File No. 763.72112/1355

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

[Telegram]

2491. Your 1860, July 16, 5 p. m.1 I have had a long unofficial conversation with Sir Edward Grey in which I fully explained thoroughly the whole political dangers that have arisen and may arise about interference with the cotton trade.

He is having conferences to-day and to-morrow about cotton, and the Cabinet will take up the subject on Wednesday. They will probably offer to the cotton interests to buy enough of the new crop to keep the price up to a reasonable figure.

About the more comprehensive subject of the so-called blockade, he informed me unofficially that if the British Government permitted unrestricted American trade with European neutral states they had might as well cease to stop anything at all, and that they would have to give up all efforts at economic pressure on Germany and indefinitely prolong the war; and he implied that such a course might even put the ultimate issue in doubt.

[Page 479]

I suggested that perhaps a clearer understanding might be reached if he would quickly give a frank and full answer to our last general note. He seemed to accept that suggestion and promised to bring the subject before Wednesday’s Cabinet.

The seriousness of the situation is appreciated by Sir Edward. He assured me that no important decisions are left to departmental officers but are all made by the Cabinet.

American Ambassador
  1. Ante, p. 473.