File No. 763.72112/1168

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

No. 1371]

Sir: Adverting to my despatch No. 1312 of April 30,1 in which I enclosed to the Department a copy of a memorandum dated April 26 which I left with Sir Edward Grey on the 28th ultimo, in relation to the detention of American ships and cargoes by the British authorities, I now have the honor to transmit herewith for the information of the Department a copy of a note under date of May 10, [Page 413] which I have received from Sir Edward Grey in reply to the above-mentioned memorandum.

I have [etc.]

Walter Hines Page

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Grey ) to the American Ambassador ( Page )

No. 51431/15]

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs presents his compliments to the United States Ambassador, and, with reference to his excellency’s memorandum of April 28 relative to the detention of American ships and cargoes by the authorities of His Majesty’s Government has the honour to express his sincere regret, if, in the pressure of work arising out of the numerable cases of this nature which have occurred of late, the Foreign Office may not, in all cases, have been as prompt as might have been desired in notifying his excellency of the detention of ships and cargoes or part cargoes, arriving from the United States, and more particularly of the five cases cited in the memorandum now under reply.

Measures are being taken which, it is hoped, will secure that in future, complete and timely notice shall be given to the United States Embassy, of all such cases as they arise.

His excellency’s enquiry concerning the consignment of alundum on board the steamer America has already been answered in a communication from this Department dated the 4th instant. With regard to the case of the three vessels Marie, Livonia and Dicido mentioned in the third paragraph of his excellency’s memorandum, Sir E. Grey has the honour to submit the following observations.

The Swedish steamer Marie, bound for Malmö from Galveston, arrived at Kirkwall on or about the 8th of April. She carried a cargo of 1,355 tons of cotton shipped by Messrs. L. Wolff and Company for three consignees in Sweden. This cotton was originally intended for Germany, but the shippers subsequently decided to sell the cargo to Swedish buyers. His Majesty’s Government have decided to acquire the whole of the cotton at the contract price, under the terms of the cotton arrangement, and steps are being taken for the conclusion of the purchase. The vessel is now at Greenock to discharge her cargo.

The steamer Livonia with 5,140 tons of cotton from Galveston for Aalborg and Copenhagen, and the Swedish steamer Dicido with a cargo of cotton from Galveston for Gothenburg, arrived at Falmouth and at Kirkwall respectively on April 14. The cargoes of cotton on these vessels were shipped by Messrs. L. Wolff and Company, and His Majesty’s Government have after due consideration decided, as in the case of the steamer Marie, to acquire the cotton on both vessels at the contract price, in accordance with the terms of the cotton arrangement, and both vessels have been directed to suitable ports for the discharge of their cargoes.

As regards the steamer A. A. Raven, the cargo consisted almost entirely of contraband articles consigned to firms in Holland. It was intimated to the interested parties on March 1 that these goods must be consigned to the Netherlands Oversea Trust, but as no steps appeared to have been taken to obtain reconsignment by March 30, it was decided to place the goods in the prize court. As, however, a telegram was subsequently received stating that the Netherlands Oversea Trust had accepted consignment of the greater part of the cargo, the vessel was permitted to proceed with her cargo on March 31.

  1. Ante, p. 389.