File No. 341.115Am319/58

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


2517. Department is advised that British authorities have now seized for prize proceedings, on the ground of German interests, two of the ten vessels recently purchased by the Transatlantic Trading Company, an American corporation whose stock, the Department is informed, is owned entirely by American citizens to the exclusion of foreign interests, direct or indirect. As the seizure of these two vessels (the Hocking and the Genesee) is, in the view of the Department, sufficient to test the presence of enemy interests in the whole ten, which are believed to be on an identical basis, and in view of the shortage of transportation facilities for carrying the sea-borne commerce of the United States, the Department hopes that the other vessels will not be molested by British authorities unless the prize proceedings indicate sufficient ground therefor. Please bring the foregoing to the attention of the British Government informally and unofficially, and with full reservation of all American rights concerning the vessels thus far seized.

Please impress upon the Foreign Office that the Department and the commercial interests of this country would be greatly concerned if the British Government seized the remainder of these vessels, and thereby seemed unnecessarily to hamper the exportation of the cargoes which are now congesting American ports.