The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin )
3334. For Sheldon [from War Trade Board]: No. 1814. Embassy’s 4158, November 29, your 1963. The requirement of controlling exports to Great Britain in conformity with import regulations of that country was a necessary measure, while the war lasted, but there is practically no need of strict conservation of most articles in this country today, and public opinion will not permit us to continue in force any longer than necessary any restrictions other than those which are absolutely necessary. The only grounds on which we would feel justified in requiring individual licenses on goods destined to any country are: first, maintenance of the blockade, second, the prevention of enemy trade, third, the possible necessity of the conservation of a very limited list of articles, fourth, shortage of tonnage. The English, through the control of their own shipping can easily arrange for shipping preferences to be given to such articles as are immediately required, and we feel that the administration of import restrictions should now be executed by the country of destination.
We propose to make public announcement on December 12, effective the 16th, that on and after that date no individual licenses will be required for shipment to Great Britain, except as to a limited list which we are now preparing and will cable you later. In the meantime, in order to make immediately effective the relaxation on import [Page 749] restrictions of the list cabled some days ago, we are making the following public announcement:
“The War Trade Board announces that the Controller of Import Restrictions, London, has temporarily suspended all import restrictions on—Here follows list approximately the same as that contained in cable No. 6744, November 14, from British Foreign Office to British Embassy here.
In view of the foregoing, the War Trade Board has issued a special export license, effective immediately, No. RAC 62 authorizing the exportation without individual export licenses of the commodities on the above list. Shippers should note, that it is unnecessary to apply to the War Trade Board for permission to export under special export license RAC 62, and no special document issued by the War Trade Board is necessary in connection with such shipments. It is only necessary to note on the package, if shipment is made through the mails, or on the export declaration, if shipment is made by express or freight, the following:
- Shipped under special license RAC 62
- Name and address of shipper.
- Name and address of consignee.
- Statement of contents.
Shipments under RAC 62 may only be made when the goods are destined to and for consumption in the United Kingdom, and it does not apply to any shipments to the colonies thereof. It should be further noted by exporters that while it is not at present necessary for them to procure British import license or British permit to purchase numbers on this list of commodities, that the British Government may at any time in future withdraw this privilege as to a part of or the whole of this list, and exporters should keep carefully informed as to the British import requirements before making shipments, as otherwise, if the goods are shipped in contravention of such import restrictions, the goods are liable to be confiscated on arrival. Information as to the British import restrictions may be obtained by applying to the British War Mission, Munsey Building, Washington, D.C.
Exporters would be well advised to make the necessary freight arrangements before moving exports of the above-mentioned commodities to seaboard. A shortage of shipping still prevents a free exportation from here to Great Britain, and the fact that an individual license is not required should not by any means be taken by exporters as an assurance that shipping space can or will be provided.”
You will see from the foregoing that we are cautioning exporters that doing away with the necessity of obtaining individual licenses should not be taken by them as an implication that shipping space can be procured or that England will permit the free importation; and they should, before making shipments, always inform themselves on these two points. This will prevent, we think, the recurrence of the unpleasant instances referred to in Embassy’s 4158, your 1963.