File No. 763.72112/1376

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury ( McAdoo )

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of July 19, 1915,1 in which, on behalf of the Bureau of War Risk Insurance, inquiry is made whether this Department intends to make claim against the British Government for losses and expenses sustained on account of the seizure and detention in British ports of various American steamers and their cargoes.

In cases in which claims have been presented to the Department against the British Government on account of the interference by British naval authorities with American vessels and cargoes, the Department will, as a matter of course, press such claims against the Government of Great Britain whenever it appears that, in the opinion of this Government, the action of the British authorities has been at variance with the principles of international law.

Sometime ago the American Ambassador at London, acting under instructions from the Department, presented to the British Government a claim based upon the detention of a neutral vessel which had been chartered by an American corporation and which was carrying an American cargo. To the representations made by the Ambassador regarding this claim the British Foreign Office replied that all claims arising from the detention of neutral vessels for examination should be made in the prize court and that it was accordingly open to the claimant in this case to put forward a claim in this manner.

The Department is now giving consideration to the question as to the steps to be taken in the future to obtain compensation for the improper detention of American vessels and cargoes.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Cone Johnson
  1. Ante, p. 477.