441.11 W 892/20
The British Ambassador ( Howard ) to the Secretary of State
My Dear Mr. Secretary: I see from today’s papers that Senator Borah9 yesterday introduced a resolution into the Senate which was referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee and is likely to be considered this week, asking the State Department to advise the Senate, if not incompatible with the public interest, what steps you are taking to negotiate claims conventions with London and Paris.10 Senator Borah went on to explain that these claims grew largely out of the seizure by the British and French of shipments of American goods to European neutrals, which seizures were made on the ground that the supplies were ultimately destined for Germany. As you are aware from previous conversations and from what I had the honour to say to the President during my audience with him on the 7th of November last, feeling in Great Britain is particularly sensitive with regard to the presentation of such claims by the United States Government, which, as I pointed out, would seem to be an unprecedented action on the part of a country which afterwards became associated in the war with Great Britain and therefore actually benefited by the blockade measures taken by Great Britain.
I am unfortunately going to Chicago this afternoon and cannot therefore call on you this morning to ask you to be so good as to let me know what action you propose to take in view of the Senate resolution which will in any case not reach the State Department, [Page 220] I presume, before the end of this week. In these circumstances, I should be most grateful to you if you would postpone taking any action till after the 24th instant, when I shall be back from Chicago, and when I hope to be able to call on you at the State Department. My train arrives in Washington at 9 a.m. on the morning of the 24th and I shall be ready to call at the Department at any time after 11 a.m. that will be convenient to you. I shall be grateful if you will kindly let the Embassy know the hour.
Believe me [etc.]