File No. 763.72112/1844
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)
2452. With reference to Department’s instruction 1758, October 12, in regard to tobacco, Department is in receipt of a letter from Senator Martin pointing out the great hardship suffered by tobacco interests because of their inability to make shipments of tobacco to neutral countries without furnishing proof that the tobacco will not ultimately go to Germany. Even if some of this tobacco should reach Germany, it would seem Germany could not receive any military advantage as it would simply mean the withdrawal of that much gold from Germany or other depletion of its resources and could not add to the military or commercial efficiency of Allies enemies. Department does not see any reason why such shipments to Germany could be objected to upon any logical ground. The fact that tobacco from the Dutch East Indies is going through to Netherlands without interference and without being required to be consigned to the Netherlands Oversea Trust and persistent reports to the effect that Greek tobacco is enjoying the same privilege, intensifies the situation. Department unable to see any good reason why American tobacco shipments should be restricted. Large stocks of the crop of 1913 and 1914 still on hand. Crop of 1915 will soon be ready for the market which is now slow and steadily declining. Tobacco is the money crop in large sections of the United States.[Page 206]
Dealers threatened with serious loss and many thousands of farmers with privations. Unofficially and without recognizing British order in council of March 11, 1915, bring this information to attention British Foreign Office, and urge that American tobacco be allowed shipment to neutral port without restriction and without requiring proof that it will not go to Germany. Tobacco interests and numerous Senators and Congressmen greatly concerned over situation.