File No. 763.72112/5464

The Consul General at London ( Skinner) to the Secretary of State

No. 4955

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram of October 19, 1917,3 stating that the British black-listing authorities are extremely desirous [Page 984] of learning what corresponding plan the American Department propose to put into effect in order to acquaint the business public with the names of firms on the enemy list from the point of view of the law which has just gone into effect in the United States on this subject.

The British officials understand that the President has power under existing legislation to proclaim individuals and firms to be enemy firms wherever they may be, and they are hopeful that such lists will be announced very shortly, or, alternatively, that “white lists” may be announced composed of firms with whom trading is permissible.

The Department will recall that in the case of China and Siam, the British Government adopted the course of indicating in a “white list” the individuals and firms with whom trading was entirely permissible, and this system appears to work very well. It has the great advantage that it stimulates reliable concerns to put themselves unreservedly in the hands of the authorities as a means of getting on to the list.

The British officials who discussed the matter with me some days ago, are especially anxious that South America may be dealt with on identical lines in Great Britain and the United States. Naturally I could only state that I would draw the Department’s attention to the whole question, which I accordingly do.

I have [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner
  1. Not printed.