441.11 W 892/81

Mr. Spencer Phenix, Assistant to Assistant Secretary of State Olds, to the Secretary of State


Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith a report on the subject of the claims and complaints against the British Government which have been lodged with the Department of State since August 18, 1910, the date of the last special agreement for the arbitration of pecuniary claims between the two Governments.24

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

Spencer Phenix
[Page 251]

Report Submitted by Mr. Spencer Phenix, Assistant to Assistant Secretary of State Olds, on the Subject of the Claims and Complaints Against the British Government Lodged With the Department of State Since August 18, 1910


The Controversy Between the British and American Governments Prior to April 6, 1917, Over the Rights of Neutral Commerce

A state of war became effective on August 4, 1914, between Great Britain and Germany, and by a proclamation bearing that date the British Government specified the articles which it would treat as contraband of war. On August 6, 1914, the Department of State telegraphed to London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels25 to inquire whether the belligerent Governments were willing to agree that the laws of naval warfare, as laid down by the Declaration of London of 1909,26 should be applicable to naval warfare during the conflict then in existence, stating that the Government of the United States believed that acceptance of those laws would prevent grave misunderstandings which might arise as to the relations between neutral powers and the belligerents. It will be recalled that the Declaration of London of 1909 was an instrument drawn up by representatives of the Governments of Germany, the United States, Austria-Hungary, Spain, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands and Russia, who, as stated in the Preamble met

“… in conference in order to arrive at an agreement as to what are the generally recognized rules of international law within the meaning of Article 7 of the Convention of 18th October, 1907, relative to the establishment of an international prize court;27

“Recognizing all the advantages which an agreement as to the said rules would, in the unfortunate event of a naval war, present both as regards peaceful commerce, and as regards the belligerents and their diplomatic relations with neutral governments;

“Haying regard to the divergence often found in the methods by which it is sought to apply in practice the general principles of international law;”


“Animated by the desire to insure henceforward a greater measure of uniformity in this respect.”

[Page 252]

The Declaration never became effective because never ratified by the Governments concerned.

The British Government replied to the Department’s inquiry by a note dated August 22, 1914, reading in part as follows:28

“I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that His Majesty’s Government, who attach great importance to the views expressed in Your Excellency’s note and are animated by a keen desire to consult so far as possible the interests of neutral countries, have given this matter their most careful consideration and have pleasure in stating that they have decided to adopt generally the rules of the declaration in question, subject to certain modifications and additions which they judge indispensable to the efficient conduct of their naval operations. A detailed explanation of these additions and modifications is contained in the inclosed memorandum.

“The necessary steps to carry the above decision into effect have now been taken by the issue of an order in council, of which I have the honor to inclose copies herein for Your Excellency’s information and for transmission to your Government.

“I may add that His Majesty’s Government, in deciding to adhere to the rules of the Declaration of London, subject only to the aforesaid modifications and additions, have not waited to learn the intentions of the enemy Governments, but have been actuated by a desire to terminate at the earliest moment the condition of uncertainty which has been prejudicing the interests of neutral trade.”

The response of the British Government to the Department’s suggestions regarding the Declaration of London was not regarded as satisfactory by the Government of the United States, and on October 22, 1914, the Department telegraphed the American Ambassador at London to inform the British Government that29

“In the circumstances the Government of the United States feels obliged to withdraw its suggestion that the Declaration of London be adopted as a temporary code of naval warfare to be observed by belligerents and neutrals during the present war”,

and that the United States would, therefore,

“insist that the rights and duties of the United States and its citizens in the present war be defined by the existing rules of international law and the treaties of the United States, irrespective of the provisions of the Declaration of London; and that this Government reserves to itself the right to enter a protest or demand in each case in which those rights and duties so defined are violated, or their free exercise interfered with by the authorities of his Britannic Majesty’s Government.”

Seven days later, by a proclamation dated October 29, 1914, the British Government revised the list of contraband of war, and by an Order in Council of the same date modified their position with [Page 253] respect to the Declaration of London.30 This Order in Council read as follows:

“Whereas by an Order in Council dated the 20th of August, 1914, His Majesty was pleased to declare that during the present hostilities the Convention known as the Declaration of London should, subject to certain additions and modifications therein specified, be adopted and put in force by His Majesty’s Government; and

“Whereas the said additions and modifications were rendered necessary by the special conditions of the present war; and

“Whereas it is desirable and possible now to re-enact the said Order in Council with amendments in order to minimize, so far as possible, the interference with innocent neutral trade occasioned by the war;

“Now, therefore, His Majesty, by and with the advice of His Privy Council, is pleased to order, and it is hereby ordered, as follows:

“1. During the present hostilities the provisions of the Convention known as the Declaration of London shall, subject to the exclusion of the lists of contraband and noncontraband, and to the modifications hereinafter set out, be adopted and put in force by His Majesty’s Government.

“The modifications are as follows:

  • “(i) A neutral vessel, with papers, indicating a neutral destination, which, notwithstanding the destination shown on the papers, proceeds to an enemy port, shall be liable to capture and condemnation if she is encountered before the end of her next voyage.
  • “(ii) The destination referred to in Article 33 of the said Declaration shall (in addition to the presumptions laid down in Article 34) be presumed to exist if the goods are consigned to or for an agent of the enemy State.
  • “(iii) Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 35 of the said Declaration, conditional contraband shall be liable to capture on board a vessel bound for a neutral port if the goods are consigned ‘to order,’ or if the ship’s papers do not show who is the consignee of the goods, or if they show a consignee of the goods in territory belonging to or occupied by the enemy.
  • “(iv) In the cases covered by the preceding paragraph (iii) it shall lie upon the owners of the goods to prove that their destination was innocent.

“2. Where it is shown to the satisfaction of one of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State that the enemy Government is drawing supplies for its armed forces from or through a neutral country, he may direct that in respect of ships bound for a port in that country, Article 35 of the said Declaration shall not apply. Such direction shall be notified in the ‘London Gazette’ and shall operate until the same is withdrawn. So long as such direction is in force, a vessel which is carrying conditional contraband to a port in that country shall not be immune from capture.

