File No. 300.115/2638

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

No. 1020]

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 975 of the 2d instant,1 in regard to the detention of the Norwegian S. S. Vitalia and her American cargo by the British authorities at Falmouth, I have the honor to inform the Department that I am in receipt of a further communication from Sir Edward Grey dated March 7, in the premises, a copy of which is herewith enclosed.1

In this note a statement is made to the effect that the British Government is satisfied that if shipments are consigned to the Netherlands Oversea Trust, all danger of their reaching the forces of the enemies of Great Britain will be averted, and that they feel assured that conditional contraband which is not so consigned will reach those forces, and that they have evidence to prove this contention. In this connection I desire to point out to the Department that the British Government has taken a very strong stand on this point, and that I have been informed on various occasions in conversation at the Foreign Office that if all consignments of conditional contraband with a destination in the Netherlands, are definitely consigned to the Netherlands Oversea Trust, no objections will be made and no delay will be occasioned by His Majesty’s authorities.

As it would appear that His Majesty’s Government will not change their position in this matter, American shippers, in order to avoid [Page 354] further trouble in shipments of this description, should be advised to comply in the strictest manner with these conditions.

I have [etc.]

For the Ambassador:
Irwin Laughlin
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.