The Consul General at London (Skinner) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 23—4:45 a.m.]
Department’s 20th. My October 11. Investigation shows that Lord Robert’s very beneficial suggestion that we might obtain same advantages as those hitherto extended to other Allied Governments was not based on existence of any definitely determined modus. When French goods are seized, if doubt favors claimant, goods are sold here and proceeds paid to French claimant. Goods of enemy origin bound for France are disposed of on merits of case, concessions usually being made in favor of French claimant provided he has paid for consignment. In similar American cases goods have been released on payment of value in Prize Court. Proposal made to me that as to American goods of suspected enemy destination, they be placed on table and disposed of by joint committee of, say two or four persons. Said committee prepared to permit condemnation in Prize Court when claim appeared weak. American concerns having obtained goods of enemy origin by depositing value in Prize Court before America declared war, feel that such deposits should be released inasmuch as arrangement was made only after American [Page 611]ownership had been clearly established. Suggestion for joint committee probably most practical means of liquidating outstanding cases.