File No. 763.72111/4966

The Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk ) to the Commercial Adviser of the British Embassy ( Crawford )

Dear Sir Richard Crawford : I am in receipt of your letter to me of April 30, 1917,1 wherein you state that the British Government [Page 1254] have received an inquiry from the Agent General for Queensland as to whether facilities can be obtained for the discharge from the German ship Elsass, at Pago Pago, of cargo to Queensland consignees at Brisbane, and that the Embassy would be grateful if I would inform it whether such facilities can be given and, generally, what arrangements the Government of the United States propose to make for the recovery of British cargoes on enemy vessels seized by the authorities in this country.

In reply I beg to advise you that legislation with regard to the seizure of enemy vessels found within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States at the outbreak of war, is now pending before Congress. As soon as this becomes a law your inquiry with regard to the arrangements to be made for the recovery of British cargoes on these enemy vessels will be submitted to the proper officials, and upon receipt of their reply, you will be further informed in the matter. In the meantime I would like to be informed what arrangements were made by His Majesty’s Government for the disposition of neutral or Allied cargoes on board enemy vessels similarly seized in British ports.

Yours very sincerely,

Frank L. Polk
  1. Not printed.