File No. 841.731/266

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

[Telegram]

1495. Your 771 and 773, December 16.1 Sir Edward Grey informs me that of these five cable messages which were supposed to have been stopped by the British censors, four were not stopped by them but were passed. The message that was stopped was of November 24 from the Kehlor Flour Mills Company of St. Louis to Bauman Company, Berne, Switzerland. This was stopped because the text of it showed it to be a repetition of a telegram of the day before sent by French cable. The British censor considered that if the French censor had stozpped the original it would not be wise to pass the duplicate whereas if the French censor had not stopped the original the sender would receive his reply.

Stoppage of cables has been somewhat, though not greatly, mitigated and I have little hope of further improvement for following reason: Practically all that are now stopped are stopped to prevent trading with the enemy. They are stopped not because of suspected ciphers but because they are about commercial transactions with Germans. The British own or control all cables from Great Britain to the Continent and they claim the right to cut them if they so choose or to deny their use in any way that would help the enemy. They forbid these cables to further enemy’s trade on the same principle that they forbid the use of their ships. It is a war measure. Telegraphing to Germany or to neutral countries which promotes trade with Germany must therefore be done by some other than British cables if there, be any other.

American Ambassador
  1. Not printed.