“3. The Order in Council of the 20th August, 1914, directing the adoption and enforcement during the present hostilities of the Convention [Page 254] known as the Declaration of London, subject to the additions and modifications therein specified is hereby repealed.

“4. This Order may be cited as ‘the Declaration of London Order in Council, No. 2, 1914.’

“And the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and each of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, the President of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, all other Judges of His Majesty’s Prize Courts, and all Governors, Officers, and Authorities whom it may concern, are to give the necessary directions herein as to them may respectively appertain.”

In view of the Department’s telegram of October 22, 1914, a portion of which is quoted above, it would not be surprising if the British Government, notwithstanding the undertakings contained in the Order in Council of October 29, 1914, would refuse to recognize the right of the United States to make any claim on behalf of its nationals based upon the provisions of the Declaration of London.

The Order in Council and Proclamation of October 29, 1914, were followed by other proclamations adding articles to the contraband list, and other Orders in Council modifying still further the rules governing British naval operations. These changes and modifications, and the Orders in Council authorizing them, evoked frequent formal and informal protests from the Department of State against the application of such new rules and procedures to the prejudice of American shipping and commerce. These protests were directed principally against the Orders in Council, whose effect was to extend the doctrine of continuous voyage; to substitute for the recognized belligerent right of visit and search on the high seas a new practice under which neutral vessels were required to enter British ports for examination of their papers and cargoes; to enlarge the scope of contraband lists; to institute a novel form of naval blockade; and to cause great interference with the mails. The Orders in Council against whose strict enforcement the Government of the United States protested most frequently were those of October 29, 1914, (the “Declaration of London Order in Council No. 2, 1914, No. 1614” quoted above), of March 11, 1915 (the “Order in Council framing Reprisals for Restricting further the Commerce of Germany, 1915, No. 206”)31 and of July 7, 1916 (the “Maritime Rights Order in Council, 1916”).32

During the period of American neutrality the Department of State was also in receipt of numerous communications from persons and firms in the United States complaining of the actions of the British authorities and requesting the assistance of the Department not only in obtaining the release of a specific vessel or consignment [Page 255] of goods but also in bringing about a general relaxation of the British procedure under the regulations prescribed by the relevant Orders in Council in so far as that procedure adversely affected American interests. The substance of some of these complaints was incorporated in the notes which the Department addressed from time to time to the British Government on these subjects and such complaints were thus made the basis for formal diplomatic representations; other complaints were referred to the American Consulate General in London and handled informally by that office with the appropriate agencies of the British Government. Not infrequently a satisfactory adjustment of the complaint resulted from these formal and informal representations and in still other cases adjustments were effected by direct action of the British authorities or through London solicitors employed for the purpose by American persons or firms directly concerned.

The representations of the Department of State also resulted in certain general undertakings by the British authorities either to relax the stringency of their regulations in the interest of certain classes of American commerce or in the recognition by that Government of an obligation to compensate American firms or individuals wrongfully damaged by the acts of the British authorities. For example, in a note, dated January 7, 1915, Sir Edward Grey informed the Department of State as follows:33

“His Majesty’s Government cordially concur in the principle enunciated by the Government of the United States that a belligerent, in dealing with trade between neutrals, should not interfere unless such interference is necessary to protect the belligerent’s national safety, and then only to the extent to which this is necessary. We shall endeavor to keep our action within the limits of this principle on the understanding that it admits our right to interfere when such interference is, not with ‘bona fide’ trade between the United States and another neutral country, but with trade in contraband destined for the enemy’s country, and we are ready, whenever our action may unintentionally exceed this principle, to make redress.”

The same note also contains the following statement

“Pending a more detailed reply, I would conclude by saying that His Majesty’s Government do not desire to contest the general principles of law, on which they understand the note of the United States to be based, and desire to restrict their action solely to interference with contraband destined for the enemy. His Majesty’s Government are prepared, whenever a cargo coming from the United States is detained, to explain the case on which such detention has taken place and would gladly enter into any arrangement by which mistakes can be avoided and reparation secured promptly when any [Page 256] injury to the neutral owners of a ship or cargo has been improperly caused, for they are most desirous in the interest both of the United States and of other neutral countries that British action should not interfere with the normal importation and use by the neutral countries of goods from the United States.”

Again, in a note dated July 31, 1915, Sir Edward Grey stated:34

“In the note which I handed to Your Excellency on the 23rd July, I endeavoured to convince the Government of the United States, and I trust with success, that the measures that we have felt ourselves compelled to adopt, in consequence of the numerous acts committed by our enemies in violation of the laws of war and the dictates of humanity, are consistent with the principles of international law. The legality of these measures has not yet formed the subject of a decision of the prize court; but I wish to take this opportunity of reminding Your Excellency that it is open to any United States citizen whose claim is before the prize court to contend that any Order in Council which may affect his claim is inconsistent with the principles of international law and is, therefore, not binding upon the court. If the prize court declines to accept his contentions, and if, after such a decision has been upheld on appeal by the Judicial Committee of His Majesty’s Privy Council, the Government of the United States of America considers that there is serious ground for holding that the decision is incorrect and infringes the rights of their citizens, it is open to them to claim that it should be subjected to review by an international tribunal.”

“It is clear, therefore, that both the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government have adopted the principle that the decisions of a national prize court may be open to review if it is held in the prize court and in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on appeal that the orders and instructions issued by His Majesty’s Government in matters relating to prize are in harmony with the principles of international law; and should the Government of the United States, unfortunately, feel compelled to maintain a contrary view, His Majesty’s Government will be prepared to concert with the United States Government in order to decide upon the best way of applying the above principle to the situation which would then have arisen. I trust, however, that the defense of our action, which I have already communicated to Your Excellency, and the willingness of His Majesty’s Government (which has been shown in so many instances) to make reasonable concessions to American interests, will prevent the necessity for such action arising.”

