E. R. Squibb and Sons to the Secretary of State
Sir: In view of the threatened action of Great Britain to confiscate or at least prevent shipments of goods of German origin from reaching their destination, we appeal to you for protection against any such unlawful interference with our business interests.
We are absolutely dependent upon certain botanical medicinal drugs which grow only in Germany, and of which Germany is the only source of supply. We are also absolutely dependent upon [Page 208] certain medicinal chemicals and drugs manufactured exclusively by Germany, and any interference with the continued supply of these commodities will Work a very serious injury to public health throughout the United States, not to speak of the business interests of American citizens which are bound to suffer.
While the embargo has not been officially confirmed by the Privy Council of Great Britain, it has already had the effect of inducing the Scandinavian and Netherlands steamship lines to issue notices intimating that goods of German origin will not be accepted for shipment, and that in all cases where freight is accepted an affidavit must be attached to the bill of lading showing that the goods are of other than German or Austrian origin.
It would seem to us that while the British Government refrains from promulgating a blockade, its proposed action would be a serious breach of international law, as no belligerent is entitled to enjoy the advantages of a blockade and such has not been regularly proclaimed, nor should neutral shipping be subject to its disadvantages.
We therefore pray that the Secretary of State, who is the natural guardian of the American interests now so seriously endangered, make the proper representations to the Government of Great Britain in order to prevent the threatened action to go into effect.
We are [etc.]