File No. 300.115/2540

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page )

[Telegram]

1281. Governor General, Philippine Islands, has telegraphed Secretary of War as follows:

Complaints made by chambers of commerce and merchants in Manila that goods of German or Austrian origin consigned to them in Dutch or Danish vessels and unloaded for transshipment at Singapore are being held by the authorities there unless proof be furnished showing goods were manufactured [Page 345] in neutral countries or were property of a neutral firm before war was declared. In either event consignees must produce invoices for verification by local British consuls and then forward same to Singapore. Merchants desire more prompt method of forwarding goods than requirement forwarding invoices Singapore and ruling regarding goods German or Austrian origin purchased by neutral firms in Europe and resold to merchants in the Philippines; also what will be final disposition of goods held by authorities at Singapore if satisfactory proof not produced.

Bring this matter to attention of Foreign Office and say that this Government does not perceive on what grounds British authorities in Singapore justify interference with private property shipped on neutral vessels for ultimate delivery to merchants in the Philippines and would like to receive a statement from the British Government regarding this matter.

Bryan