Of significance in the same connection is the following statement from the memorandum35 accompanying the British Order in Council of July 7, 1916:

“The Allies solemnly and unreservedly declare that the action of their warships, no less than the judgments of their prize courts, will continue to conform to these principles; that they will faithfully fulfil [Page 257] their engagements, and in particular will observe the terms of all international conventions regarding the laws of war; that mindful of the dictates of humanity, they repudiate utterly all thought of threatening the lives of noncombatants; that they will not without cause interfere with neutral property; and that if they should, by the action of their fleets, cause damage to the interests of any merchant acting in good faith, they will always be ready to consider his claims and to grant him such redress as may be due.”

A memorandum transmitted to the Department by the British Embassy in London [Washington] on April 24, 1916,36 embodying the reply of the British Government to certain representations made by the Government of the United States contains the following undertaking:

“The statements contained in paragraph 31 of the United States note have led to a careful review of the practice which is now followed in the British Courts with regard to vessels and cargoes which are released. It has been ascertained that in the case of vessels brought in for examination and allowed to proceed without discharging any part of their cargo no dues are charged. Where part of the cargo is discharged and passes into the jurisdiction of the prize court, the terms of the release are, of course, subject to the control of the court, and His Majesty’s Government are therefore hardly in a position to give definite undertaking with regard to the incidence of the expenses and charges which may have been incurred. In general, however, they realize that in cases where goods are released and it transpires that there were no sufficient grounds for their seizures, no dues or charges should fall upon the owner. The statement that waivers of the right to put forward claims for compensation are exacted as a condition of release is scarcely accurate, but they are prepared to concede that such waivers would be a hardship to the owners of the goods released. In these circumstances His Majesty’s Government will abstain from exacting any such undertakings in future, and will not enforce those which have already been given.”

The general position of the United States, with respect to the liability of the British Government for such of its acts as appeared to be contrary to the then accepted principles of international law, was defined in the telegram from the Department of State to the American Ambassador at London, dated October 22, 1914, to which reference has already been made. This telegram stated, it will be recalled, that the Government of the United States “will insist that the rights and duties of the United States and its citizens in the present war be defined by the existing rules of international law and the treaties of the United States irrespective of the provisions of the Declaration of London; and that this Government reserves to itself the right to enter a protest or demand in each case in which those rights and duties so defined are violated or their free exercise interfered with by the [Page 258] authorities of His Britannic Majesty’s Government”. The American position was also set forth in a note which, pursuant to the Department’s instructions of October 21, 1915, the American Ambassador at London addressed to the British Foreign Office on November 5, 1915.37 This note contained the following statement:

“This Government is advised that vessels and cargoes brought in for examination prior to prize proceedings are released only upon condition that costs and expenses incurred in the course of such unwarranted procedure, such as pilotage, wharfage, demurrage, harbor dues, ware-houseage, unlading costs, etc., be paid [by the claimants or on condition that they sign a waiver of right] to bring subsequent claims against the British Government for these exactions. This Government is loath to believe that such ungenerous treatment will continue to be accorded American citizens by the Government of His Britannic Majestic, but in order that the position of the United States Government may be clearly understood, I take this opportunity to inform Your Excellency that this Government denies that the charges incident to such detentions are rightfully imposed upon innocent trade or that any waiver of indemnity exacted from American citizens under such conditions of duress can preclude them from obtaining redress through diplomatic channels or by whatever other means may be open to them.”

These quotations are not an exhaustive summary of the correspondence between the two Governments on the subject. They have been included for the purpose of indicating and to some extent defining the positions of the British and American Governments prior to April 6, 1917, with respect to the liability of the former and the demands of the latter for reparation on account of damage to American interests. The net result of this correspondence seems to have been, first, the satisfactory contemporary adjustment of certain specific complaints; the enunciation of the principle that the United States reserved its rights as a neutral under international law, as it existed prior to 1914, and the admission by the British Government that they would make due reparation for damage to bona fide neutral interests. Had the United States maintained its neutrality throughout the entire period of the war there is no question that the record of its correspondence with the British Government prior to 1917 would afford ample grounds for a demand that there be an adjudication by a competent tribunal of the questions of international law raised by the British Orders in Council.


The United States as a Belligerent

With the entry of the United States into the war on April 6, 1917, a new situation was presented; it was one clearly not contemplated in the correspondence of 1914–1916. The role of the United States was [Page 259] changed from that of the principal neutral power to that of an associate in the war against Germany and a beneficiary of the previous policies of the Allies. Moreover, the experience acquired by the Allies during the first three and a half years of the war was of great value to the United States in shaping its own policies. The American Government requisitioned American vessels for Government service and controlled the movements and operations of neutral vessels by rigorous restrictions as to the obtaining of bunkers and stores in American ports; trading with the enemy was prohibited by statute and heavy penalties imposed therefor; exports from, and imports into, the United States were subjected to control, and blacklists were formulated bearing the names of persons and firms suspected of assisting the enemy; the supply of commodities shipped to European neutrals was strictly rationed. In addition, the United States Navy cooperated with the Allied Navies and its operations during the war are described in letters from the Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of State, dated January 6 and February 20, 1919, the texts of which are quoted below:38

“I have received your letter of December 28, 1918,39 No. SO–763.72112/11092, relative to the inquiry of Mr. Frederick A. Pike of Saint Paul, as to the methods pursued by the American Navy during the war, and quoting an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“The U. S. Navy, in its war operations, was guided by the ‘Instructions for the Navy of the United States governing Maritime Warfare’, issued in June, 1917, a copy of which is enclosed. As will be noted in the introduction to this book, it was ‘prepared in accordance with international law, treaties, and conventions to which the United States is a party, the statutes of the United States, and, where no international agreement or treaty provision exists covering any special point, in accordance with the practice and attitude of the United States as hitherto determined by court decisions and Executive pronouncements.’

“The Navy Department has no knowledge of any violations of these Instructions by U. S. Naval vessels.

