File No. 300.115/2634
The Consul General at London (Skinner) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 18.]
Sir: Referring to the seizure of certain American meat products forwarded by Messrs. Armour and Company, Swift and Company, Morris and Company, the Cudahy Packing Company, G. H. Hammond Company, and Sulzberger and Sons Company, per ships Alfred Nobel, Björnstjerne Bjornson, Fridland, Kim , and Arkansas , I have the honor to report that after various interviews with the committee of the British Government empowered to deal with questions of this character, the shippers now make a proposition, which, if accepted, will terminate the negotiations. The Department will recall that the consignments under consideration were shipped to neutral countries, and for the most part to order, some days prior to the proclamation of the present British rule whereunder such shipments become presumptively contraband of war. The ships were brought into this country after the rule became effective and were taken into the prize court. The owners contended, and I put forth the claim on their behalf, that the consignments could not be held, as the rule was not published until after the ships had put out to sea. Nevertheless, since the middle of November the matter has been in abeyance, the packers being unwilling to accept in settlement the proceeds of a sale of the goods carried on under the auspices of the Government. I understand that a representative of the Chicago concerns, Mr. Alfred R. Urion, has now submitted the following proposition to the Government, and that in all probability it will be accepted:
That Great Britain promptly pay to the American packers the aforementioned amount, $2,641,899.05(E & OE), c. i. f. Copenhagen prices on cargoes seized taken and held to the prize court.
The American packers, appreciating in a measure the extraordinary conditions with which Great Britain has to deal, reciprocally offer, as to future dealings with European neutral countries during hostilities between belligerent European countries, that they severally will undertake: [Page 346]
- To make no more “to order” shipments to any European neutral country.
- That as to all future shipments to European neutral countries from the several and various packing houses in the United States represented, sworn copies of invoices will be submitted to British consuls at packing points there to be viseed and attached to the through foreign (ship’s) bill of lading.
- That so far as each of them may do so the packers agree to waive the U. S. A. shipping regulation against publication of ship’s manifest for 30 days and consent that in so far as the packers’ products are concerned, ship’s manifest may be at once published.
- The packers represented and each of them voluntarily, in a spirit of reciprocity, upon the acceptance of the proposition that Great Britain promptly pay for cargoes seized at c. i. f. prices named, further agree for the future neither to sell nor to ship to agents or buyers in Scandinavia more than their general average sales in Scandinavia for the whole of the calendar year 1914 plus 50 per cent thereof, on the condition precedent, however, that your committee agree to protect against other competition not similarly restrained.
Due to the alteration in existing conditions caused by the war whereby the Scandinavian countries are now for the first time shut off from purchasing or from receiving through German free ports, to wit, Hamburg, a very large, if not major portion of their trade requirements in packers’ products, these products which have hitherto been procured largely from Hamburg, etc., and sent thence to Scandinavian markets must of necessity henceforth be supplied direct from packing points in the United States; and this has been true since the breaking out of hostilities between European belligerents dating from about August 1, 1914.
And in addition thereto to provide for the increased demand on Scandinavian countries from Russia and Finland for packing-house products hitherto purchased by Russia and Finland from German dealers at German ports.
I have [etc.]