File No. No. 763.72112/4040

The Secretary of State to the Safe Deposit and Trust Co. of Baltimore ( Arthur C. Gibson, Assistant Secretary)

Sir: The Department has received your letter of July 16, 1917,1 in which you state that your company is the trustee, under the will of the late John King, of Baltimore; that one of his daughters, who [Page 422] is the recipient of a share of the income under the will, is the wife of Baron de Giskra, who is in the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service and until recently was connected with the Austrian mission at The Hague; that your present information is to the effect that the Baroness de Giskra is in Switzerland; and that you wish to be advised whether, under the existing state of affairs, a payment of the income to her, provided she is in Switzerland, would be permissible.

The Department regrets that it is unable to advise you as to the transactions described, owing to legislation now pending in Congress (H.R. 4960), having for its object the prevention, except under special license, of all commercial intercourse directly or indirectly by persons in the United States with persons in Germany, or an ally of Germany, or upon proclamation of the President, with persons of the nationality of any country with which the United States is at war, or an ally of such a country, wherever residing or doing business.

With respect to the general question of intercourse with the enemy, the Department may refer you to Moore’s International Law Digest, volume 7, page 237. Reference may be made also to page 424 of the same volume. The publication referred to will doubtless be found available in any large public library.

The Department is not in a position to grant you authority to take action which would have the effect of contravening the provisions of the bill referred to, if enacted into law.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Alvey A. Adee

Second Assistant Secretary
  1. Not printed.