“In general, U. S. Naval vessels in Europe carried out the following operations:—

  • “(a) A detachment of battleships operated with the British Grand Fleet from December, 1917, until December 1918. The mission of this force was to contain the German High Seas Fleet, or to engage it if opportunity offered.
  • “(b) A mine force was engaged from June, 1918, until November, 1918, in planting a mine barrage from Norwegian territorial waters to the Orkney Islands. This barrage was intended to prevent the exit of submarines from the North Sea. The barrage was planted in a duly proclaimed area.
  • “(c) Forces consisting of destroyers, yachts, gunboats, submarine chasers, and submarines operated from Queenstown, Plymouth, [Page 260] the coast of France, Gibraltar and Corfu. These vessels were engaged in escort duty for convoys and in direct operations against submarines.
  • “(d) U. S. Naval Air Stations were established in France, Ireland, England, and Italy for anti-submarine operations.
  • “(e) The forces in home waters were organized for anti-submarine work.
  • “(f) A division of battleships operated from Berehaven, Ireland, in October–November, 1918, as a protection for convoys against enemy raiders.

[“] By the time the United States entered the war, all enemy surface craft, with the exception of an isolated raider in the Pacific, had disappeared from the sea, and the main naval effort was directed to anti-submarine warfare.”

“I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated January 30, 1919, So 763.72112/11186,40 in which you request to be informed whether the naval vessels of the United States cooperated with the British naval vessels in the execution of the plan of seizure and search which was contested in the note on the subject which the American ambassador at London on October 21, 1915, was instructed to deliver to the Foreign Minister of Great Britain, copy of which you enclosed.41 You also ask that your Department be furnished with additional information regarding the activities of the United States Navy during the war, with special reference to the matter of search and seizure discussed in the note to the British Government mentioned above.

“As is well known to you, the Navy of the United States was associated in cooperation with the British, French, and Italian navies in order to bring about a successful conclusion to the war as far as such conclusion might be attained through lawful maritime operations.

“Inasmuch as full and detailed reports of the operations of our several fleet units, major and minor, during the existing war have not yet been received, studied, and digested, it is not possible at the present time to state categorically that in no instance has a vessel of our Navy taken part, direct or indirect, in any matter of search and seizure of the character discussed in the State Department’s note of October 21, 1915, addressed to the British Government.

“I may, however, safely reiterate the statements concerning the war operations of United States naval vessels contained in my letter to you under date of January 6, 1919, a copy of which is enclosed herewith.

“As being of interest, and of possible elucidation in the matter under consideration, I give you the substance of a memorandum prepared in the Office of Naval Operations, which may furnish some explanation affecting apparent coercion of merchant vessels in relation to ports of call, travel in convoy, diversion from usual routes, points of rendezvous, and so forth.

“From and after May, 1917, convoys of merchant vessels were permitted to assemble in our ports, proceeding therefrom under escort and according to convoy rules issued by the British Admiralty and approved by our Navy Department; it does not appear that any of [Page 261] these rules were in conflict with the principles contended for in the diplomatic note of October 21, 1915.

“Vessels traveling in convoy were required to follow certain routes, and in some cases were required to put into a port of call prior to the port of ultimate destination; but the only grounds for such definition of route or for putting into a port of call in which we concurred were for the purpose of giving safe routing instructions through dangerous sea areas, or for the purpose of furnishing escort, or for modified orders concerning destination.

“Concerning routing instructions: The reason for establishing definite routes for vessels was solely for the purpose of making the voyage as safe as possible from enemy activities. In order to warn vessels of dangers in their presumed or established routes we required them to speak our Speaking Stations along the coast. We also concurred in British Admiralty instructions requiring vessels on long voyages to stop at some outlying routing station if they had sailed from a port at which no routing officer was stationed. At times this requirement caused diversion from the direct route to destination; but the only purpose for this diversion in which we concurred was to enable the vessel concerned to pursue a safe route.

“Prior to the beginning of German submarine activity along our Atlantic coast about the first of June, 1918, this Department gave no routing instructions at all except to our men of war going abroad; instructions for these vessels were in accord with advices received from the Commander of U. S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters. Before that time we concurred in and indorsed the British routing instructions by allowing their routing officers to be established in our ports and by advising American vessels to obtain routing instructions from these officers. In all such cases, however, the only purpose for which we indorsed the routings was in order to furnish such vessels the safest possible course through waters rendered dangerous by the activities of the enemy. They were never indorsed for the purpose of causing vessels to be taken into port with the object of visit and search therein. Routing instructions were in all cases secret and committed to paper to the very smallest extent; no copies of such instructions are available for consultation at the present time.

[“]In the course of study for the preparation of this reply to your letter a vague impression has been gained that some of the instructions given or concurred in by this Department may have required merchant vessels under the Spanish flag to obtain final clearance at New York upon their voyage from the West Indies to Europe; I have not, however, anything definite on this subject, and I should he glad to receive from you any specific instance of which you may possess knowledge tending to confirm this vague impression in order that if there be cause for such it may be further investigated.”

Even if it be a fact that “in no instance has a vessel of our Navy taken part, direct or indirect, in any matter of search and seizure of the character discussed in the State Department’s note of October 21, 1915, addressed to the British Government”—and it should be noted that the Secretary of the Navy was unable on February 20, 1919, to state that fact categorically—it does not appear that the Government [Page 262] of the United States failed to adopt measures having the same object as those put into force by the British authorities in 1914, 1915, and 1916, and strongly protested by the United States.

It would seem, therefore, that the right which the United States undoubtedly had prior to its entry into the war on April 6, 1917, to contest the validity of the British Orders in Council, underwent a considerable practical change as a result of our entry into the war, and the policies adopted by the United States Government subsequent thereto. It is not impossible, moreover, that, were the United States to open up for general discussion the question of neutral rights during the World War, certain Governments which remained neutral throughout the entire period of hostilities might be moved to enter claims against the United States for damages alleged to have been caused by American interference with neutral trade and commerce. The interests of belligerents and neutrals inevitably clash in any great conflict, and it may well be questioned whether the United States could successfully maintain before any international tribunal that its nationals are entitled to damages for losses suffered through belligerent interference with neutral commerce, without admitting at the same time liability on its own account for such losses as may have been occasioned to Scandinavian and Swiss nationals, for example, through its own belligerent operations. A very important question of policy, as well as of principle, is presented by this consideration.

