File No. 341.115St2/193
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 21, 8.15 a. m.]
3058. Your 2241, 8th, re Petrolite.1 I am in receipt of note from Foreign Office which refers me to Sir E. Grey’s note of February 10 on subject of detention of American cargoes cabled to Department in my 1627, February 11, and states that if innocent neutral trade is to be distinguished from enemy, it is essential that British Government should be entitled to make, and should make careful inquiry with regard to the destination of particular shipments of goods, even at the risk of some delay to the parties interested. Nine months further experience has only rendered it more and more evident that to rely exclusively on evidence found on board of vessels carrying contraband [Page 578] to neutral ports would render the acknowledged belligerent right of search and examination entirely nugatory, and that it is absolutely necessary to check and control the evidence so found in the light of information obtained from other sources.