File No. 341.115R221/4

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


1681. Your 2202, May 31,2 stating that Foreign Office is at loss to understand what injury can be inflicted on American shippers since in all cases where shipments of cotton are covered by terms of cotton arrangement they are, when detained, purchased by British Government at contract price. The British order in council of March 11, together with the so-called cotton arrangement, as applied in practice, intercepts trade in American cotton with neutrals as well as with belligerents. This Government cannot but regard the detention of cargoes of non-contraband goods as without legal justification, the natural effect and proximate result of which is upsetting of American commerce, depression of the cotton industry, and loss to owners and exporters. Goods, the trade in which is perfectly legal, are by this course denied access to regular legitimate markets, with the result that exporters are perplexed and the cotton trade deranged. The proposal of Great Britain to take and pay for shipments [Page 435] at contract price of sale will not cover the losses sustained by American shippers through the course of the British authorities, for many exporters already have notice from neutral purchasers and consignees that, unless delivery be made, exporters must replace cotton to fill contract, or else account to the purchaser at the market price of cotton at the place and time of delivery as contracted.

These views you will present appropriately to the Foreign Office by note.

  1. Ante, p. 421.