Subsequent to April 6, 1917, practically no new complaints were received by the Department. A considerable correspondence, however, continued between the two Governments covering questions as to the release of goods detained or seized by the British authorities prior to the entry of the United States into the war. As a result of this correspondence, of certain test cases heard and determined by the Prize Court, and of the efforts of the American diplomatic and consular representatives in London, many of the outstanding complaints were adjusted. The termination of hostilities afforded an opportunity for the settlement of still other cases, and on December 29, 1919, the American Consul General at London reported to the Department42 in part as follows:

“I have the honor to refer to my telegram of December 22, 1919,43 in regard to Prize Court matters in which I set forth the procedure indicated by the Procurator General as necessary in order to effect the release of the consignments described by the Foreign Office in Lord Curzon’s note of December 4 [6], 1919.44 The Department will have noted from my telegram that practically all east bound goods will be released on presentation of documents of title and full [Page 263] sets of bills of lading, together with invoices when possible; but as to certain cases the Procurator General desires to obtain Prize Court decisions in order to clear up the principles involved. As to west bound goods, these will be released on evidence of payment having been made; deposits will be released on proof that the goods has been paid for prior to the deposits having been made; and goods bought on running account will be released when it can be shown that the running account really effected payment.

“In view of this understanding with the Procurator General I am now prepared to receive applications for the release of goods, or the re-imbursement of deposits.”

From this report and from the fact that no subsequent complaints were ever received by the Department from many of the persons who had requested its assistance during the early years of the war, it seemed reasonably certain that a satisfactory adjustment had been made of many of the cases contained in the Department’s files, but as very few of the complainants took the trouble to inform the Department when their cases were settled, there was little evidence in the files to show what final disposition of the various cases had been made. As a result the entire mass of war-time correspondence dealing with these complaints was kept in the Department’s active files and classified as claims against the British Government.

It should be noted, however, that the United States never enjoyed as favorable a position under Allied prize procedure as did the Allied Governments. On November 9, 1914, a Convention was signed at London between the United Kingdom and France “Relative to Prizes Captured during the Present European War”.45 This convention was ratified December 21, 1914, and acceded to by Italy on January 15, 1917. Article 2 and paragraph 3 of Article 5 read as follows:

“In case of the capture of a merchant vessel of one of the allied countries, the adjudication of such capture shall always belong to the jurisdiction of the country of the captured vessel. In such case the cargo shall be dealt with, as to the jurisdiction, in the same manner as the vessel.

“When a merchant vessel of one of the allied countries, whose original destination was an enemy port, and which is carrying an enemy or neutral cargo liable to capture, has entered a port of one of the allied countries, the prize jurisdiction of that country is competent to pronounce the condemnation of the cargo. In such case the value of the goods, after deducting the necessary expenses, shall be placed to the credit of the Government of the allied country whose flag the merchant vessel flies.”

“3. If, in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 1, a capture, made by a cruiser of one of the allied countries, shall have been adjudicated by the Courts of the other, the net proceeds of the prize, after [Page 264] deducting the necessary expenses, shall be made over in the same manner to the Government of the captor, to be distributed according to its laws and regulations.”

By an exchange of notes between the United Kingdom, France and Russia in 1915 and 1916,46 Article 2, quoted above, was modified in the following sense:

“By exchange of notes (15th February–27th April, 1915) between His Majesty’s Government and the French Government it has been agreed that, where both vessel and cargo are proceeded against under Article 2 of the Convention of the 9th November, 1914, the provisions of paragraph 1 of that Article shall be held to apply in all cases. Where only the cargo of the vessel is concerned, however, it has been agreed that, in addition to the specific case provided for by Article 2, paragraph 2—viz., where the original destination of the vessel was an enemy port—the principles laid down in that paragraph shall apply also to cases of contraband consigned to a neutral port, and to cases of enemy property where the original destination was not a hostile port.

“By exchange of notes (31st May, 1915–26th October, 1916) between His Majesty’s Government and the Russian Government it has been agreed that a similar interpretation of Article 2 of the Convention shall be held to apply in the cases above referred to.”


The Efforts of the Department of State Since the War To Settle Outstanding Claims With Great Britain

As indicated in the preceding section, the Department of State was able after the Armistice to obtain the agreement of the British authorities to a plan for the adjustment of individual cases where complaint had been made by an American national against the interference by the British Government with goods or vessels in which he claimed an interest. The Department was not, however, always informed by the interested parties when a final adjustment of the complaint had been effected, and as a result there remained on record in 1920 a considerable number of cases which prima facie seemed to involve possible claims against the British Government. Consequently a note was addressed by the Department to the British Government on August 18, 1920,47 inquiring whether that Government was prepared to enter into an appropriate arrangement with the Government of the United States for the adjustment of meritorious claims growing out of the acts of the American and British authorities incident to the war. No final reply to this inquiry has ever been received from the British Government.

[Page 265]

During the next five years no substantial progress was made towards the consummation of an agreement with the British Government for the consideration and settlement of claims between the two Governments and their nationals, having their origin in events subsequent to the agreement of 1910, although the question was considered at various times.

On January 28, 1921, the Senate adopted a resolution (No. 438) requesting the President, if not incompatible with the public interest, “to inform the Senate whether any, and if any, what measures have been taken relating to claims and complaints of citizens of the United States against the British Government growing out of restraints on American commerce, and the alleged unlawful seizure and sale of American ships and cargoes by British authorities during the late war, and communicating to the Senate a copy of any instructions which may have been given by the Executive to the American Ambassador at London on the subject on and after October 21, 1915, and also a copy of any correspondence which may have passed between this Government and that of Great Britain in relation to that subject since that time”, and on March 3, 1921, the Secretary of State transmitted to the President,48 with a view to its communication to the Senate, a report containing the requested information. I am informed that the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations plans to have this report printed as a public document during the forthcoming session of the Congress.

