File No. 851.711/246

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State

No. 5477

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 1572 of the 7th of last March directing me to obtain from the Foreign Office replies in detail to certain inquiries which have been addressed to the Postmaster General, relative to the arrangements made by the French authorities with regard to detained mail matter.

Representations were made at the Foreign Office, to which a reply has been received, enclosed in copy and translation,1 stating that such correspondence has been preserved, and that care has been taken in order that eventually it may be forwarded to its destination. With regard to letters seized on the sea, a distinction is made between those containing contraband of war and those which are considered dangerous to the interests of national defense. The first of these categories is immediately referred to the prize council, which does not have to await the end of the war in order to render its decision; and the second category is kept apart until a definite decision can be taken with regard to it.

The Foreign Office adds, however, that the right of detaining such correspondence is in accordance with belligerent rights, as defined in exchanges of views between the American and French Governments.

I have [etc.]

For the Ambassador:
Robert Woods Bliss
  1. Not printed.