File No. 341.115P51/62

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

No. 2299]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith for the information of the Department a copy of a communication1 addressed to the Embassy by Mr. Arthur Garfield Hays, the representative of Messrs. Phelps Brothers of New York, on September 7, in reference to the proceedings involved in the case of the S. S. Joseph W. Fordney , together with a copy of a note dated October 6 which has been received from the Foreign Office in regard thereto.

I have [etc.]

Walter Hines Page

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Grey) to the American Ambassador (Page)

No. 139116/15]

Your Excellency: I did not fail to refer to His Majesty’s Procurator General the note and enclosure which you were good enough to address to me on the 17th ultimo in regard to the proceedings involved in the case of the S. Joseph W. Fordney , and I now have the honour to inform your excellency that the Procurator General, having carefully investigated the circumstances in [Page 602] which the cargo of this vessel was shipped, and having given full weight to the evidence available, came to the conclusion that the proper course was to apply for an order for the condemnation of the cargo.

With regard to the misunderstanding which appears to have arisen between Mr. Hays and the Procurator General in connection with this case, I have the honour to say that it was originally proposed to deal with the cargo under the order in council of March 11, because the evidence only showed that the goods were intended for Germany, but as His Majesty’s Government now have reason to believe that they were for the enemy Government or its armed forces, proceedings for condemnation are being taken on that ground.

Your excellency will remember that, as long ago as December last, when it was originally arranged that your excellency should be informed of cases of the detention of ships carrying cargoes shipped from the United States with an indication of the grounds of detention, it was expressly emphasized at the time that this undertaking would not be understood as debarring His Majesty’s Government from raising additional grounds for proceeding against a cargo or ship in the prize court if they subsequently came to light, and your excellency was good enough to accept this view.

I have [etc.]

[File copy not signed]
  1. Not printed.