File No. 763.72112/3979

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

No. 4330

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction of June 191 in cipher forwarded in reply to my telegram of the 11th2 respecting the prevention of shipments to concerns located in the countries of Latin America believed to be assisting the enemy. The Department in its instruction states that the question is being treated with the British mission, and that data would be acceptable setting forth the operations of firms of the character under consideration.

I learn from the Controller of Foreign Trade that he has provided the British mission in Washington with duplicates of the reports in the files in London, and he is prepared to supplement those reports with later information as it is received, or to discuss any question of detail arising out of the reports as they stand. In a further private conversation with him he has expressed a very keen hope that the Department will adopt the British point of view, and, in particular, will issue a public announcement to this effect. He is of the impression that a public statement of this character would profoundly discourage the commercial classes in Germany who, he has reason to believe, are much more seriously affected by the breaking up of their foreign connections than is generally supposed to be the case.

With respect to German firms established in the United States, the Controller further expressed the view that sooner or later the [Page 903] American Government would find it necessary to close them up, and to liquidate their outstanding business. As the Department is aware, this course was followed in Great Britain after about two years’ agitation. When the war began announcement was made that German concerns domiciled in Great Britain would not be interfered with as long as they carried on a merely domestic business, but as the months went by these concerns became the targets for a campaign which terminated with their liquidation. Unfortunately the liquidation itself, in individual instances, provoked a good deal of criticism, perhaps inseparable from an undertaking of this character.

I enclose herewith a cutting from Lloyd’s of June 191 which indicates the interest felt in commercial circles in London respecting the American attitude on the black list.

I have [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner
  1. Ante, p. 881.
  2. Ante, p. 878.
  3. Not printed.