File No. No. 763.72112/5610a

The Secretary of State to the Diplomatic and Consular Officers

No. 554

Gentlemen: The Department encloses for your information, and invites your especial attention to, an act of Congress approved October 6, 1917, entitled “An Act to Define, Regulate and Punish Trading with the Enemy, and for Other Purposes;”1 and an Executive order issued by the President on October 12, 1917, under the provisions of this act.2

In view of the fact that the administration of the act has by the Executive order mentioned been delegated to several boards and departments who are responsible for the practical application and interpretation of the act, and in view also of the serious consequences which may possibly result from ill-advised or conflicting interpretations of the act, the Department deems it advisable to caution you as to undertaking to interpret the provisions of this law and Executive order for those who may apply to you for information regarding them. In any particular case requiring the construction of the act, you will, if the importance of the case seems to warrant it, obtain the instructions of the Department before committing either yourselves or this Government in the matter.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing