Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United
States, 1915, Supplement, The World War
File No. 763.72112/690a
The Secretary of State
to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)
Washington, January 4, 1915.
877. Following notice to exporters will be issued by Treasury
The attention of exporters is respectfully called to the
importance of having foreign shipping manifests complete and
accurate, in order to avoid delay incident to search while in
Cases have occurred where manifests have been incomplete or
inaccurate, and where it is claimed efforts have been made to
conceal the nature of the goods carried. Even a few cases of
this kind may throw suspicion upon other American commerce, and,
through delay, work injury to our foreign trade. While a
shipowner who knowingly becomes a party to such a transaction
may be liable to such of his patrons as may unjustly suffer
thereby, still this is not a sufficient protection since it does
not safeguard other shippers who suffer inconvenience because of
occasional derelictions of those who inaccurately describe or
conceal the character of their shipments.
The Government is making every practicable effort to secure the
uninterrupted flow of American commerce and to reduce to a
minimum such delays as may be unavoidable in time of war. It
looks with confidence for cooperation from the American business
public to prevent such action on the part of shippers as adds
unnecessarily to the difficulties of business at this time.
Whenever shippers desire such aid in carrying on their foreign
business, the Treasury Department will furnish, upon application
to the customs collector at any port, an officer to supervise
the loading of cargo and to certify to the completeness and
accuracy of the manifest.
As a further precaution it is suggested that shippers accompany
ship’s manifest with an affidavit stating that the articles
shipped are correctly shown by the manifest, and that the
packages contain nothing except that which is shown thereon.