File No. 763.72112/1574

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

No. 664]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a letter on the subject—demand upon claimants to refrain from asking for compensation—which I am to-day addressing to the procurator general.

I have [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner

The American Consul General ( Skinner ) to the British Procurator General ( Mellor )


Indemnity Forms—S. S. “Sydland”—S. F. Bowser & Company

I have received and read with attention your letter of August 12 stating that the terms upon which goods are released must depend upon the particular set of facts applicable, and that in some cases an indemnity is asked for, and in others not. In the case under consideration you were asking for the execution of the following form:

We the undersigned, receivers of 16 boxes, tanks and pumps manufactured by S. F. Bowser and Company, Incorporated, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, U. S. A., and shipped by S. S. Sydland from New York, declare hereby ourselves willing to pay the expenses for the detention of the mentioned goods in England provided the goods are delivered in good order and condition to Messrs. S. F. Bowser and Company, Victoria Street, London, or to their agents for further delivery to the original consignees at Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden.

We further declare that, if the goods are released and delivered as above mentioned, we will not make any claims for compensation for the time lost by seizure of the goods.

Stockholm, July the 26th, 1915.

While you were good enough to withdraw the above form in this instance, I assume from your letter that you are applying it in other cases, and if that be so, I must respectfully protest and further state that as far as American claimants are concerned we shall not deem ourselves bound by any indemnities of this character.

On reflection you will readily admit, I feel sure, that should claims for compensation be submitted at some future time, in consequence of arrangements between our two Governments, your own Government would certainly have an opportunity to defend its action and the imposition of various charges and fees with which you are familiar. If a particular claim then submitted should be found to be unjustified, the indemnity we are discussing could not improve your situation, and if, on the other hand, the contrary should prove true, surely the British Government would not submit a waiver obtained from the claimants in return for the restoration of their own property, as an estoppel to the payment of an amount held to be rightfully due.

I am [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner