File No. 763.72112/2398

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


3163. This Government is surprised to be notified in your telegram No. 4088 of April 4 of a British order in council dated March 30 relating among other things to matters which were treated at some length by this Government in its note of October 21 last,1 to which, after several requests for an answer no reply from the British Government has been received. The action of the British Government in thus treating with indifference the contentions of the United States by the issuance of an additional order in council making still more rigorous the practice under those to which the United States is objecting, can not be regarded here otherwise than as an act which appears to be intentionally discourteous. Please bring this to the attention of the British Government and formally request an early reply to our note of October 21. As to the merits of the order in council of March 30, while this Government has under consideration a detailed reply, you may state in a preliminary formal reply to the British Government, reserving all rights for further reply, that the evident intention of that Government to make the order in council retroactive must be regarded by this Government as entirely opposed to the fundamental principles of international justice for which Great Britain and the United States have stood in the past, and that this Government therefore contests the validity of such an arbitrary method of endeavoring to clothe with the semblance of wrong, acts which theretofore have been committed on the justifiable reliance that they were regarded as legal and unobjectionable by the British Government.