File No. 763.72112/1389

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


2432. I have investigated the accusation that the British Government, after stopping American cotton, gives licenses to British traders to export the same cotton at a profit to neutral states; and I have found no case in which this has been done. The cotton trade permits of transactions which appear to confirm this suspicion, but on investigation the suspicion disappears. For example, there is a certain trade in cotton in normal times between England and the Scandinavian [Page 487] states, and something of that trade is now permitted under rigid regulation. But this trade is in cotton bought by English merchants in the regular way, and has nothing to do with cotton stopped by the British Navy. Again, limited amounts of stopped cotton destined for Sweden have been allowed to go on—after having been bought here by the British Government—on proper guarantees by Swedish mills. But no case can be found where any profit has been charged on these shipments. Neither the British Government nor British merchants make a farthing by these limited transactions. I am forced to the conclusion that the British Government is acting with scrupulous fairness in this matter.

American Ambassador