanding between the United States Government and the British Ambassador.

Call these statements to the attention of the Foreign Office and inform them that cotton arrangements made in London between British Government and representatives of American cotton interests have been and must be understood as unofficial and informal, so far as the Government of the United States is concerned.

For your information, the Embassy is authorized to facilitate arrangements which American shippers may wish to make with the British Government, but in doing so the Embassy must make it clear that it is acting informally and unofficially, and such arrangements do not affect the rights of this Government or its objections to the order in council of March 11.

  1. Not printed, as it contains only a summary of the British memorandum. See footnote 3.
  2. Printed post, p. 427. The statement particularly referred to was: “His Majesty’s Government were, moreover, given to understand that the provisions of the arrangement were acceptable to the United States Government.”