During the period from 1920 to 1925 independent negotiations took place between Departments of the British Government and Departments and Agencies of the Government of the United States, which resulted in the adjustment of certain categories of cases, such as claims between the two Governments for balances due on accounts between the War Department of the United States and the Shipping Board on the one hand, and the British War Office and Ministry of Shipping on the other hand. In addition, bills were introduced from time to time into Congress authorizing relief in one form or another for British nationals who had presented claims against the Government of the United States. Furthermore, communications were not infrequently received during this period by the Department of State from the British Embassy urging that consideration be given to specific cases in which British subjects were interested as claimants. No indication was ever given, however, that the British Government would be inclined to consider the claims of American nationals against it, and in the spring of 1925 the Solicitor of the Department of State discussed informally with the British Agent and Counsel, under the 1910 arbitration agreement, the question of adjusting the pecuniary [Page 266] claims outstanding between the two Governments and not covered by the 1910 agreement, referring particularly to the claims arising out of the war. No official recognition was, however, ever given by the British Government to this discussion and, as stated above, no final reply was ever made by that Government to the Department’s formal inquiries on this subject. Accordingly, in the fall of 1925, the subject was informally broached to the British Ambassador by Assistant Secretary of State Olds, whom you had instructed to reopen the matter with a view to reaching a settlement of the problem.

This conversation marked the beginning of the present phase of the question. It was followed by a discussion between the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the American Ambassador at London, and by a formal interview between the British Ambassador at Washington and the Secretary of State, during the course of both of which expression was given to the surprise of the British Government that the Government of the United States should have opened this question. In addition, Sir Austen Chamberlain informed the American Ambassador at London that the British Government had been led to believe by President Wilson’s attitude at Paris during the Peace Conference that the entire subject matter would be left undisturbed. In a later conversation between the British Ambassador and Assistant Secretary Olds the former stated that it would be very difficult indeed for the British public to understand why the United States should have any claims growing out of the blockade, since the United States had later come into the war with England and participated in the maintenance of the blockade on a more extensive scale than before. The British Ambassador repeated that his Government had been led to believe that the blockade claims would be dropped since President Wilson had intimated in Paris that such claims would not be presented. The Ambassador was informed that so far as the Department knew, there had never been any other intention than that of presenting claims, and reference was again made to the conversation between Sir Cecil Hurst and Mr. Hyde in the spring of 1925 on the subject of the formation of a Joint Commission to consider claims between the two Governments.

These conversations resulted in no progress toward a mutual understanding, serving only to emphasize the unwillingness of the British Government to agree to any procedure looking to an adjudication of any large mass of pecuniary claims against it arising out of its belligerent operations.

On February 4, 1926, the British Ambassador left with the Secretary of State an aide memoire referring to previous negotiations between the British Admiralty and the Navy Department regarding the settlement by correspondence of all claims and demands in law [Page 267] and in equity arising out of the operation of naval forces of the United States and Great Britain during the period from April 6, 1917, to March 3, 1921, and stating that the British Government not only was prepared to agree to such a procedure but considered that it would be advisable if the same procedure, i. e., direct negotiation between the competent British and American Departments concerned, should be forthwith adopted for the settlement of all inter-governmental claims arising out of the war. In presenting this aide memoire the British Ambassador explained that what he meant to suggest was that purely inter-governmental claims should first be taken up. This suggestion was not approved by the Department, and the Ambassador was informed that in its opinion all claims should be considered, including those of private citizens. The Ambassador indicated, however, that he believed that his Government would not be willing to agree to such a procedure.

In view of the unsatisfactory situation resulting from the conversations and discussions outlined above, it seemed to the Department that it should not approve the settlement of any British claims against the United States until the British Government manifested a willingness to consider such claims as the Department might be disposed to put forward on behalf of American nationals who alleged damage through the war measures of the British authorities. Accordingly the Navy Department was requested to take no further steps looking to the actual settlement of its claims from and against the British Admiralty, and all communications from the British Embassy requesting relief for British nationals with claims against the United States were answered with the statement that the Department of State was not disposed to take any action in the premises until arrangements had been concluded for the consideration of all claims between the two Governments.

The situation was briefly discussed again by the British Ambassador and the Secretary of State, and in an interview on March 29, 1926, the former stated that he had concluded that he could not recommend to his Government that any steps be taken looking to a discussion of the claims arising out of the operations of the British Navy in preventing commodities necessary to Germany’s conduct of the war from reaching that country. The Ambassador asked again if it would not be possible to settle the inter-governmental claims concerning which there appeared to be no substantial difference of opinion before considering further the question of the private claims, and he was again informed that it seemed preferable to the Department to have all claims considered at the same time. The position taken by the British Ambassador indicated that were the Department to address a formal communication to the British Government suggesting [Page 268] the examination of all claims by commissioners representing the two Governments and the arbitration of those concerning which no agreement could be reached by the commissioners, the British Government would reply that it would not consent to the consideration of any of the so-called blockade claims, and that consequently the initiation of formal exchanges on this subject would lead to no satisfactory adjustment of the questions at issue. Accordingly the suggestion was made that the whole question remain the subject of informal treatment in the hope that during such informal consideration a solution might be reached. The specific suggestion was made that a representative of the British Embassy call at the Department and be informed in detail of the general categories of claims which had been presented by American nationals, so that the scope of these claims might be more clearly understood by the British Government, and that a preliminary survey of the papers in the claims files be undertaken for the purpose of eliminating from further consideration those claims or complaints where, in all the circumstances, the claimants did not appear to be entitled to the Department’s support. The foregoing suggestions were based upon the results of an intensive examination of a considerable number of cases taken at random from the claims file. This examination indicated that in all probability a very small percentage of the cases listed by the Department as claims, or potential claims, would be able to survive a rigid inquiry into their merits. It appeared, for example, in many instances that the complainant had addressed no communication to the Department in 10 or 12 years, that no specific claim had been stated, that a trifling amount was involved, or that for some other reason it was extremely doubtful whether the Department would feel justified in formally espousing a claim based upon the facts as set forth in the papers in the files. The Department felt that it would be most unfortunate if there should be a definite break in the negotiations between the Government of the United States and the Government of Great Britain over the claims question since, as a matter of fact, it appeared highly probable that the number and value of meritorious claims were relatively insignificant.

These considerations were pointed out to the British Ambassador who stated that a procedure such as that suggested seemed to him to have considerable merit and might be viewed favorably by his Government. He asked, therefore, that an aide memoire embodying the above suggestions be transmitted to him for communication to his Government in London. Accordingly, under date of April 7, 1926, the following aide memoire was despatched to the British Ambassador:

[Page 269]

[Here follows the text of the aide-mémoire printed on page 224.]

