File No. 763.72112/3857

The Secretary of State to Cook’s Linoleum Co.

Gentlemen: The Department has received your letter of June 21, 1917,1 relative to the difficulty experienced by you in obtaining 200 tons of wood-flour from Svenska Trämjölfabriken, of Gothenburg, Sweden, because of the fact that this concern is on a British list of firms with whom it is undesirable for British subjects to have business, relations. You ask that a special permit be issued enabling you to receive the goods in question.

The Department has noted the information contained in your letter concerning the matter and informs you that there is now pending before Congress a measure having for its object the prevention of trade directly or indirectly for, with, on behalf of, or on account of any person residing in Germany or residing in a neutral country and doing business with Germany.

As bearing on the general question of intercourse with the enemy the Department may refer you to Moore’s International Law Digests, Vol. VII, page 237; reference may be made also to page 424 of the same volume.

The Department may call your particular attention to the following cases: Montgomery v. United States, 15 Wall. 395; Scholefield v. Eichelberger, 7 Pet. 586; Kershaw v. Kelsey, 100 Mass. 561.

The rules enunciated by the courts in the above-cited cases would appear to be applicable, until such time as they might be altered by [Page 907] statutory enactments, to the relations between Americans and firms in neutral countries having German connections.

Moore’s International Law Digest may be consulted in any large public library.

As this Government has up to the present time placed no restrictions upon transactions of this character, it does not issue permits therefor.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
Assistant Secretary of State
  1. Not printed.