File No. 763.72112/1055
The Secretary of State to the Consul General at London (Skinner)
Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 406 of April 16, 1915,1 in regard to the attitude of the British Government in the matter of reconsigning American shipments to the Netherlands.[Page 414]
This Government does not object to the consignment of American shipments to the Netherlands Oversea Trust, if shippers voluntarily adopt that plan, but it does object to the detention by the British Government of non-contraband shipments until reconsigned to the Netherlands Oversea Trust. Shipments consigned to other consignees in Holland have the same legal status as those consigned to the Netherlands Oversea Trust. There is no legal justification for the detention of non-contraband shipments, and the burden of proof is on the British Government to establish contraband character, and not on the shipper to establish non-contraband character.
I am [etc.]