File No. 763.72112/2018
The Minister in the Netherlands (Van Dyke) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 19, 11.40 p. m.]
455. Your December 16, 4 p. m. I have investigated and have had an interview with the Foreign Minister. It appears that in the [Page 281] original agreement with Netherlands Oversea Trust the British Government reserved the right to suspend or refuse delivery of any goods suspected of enemy destination even though covered by license and already arrived in the Netherlands. Ships were detained in England for the purpose of careful search for suspected cargo thus causing great delay to innocent cargo. A subsequent agreement subsequent allowed such ships to proceed for delivery of innocent cargo in the Netherlands but Oversea Trust was instructed to suspend delivery of suspicious goods until investigated by British agents here. Goods condemned were to be indefinitely detained by Oversea Trust or shipped back to England for the prize court. Under the circumstances the Foreign Minister does not think it would be profitable to take the matter up formally in London at present though informal inquiries might be made by the American Ambassador. I concur in this opinion.