125.655/97: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Great Britain ( Wheeler )


286. Your despatch 2839 of September 7 regarding Newcastle-on-Tyne case.

With the history of the case in mind, the Department has carefully considered the suggestion of an exchange of notes and is not inclined to offer technical objections to the language of the notes as proposed. You may so inform the Foreign Office.

You may also call the attention of the Foreign Office to the statement in the British note of August 28, 1922,15 that it was the feeling of the British Government that the cases of which they happened to have information indicated a practice which on investigation might prove to be rather widespread and which was an unfair discrimination against British shipping interests. This statement called in [Page 313] question the conduct of the whole American consular service. The Department knew that this charge was baseless but it made it imperative that the specific charges against Consul Slater and Vice Consul Brooks be carefully investigated and that the scope of the investigation should be broadened. If any proof were necessary, the result of this investigation proved to the satisfaction of the Department that there were no instances in which the irregular practices suggested were resorted to by members of our consular service.

It is the Department’s belief that the only way to remove the unfortunate impression which Lord Curzon’s charges made on the public mind would be the recognition of the appointment of Slater and Brooks to stations in the British Empire. In case the Foreign Office will give advance assurance that it will recognize the appointment of Consul Slater at Fort William and Port Arthur and of Vice Consul Brooks at Belfast, the Department is willing to accept the suggestion for the exchange of notes the texts of which are given in your despatch. When the recognition of the appointments mentioned above is arranged with the Foreign Office you may proceed with the exchange of notes and also request recognition for Charles Roy Nasmith as the new American consul at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

  1. Not printed.