File No. 763.72112/567½
The Consul General at London (Skinner) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 12.]
Sir: Referring to the Department’s cabled instruction of September 222 stating that it did not consider the British Government to be entitled to collect freight on cargo on diverted, detained, or seized vessels sailing before the war, and subsequent correspondence dealing with the same point, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a note received from the Foreign Office, through the Ambassador, in reply to my representations. I shall be greatly interested in the Department’s opinion respecting the contents of this note.
The Foreign Office states that payment of freight will be required in all cases in which the cargo released “would have been condemned either to confiscation or to detention if it had been taken into the prize court, but in which the neutral shipper asks for its release to him.”
I do not quite perceive how the authorities are able to determine in advance that a given consignment would have been condemned had the matter gone to the prize court, and in any case, I do not understand how the Foreign Office can waive to one side the Department’s reiterated contention that goods that cleared before the war are not subject to condemnation from any point of view.
I have [etc.]