File No. 763.72112/1446

The Consul General at London (Skinner) to the Secretary of State

No. 629]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s cabled instruction of July 22,1 requesting me to supply the approximate number of bales of American cotton seized by Great Britain since the going into effect of the order in council of March 11, 1915, and also the number of bales for which full payment has been made.

I replied to this telegram on July 27,2 stating that between the going into effect of the order in council of March 11 and May 19, 28 ships, wholly or partly laden with cotton, had been seized in this country, the total seizure amounting to 204,633 bales. Of this total number 8,891 were released and the remainder is being purchased under the terms of the so-called cotton agreement. In all cases where ownership is shown, an advance of 10 cents a pound will be made, or has been made, without the slightest difficulty, final settlement to be effected upon ascertainment of weights and qualities. In some cases, and probably in very few, settlement has been refused on the ground that the consignments have passed to German ownership, and in such cases the goods are being sent to the prize court.

The names of the ships, the cargoes of which have been seized and are being dealt with as explained above are:

Artemis Fotis Panaghi Vaglianos
Atlantic Hammershus Rolf
Anglia Kina Southerner
Baltic Lejre Spyros Vallianos
Belize Livonia Helge
Bia Magdalene Neches
Carolyn Marie Nordic
Carolina Maud Lonsa
Dicido Navajo
Dronning Olga Olaf Kyree

Some few ships partly laden with cotton have been brought in since May 19, but the number of bales involved is not very great.

I have already telegraphed to the Department that the British Government has come to some agreement with the Swedish Cotton Spinners Association whereby American cotton in proportion to the actual needs of the association may be forwarded from this country.

While much is said in regard to British interference with the American cotton trade, and while no doubt, legally speaking, this interference is indefensible, on the other hand, it may be said for this country that if with the one hand she is preventing cotton shipments and has actually detained something under 300,000 bales in transit, with the other she has purchased enormously increased quantities for her own use, thus compensating for the damage wrought. British cotton statistics are published regularly under the act of 1868 and they show that during twenty-eight weeks ending [Page 503] July 15 of the following years, the importations and reexportations from this country were as stated:

Year Importations (bales) Reexportations (bales)
Total From U.S.A. Total From U.S.A.
1915 3,772,258 3,118,387 410,053 201,334
1914 2,599,645 1,844,628 257,386 103,114
1913 2,237,479 1,753,116 298,148 137,343

From the foregoing it will be perceived that if as a consequence of the war Great Britain has closed the German market for American cotton, she has increased her own demands during the first half of the present year by 1,273,759 bales, which is only 400,000 bales under her total importations during the same period of 1913.

It cannot be said, therefore, that the war has been disadvantageous to American cotton interests since by the fact of its existence it has caused an enormously increased consumption of cotton for the manufacture of explosives, whereas up to the beginning of the war, the cotton manufacturing business had been dull and the general demand, at least as far as Great Britain was concerned, far below normal.

I have [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner
  1. Ante, p. 484.
  2. Ante, p. 487.