File No. 341.115St2/183

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


2241. Standard Oil Company complains to Department regarding detention steamer Petrolite which carried cargo illuminating oil and which has been detained at Kirkwall since September 29. Company represents that its steamers, after proceeding voluntarily to that port for examination, have repeatedly been detained without proper cause, and that on account of the shortage of ocean tonnage and for other reasons, such damages as might be paid to the company for such improper detentions cannot properly compensate it. The Department has observed from your telegram of October 2, 1915,1 that the British Government informs you that the vessel is held pending inquiries regarding ultimate destination of certain items of her cargo. This cargo is subject to seizure only if a proper examination of the vessel has disclosed proper evidence indicating that the cargo was shipped to an enemy destination, and this Government does not admit the right of the British authorities to seize cargoes for the purpose of making inquiries with view to disclosing such evidence. Bring matter to attention Foreign Office in sense of foregoing and request prompt release of vessel unless British authorities have evidence indicating illegal destination of cargo.

  1. Not printed.