On April 29, 1926, the Department of State was informed that the British Government was prepared to enter at once upon a preliminary examination of the papers bearing on the claims in question pursuant to the procedure suggested in its aide memoire of April, and that J. Joyce Broderick, Esquire, Commercial Counselor of the British Embassy, had been instructed to undertake this examination for the British Government in conjunction with a representative of the Department of State. The British Government’s acceptance in principle of the plan outlined by the Department’s aide memoire of April 7, 1926, marked the first real progress toward a solution of this problem.

In the meantime, the Department of State had undertaken a thorough re-examination of the papers in its claims files. This examination indicated that the volume of correspondence was so great that it would be most confusing were an effort made to deal with it in its existing form. Accordingly a staff of assistant solicitors was instructed to go through all the files and summarize in brief memoranda the significant facts in each individual case. This work required several months time and resulted in the preparation of about 2200 separate memoranda, or synopses, many of which covered more than one complaint since frequently a single complainant would be interested in several different ships or consignments. Some of them also were duplicates of others since complaints regarding a single consignment were sometimes made by more than one party. A careful examination was then made of these memoranda as rapidly as they were prepared for the purpose of determining the probable merit of the individual cases on the basis of the facts stated. This examination confirmed the belief that a very considerable proportion of the cases might properly be eliminated from further consideration either because no specific claim had ever been made, the amounts involved were trifling, the Department had received no communication from the complainant in the past ten or twelve years, the subject matter of the complaint had been adjusted, or for some other equally valid reason.

The duty of representing the Department of State in the joint informal conferences with Mr. Broderick was assigned to me, and, in the light of the facts disclosed by my examination of such memoranda as had then been prepared, I was authorized provisionally to withdraw from consideration during our conferences all cases falling within the following categories, and to state that they would not be presented by the Department if a satisfactory general agreement were reached by the two Governments: [Page 270]

Cases involving an actual loss of $500 or less.
Cases arising from the inclusion of names in the so-called “black lists” unless special grounds for espousal exist.
Cases involving alleged wrongful detention, expulsion or mistreatment of American citizens unless there is clearly evidence of injustice resulting in substantial loss or injury, or of needlessly harsh or arbitrary action.
Cases involving claims for purely speculative profits.
Cases involving losses due to British export or import or bunker restrictions or maximum price orders unless there has been discrimination against the American interests involved.
Cases where without unreasonable delay or expense the subject matter has been released to the interested party in good condition, or its fair cash value paid over to him.

This section of the report should not be concluded without reference to a resolution introduced into the Senate on March 15, 1926, and adopted on June 15, 1926, requesting the Secretary of State, if not incompatible with the public interests, to inform the Senate what steps he was taking to negotiate claims conventions for the arbitration and settlement of claims of American citizens against Great Britain and France “arising out of violations of the rights of neutrals between August 1, 1914, and April 6, 1917”. On July 2, 1926, the Department transmitted to the President with a view to its communication to the Senate a reply to this resolution. This reply has been printed as Senate Document No. 155, Sixty-ninth Congress, First Session. It outlined briefly the status of the claims question and stated that the Department was endeavoring to assemble all available information regarding the subject matter of the various complaints and claims filed with it against the British Government, with a view to determining what cases justified further affirmative action and could properly be made the subject of negotiation with the British Government.


The Joint Examination of the Claims Files and Its Results

Mr. Broderick and I were in frequent consultation during May, June, and July. As rapidly as the Solicitor’s Office completed the memorandum summaries, copies were informally made available to him, and in addition he was permitted to examine the supporting data in such detail as he desired. He was soon impressed, however, with the adequacy of the memoranda and satisfied that there was no desire on the part of the Department to suppress any information which might be useful in reaching a settlement of the controversy. Not only did Mr. Broderick and I make independent examinations of these memoranda but we also discussed them together in detail. [Page 271] We found that in a very considerable number of cases the files contained no information as to the ultimate disposition of the subject matter of the complaint. The question then arose as to the next step that should be taken, that is to say, whether the missing information should be obtained by circularizing the complainants or whether it should be sought from the records of the British Government in London. A considerable correspondence on this point took place between the Department and the British Foreign Office, the outcome of which was that the latter agreed to make available in London any data contained in the files of the British Government covering the claims and complaints which were the subject of Mr. Broderick’s and my joint labors. Mr. Broderick was instructed by his Government to meet me in London on September 1, 1926, and I was, in turn, instructed to be in London on that date ready to commence an investigation into the British records.

The work of summarizing the cases in the claims file and of preparing memoranda was completed in July, and as soon as these memoranda had been arranged alphabetically and numbered serially, Mr. Broderick and I made a rapid review of them all for the purpose of applying the six rules above mentioned wherever the facts justified. We found that nearly 50 per cent of the cases presented in the summaries could be eliminated by the application of these rules or for equally valid reasons. The remaining 50 per cent consisted principally of cases where the Department’s information was inadequate to permit the application of any recognized rules, and it was with respect to this residue that the examination of the records in London was undertaken.

The work of consulting the records of the British Government in London was carried on during September and the first three weeks of October. The archives of the offices of the Admiralty Marshal and of the Procurator General were placed unreservedly at the disposal of Mr. Broderick and myself. In addition, such information as was necessary from the Foreign Office, the War Office, the Admiralty, the Board of Trade, the Custodian of Enemy Property, and other British Departments and offices was promptly obtained and furnished. Had it not been for the cooperation of these Departments and the fact that officers of the British Government were assigned to assist in obtaining and interpreting the information from the files of the Admiralty Marshal’s office and the Procurator General’s office, it would not have been possible to complete the inquiry in the short space of seven weeks.

