The Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin ) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 16—1:35 a.m.]
3765. War Trade Board [from Sheldon]: No. 1879. Supplementing Frothingham’s 1854 and 1864 of November 13th.5 Minister of Blockade today discussed with Allied Blockade Committee certain tentative proposals for relaxation of blockade. Will report definitely as soon as proposals are finally drafted and submitted to me for your views.
- Censorship to remain in full force for those not on statutory list. Action taken with respect to stopping or returning letters and cables will be reduced to a minimum censorship. Action for nonstatutory list firms to be supervisory and for information purposes rather than punitive.
- Bona fide neutral firms to be removed from statutory list; firms of enemy status, covers for such firms, banks, and covers for to be shorn of estimated reduction of list by one tenth.6
- Confidential black list to be reduced as much as possible, principal offenders to be retained with object giving temporary advantage to white list firms. Black list restrictions to be withdrawn with respect to: (a) censorship disabilities, stoppage of letters, telegrams, et cetera to be eliminated; (b) financial disabilities to be removed and Allied bankers permitted to undertake such transactions as may arise; (c) facilities for imports from black list firms by traders in Allied countries to be given in full under this plan, only remaining disability attached to black list firms will be that of refusal of export license facilities.
- Additions to both stat list and confidential black list to be remitted [limited?] to extreme cases.
- Maintenance of blockade as such to rest almost entirely on control exercised by licensing of exports from Associated countries. Considered that sufficient blockade protection for present necessities can be maintained by requiring licenses for exports to Northern Neutrals of only such commodities as may appear on: (a) list of commodities [Page 734]rationed by agreement; (b) list of commodities distribution of which must be restricted for conservative reasons.
British will propose that Associated Governments agree upon a common list of (a) rationed and (b) conservation commodities which may not be exported to Northern Neutrals except under license and that later, after the foregoing lists are determined, all other commodities of a nonessential nature may be exported without requiring export licensing. In this connection confidential black list will be maintained in effect only in connection with such commodities as will have to be licensed for export. All other goods may go to confidential black list firms without restriction but in no case to any firm on official enemy trading list. Above program subject to confirmation. As soon as draft proposals are received will appreciate having your comments and approval at earliest possible moment. Since writing foregoing I have received your 1626 of November 14.