File No. 195.1/271
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11 p. m.]
1473. Your 956, January 14. I read your instruction to Lord Haldane who is in charge of Foreign Office during temporary absence of Sir Edward Grey and discussed every phase of the Subject.[Page 680]
He informed me that the Cabinet had already discussed it and reached a definite conclusion as follows: The Government has no wish to obstruct the cotton trade and is aware of its importance to the producers and to United States. If, therefore, the Dacia comes loaded with cotton, whether bound for Rotterdam or for Bremen, British Government would see to it that the owners of the cotton should lose nothing. The Government will buy it paying the price which had been arranged by contract with the German buyers.
But under international law and usage, His Majesty’s Government felt bound to refer to the public refusals by the purchase and the dispatch of this ship on such an errand. The ship, therefore, will be put into the prize court if she comes.
Lord Haldane said further that if the Dacia were used, under bona-fide American register, in coastwise trade or in trade with South America, his Government would not object. I asked him if this remark would apply to other German ships now interned in the United States and he replied yes.