The Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin ) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 16—1:45 a.m.]
3756. War Trade Board. For McCormick [from Sheldon]: Number 1882. With reference to the question of the continuation of Allied control of shipping, raw materials and generally the movement of commodities between Allies and Neutrals and among the Neutrals themselves which has been administered by the Blockade Authorities, I suggest you see Ship Mission cable from Tower to Gay, number 799, November 13th [15th].4 I strongly urge that a decision be arrived at by our Government at the earliest possible moment as unless this is done I fear we shall all drift into a condition of affairs which will make joint action more difficult should this be advisable. Conditions are changing rapidly and unless a policy be decided without delay, individual countries may start individualistic policies which once in motion would be difficult to arrest. I think even before the arrival of Hoover and Hurley that it would be useful if some intimation could be given the heads of missions on this side of the probable policy our Government will adopt even if at the present time it is not possible to make a positive declaration. I have found an almost universal consensus of opinion among Americans in charge of government work here that, as all the governments have had in their hands control of raw materials, shipping and trade for war purposes, the Governments [Page 733]should keep in their hands existing control at least long enough to direct the change away from war purposes into the channels for peace purposes.
- Not printed. Walter S. Tower was trade expert for the Shipping Board.↩