File No. 763.72112/691

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

No. 516]

Sir: The Department encloses for your information a copy of a letter addressed to it by Senators D. U. Fletcher, N. P. Bryan, Hoke Smith, Thomas W. Hardwick, J. H. Bankhead, Frank S. White, Lee S. Overman, J. R. Thornton, John Sharp Williams, Morris Sheppard, James K. Vardaman, Joseph E. Ransdell, F. M. Simmons, C. A. Culberson, and B. R. Tillman, wherein, on behalf of the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, they urge that steps be taken to the end that rosin and turpentine be removed from the British contraband list.1

You are directed to lay the matter appropriately before the British Foreign Office with a view to having, if possible, the British Government amend its list of contraband by omitting rosin there-from. This matter has been under careful consideration since notification of the action of the British Government in placing rosin on the list of contraband, and the Department is now convinced that the amount of rosin which may or will be used by Germany and Austria in the preparation of explosives or munitions of war is not of particular consequence, as the present known quantities of rosin in those countries would afford them a supply for that use for an indefinite period. Attention is directed to the statement made in the enclosure that rosin is not now used by American manufacturers of munitions of war, other articles being substituted for it. While to it is not intended to challenge the statement made by the British Government that a certain amount of rosin is used in the preparation of explosives to render them impervious to dampness, it is submitted that the amount of rosin which will be used for this purpose is comparatively small and that to prevent exports of rosin to those countries [Page 201] will only affect, in any substantial way, the trade of this country in the article for commercial uses.

The placing of rosin on the list of contraband has also affected its export to neutral countries, ship lines declining to accept shipments of it to the neutral countries of Europe so long as it remains on the list of contraband. It is not doubted that the British Government will give the matter very careful consideration and it is hoped that that Government will conclude that exports of rosin from this country to the territories of their enemies will not materially affect the issues of war, and will see their way clear to restore it to its former position as non-contraband.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Robert Lansing
  1. Not printed. A similar letter was received signed by twelve Representatives.