File No. 763.72112/1393

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

[Telegram]

1917. Your 2538, July 27, and 2463, July 15.1 On Monday, in a conversation with the British Ambassador on the subject of cotton, I told him that for his Government to put cotton on the contraband list was a confession that their alleged blockade was ineffective; that if it was effective and their theory of blockade was correct, it was needless to declare cotton contraband, since all articles, regardless of their character, would be prevented from entering or leaving Germany. I added that if cotton was made contraband, we would have to assume that the British theory of blockade, so far as neutral ports were concerned, had been abandoned, and we would proceed on that assumption, which would create a very difficult situation. I pointed out to him the resentment which would be aroused in this country by the proposed action, and by the feeling that Great Britain had broken her promise, and that his Government could not hold us responsible for the consequences.

Lansing
  1. No. 2463 printed ante, p. 192.