File No. 763.72112/1627

Stanley Jordan and Company to the Secretary of State

Dear Sir: The enclosed clipping is from the New York Times of this morning, and purports to be a summary of a report by our Consul General in London.

[Page 554]

We have suffered, as have all import and export merchants, through the burdens of restrictions of Great Britain on our trade with neutral countries. The foreign trade advisers have helped us as best they could, and we have, succeeded through their good offices in getting forward certain parcels of merchandise, of which the title was already vested in us, of German and Austrian origin stored in Rotterdam. We feel however, that the condition as given in Mr. Skinner’s report, is a very different one than that which would arise from a blockade, even if the latter were legally extended to prevent the export or import of merchandise from or to Germany and Austria through neutral ports. When it seems to be an absolute fact that British merchants are trading with neutral countries, and almost certainly indirectly with their enemies, it is an unmitigated outrage that American merchants should be interfered with in their proper and legitimate business dealings. We have sympathized with the difficulties before our State Department, and the diplomatic problems which have been met and solved have been so treated that the admiration of every thinking American must have been excited, and a proper pride taken in the fact that American diplomacy has taken such a high position in the world to-day. But it does really now seem as if our patience with British interference might give way to a more forceful and insistent attitude.

Our export business to the countries contiguous to Germany has been now reduced to a spasmodic trade, which is so surrounded by restrictions that we feel, in our legitimate efforts to obtain business, as if we were smugglers engaged in some illicit traffic.

In conclusion, may we remind you that through the foreign trade advisers we submitted documentary evidence which showed conclusively that a permit had been issued by the British Government to a firm in London for the import of certain goods which we were not permitted to ship at that time from Rotterdam, and that the goods in question were actually imported by the London firm in this market, with the words “American property” endorsed upon the face of the bill of lading and entered here under a consular invoice, which was distinctly not in accordance with the facts in the transaction. The facts in this matter were impressed rather forcibly upon us because the goods in question belonged to us, were imported under our original shipping marks and numbers, and the difference in value between the price at which we contracted to buy them and that of the market at time of arrival here, was about $12,000.

We hope to hear from you in regard to this matter of such vital importance to our entire export trade, and remain,

Very respectfully yours,

Stanley Jordan and Company

Article from the “New York Times” of September 21, 1915

Washington, September 20. Strange things of perhaps international significance are happening in the cocoa trade, according to a special report received at the State Department from Consul General Robert P. Skinner at London.1 The United States has heretofore enjoyed a large trade in this staple in [Page 555] northern Europe. New York City alone usually takes the raw cocoa crop of Santo Domingo and markets it in Europe.

This year it seems that Great Britain is doing this on its own account, and the American trade has disappeared. Mr. Skinner quotes the statistics of Great Britain’s cocoa trade with the Baltic countries to show that where England a year ago had no trade at all in this line, that country now has practically a monopoly....

Mr. Skinner says, where exportation from this country to the smaller neutral countries of northern Europe is attended with difficulty and hazard, all similar goods are going forward from England without trouble. In cocoa, for example, England shipped into these countries, he says, during July, 7,039,067 pounds without any difficulty, whereas in the same month of 1914 her entire export of cocoa was only 1,283,585 pounds.

In tobacco England is doing an enormous business, according to Mr. Skinner. The exports in July were 6,664,880 pounds,1 as compared with 351,809 pounds in the same month of 1914....

  1. Printed in Commerce Reports (pub. by Department of Commerce), August 30, 1915, No. 203, v. 3, p. 1055.
  2. Should read 6,064,809 pounds.