File No. 763.72112/602
The British Ambassador ( Spring Rice ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 11.]
Dear Mr. Secretary: Referring to my letter of the 6th instant, I have the honour to inform you that Sir Edward Grey has telegraphed to me in reply to your enquiry about rosin in cotton ships.
Sir Edward Grey tells me that the only cotton ship held up was the steamship Denver and that she was immediately released after only such delay as was required to refer to London for necessary instructions. He adds that several not very large shipments of rosin have been allowed to pass without interference. But the military [Page 200] authorities for reasons which are cogent consider it essential that rosin and turpentine should not be allowed to reach the enemy and greatly to their regret the British Government has been obliged to declare these substances contraband in conformity with the accepted rule that a belligerent may lawfully prevent an enemy from supplying himself with articles necessary to the manufacture of war materials. I need not point out that it is an accepted rule that, as long as compensation is paid, such articles may be seized even in cases where the shippers were ignorant at the time of shipment that the articles had been placed on the list of contraband.
As you are doubtless aware, the attention of the Netherlands and the Italian Governments has been drawn to this question with a view to rosin and turpentine being placed on their embargo list so that they may be imported into those countries without objection or hindrance, if consigned as directed by the municipal regulations.
I am [etc.]