File No. 811.54262/155a

The Secretary of State to the Federal Trade Commission

Gentlemen: Because of the fact that the Executive order of October 12, 1917,2 issued in connection with the “Trading with the Enemy Act,” empowers the Federal Trade Commission to grant licenses for the payment of patent taxes and for the filing and prosecution of patent applications in the Central Powers, this Department deems it proper to advise you of its practice, up to the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Germany, of forwarding for American citizens, patent documents and remittances through diplomatic channels to points in the Central Powers.

Upon the entry of the United States into the war this practice was discontinued. As you are probably aware, however, on May 24, 1917, the President issued a proclamation authorizing the transmission to Germany by American citizens of funds for the payment of patent taxes, annuities, fees, etc., on American-owned patents. Subsequent to the issuance of the proclamation in order that patent attorneys in the United States could safely transmit taxes due on foreign patents through the open mail, this Department obtained assurances from the British and French Governments that such remittances would be passed by their censors. The actual forwarding of funds to points in the Central Powers for the protection of [Page 324] American patent rights has, however, been held in abeyance pending the enactment of the “trading with the enemy” legislation.

The foregoing is communicated to you in order that the Commission may be fully informed concerning the activities of this Department in assisting American citizens in the protection of their patent rights in territory occupied by Germany and her allies.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips

Assistant Secretary