The most fruitful source of information proved to be the records of the Admiralty Marshal’s office, and Mr. Broderick and I spent much of our time in the Royal Courts of Justice where that office [Page 272] is located. An official of the British Government, thoroughly familiar with the records in question, was detailed to our assistance, and rendered invaluable aid. Our procedure was briefly as follows: During August Mr. Broderick had had prepared a series of schedules classifying under general headings the 1100 or so cases concerning which information was to be sought in London. These schedules gave the serial number of the case, the name of the vessel, a description of the goods involved, and other helpful data. The schedules listing cases dealing with East and West bound commerce which had been diverted or otherwise interfered with by the British naval forces, or which had come within British jurisdiction for other reasons, were taken by us to the Admiralty Marshal’s office, and there, by reference to the great loose leaf ledgers recording all goods which came under the Marshal’s authority, and by examination of copies of ships manifests and other records, we succeeded in identifying most of the items concerning which we had record of a complaint to the Department of State. When the items were identified, it was a simple matter to ascertain their disposition. The information thus obtained was entered briefly on the schedules and later transcribed by me on to the original memorandum summaries brought from Washington. A permanent record has thus been made from original sources in London showing the disposition of the subject matter of most of the cases concerning the disposal of which the Department’s files are otherwise silent.

Where the records of the Admiralty Marshal proved inadequate, recourse was had to those of the Procurator General, from which office valuable general information dealing not so much with specific cases as with general procedure, and the conclusion of agreements between the British authorities and American shippers was obtained. In addition, the Foreign Office, the Board of Trade, the Custodian of Enemy Property, and other Departments of the British Government conducted independently a search in their archives for data concerning cases falling within their jurisdiction, and this information as rapidly as obtained was communicated to Mr. Broderick and to me, and its substance transcribed on the memorandum summaries. In only a relatively few cases was it impossible to identify from the records of the British authorities shipments concerning which complaint had been made to the Department. This failure was due in most instances to the inadequacy of the information supplied to the Department by the complainant, but as a check on the completeness of the British records I chose three cases at random from those with respect to which no information had been obtained and consulted the records of the American Consul General in London, through whose office, it will be recalled, many cases were handled during and [Page 273] after the war. I found that not even his records contained any data showing the seizure or detention of these three items.

On September 21, 1926, Assistant Secretary Olds arrived in London pursuant to your instructions, and I reported to him in detail the result of my work up to that time. I also took him to the office of the Admiralty Marshal and showed him the procedure by which we were obtaining the information which was being entered on the summaries, and upon the basis of which the Department would be called upon to determine the disposition which should be made of the complaints. Mr. Olds also discussed the general questions involved with Sir William Tyrrell, and reached an informal understanding as to the consideration which would be given to such cases as might appear to be meritorious at the conclusion of my mission in London.

The most impressive single fact revealed by my examination of the British records was the extent to which individual complaints had been settled by the British authorities through one expedient or another. In a great number of cases, for example, the goods, their proceeds or their value were released many years ago to the owners who, it might be mentioned in passing, frequently proved not to be the American complainant whose complaint the Department has on file, but a European vendor or vendee; in other cases a general settlement had been effected as, for example, the so-called “Swedish settlement”; in still others private agreements were negotiated and the British Government holds the receipts of American complainants expressly stating that full and final settlement had been made of their claims. (Copies of many such receipts covering the purchase by the British authorities of cotton cargoes have been brought by me back to Washington); other cases were disposed of in other ways or are still open to adjustment upon proof of title.

My examination of the British records was completed during the third week of October and Mr. Broderick and I then went over a second time the entire lot of cases for the purpose of reconsidering them in the light of the additional information obtained in London, and of applying the rules of provisional exclusion to which reference has already been made. During this review of the cases the number of the applicable rule was entered by me on the original summary, and when that work was completed I prepared a list of all of the 2658 cases showing with respect to each the rule of exclusion, if any, which had been applied.

This list will be found in Appendix A of this report.49 The cases are identified by the serial numbers as they appear in the memoranda summarizing the facts, and opposite each case number appears the [Page 274] number of the rule which has been provisionally applied. The scope of Rules 1 to 6 is explained on page 30 of this report.50 Wherever Rule 7, the general rule, has been applied, the specific reason for its application has been entered under the heading “Remarks”. In view of the number of Rule 7 cases it seemed desirable to make a subdivision thereof, and the following 9 classifications have been chosen as most illustrative of the facts:

Cases where the owner of the goods has never complained to the Department.
Cases where the goods, their proceeds or invoice value are still in court or in the hands of the custodian of enemy property, and available on proof of title.
Cases where the title to the goods appears to be in aliens.
Cases adjusted by the so-called “Swedish Settlement”.
Cases adjusted by agreement with the interested parties.
Cases where the goods were condemned and there was no appeal or subsequent complaint to the Department of State.
Cases where no formal claim has been presented and where the complainant has not communicated with the Department in 10 or more years.
Cases where no evidence has been found that the goods were seized by the British authorities.
Cases where rejection is indicated for other reasons (e. g., where the claim is against France, Italy, or one of the self-governing dominions; where the claimant has withdrawn his claim; where data requested by the Department have never been supplied; where there is no evidence of British responsibility.

The following table summarizes the facts contained in Appendix “A” and shows the number of cases which may be dropped because they fall under Rules 1 to 6 and the 9 subdivisions of Rule 7. It will be noted that 2501 of the total of 2658 cases can thus be disposed of, leaving as a residue only 157:

Cases which may be dropped

[Page 275]
1. Those involving an actual loss of $500 or less 211
2. Those arising from the inclusion of names in so-called “black lists” and where no special grounds for espousal 102
3. Those involving alleged wrongful detention, expulsion or mistreatment of American citizens where there is no evidence of injustice resulting in substantial loss or injury or of needlessly harsh or arbitrary action 36
4. Those involving claims for purely speculative profits 9
5. Those involving losses due to British export, import or bunker restrictions or maximum price orders where there is no evidence of discrimination against American interests 29
6. Those where without unreasonable delay or expense the subject matter has been released to the interested party in good condition or its fair cash value paid to him. 838
7a. Those where the owner of the goods has never complained to the Department 237
7b. Those where the goods, their proceeds or invoice value are still in court or in the hands of the Custodian of Enemy Property and available on proof of title 172
7c. Those where the title to the goods appears to be in aliens. 76
7d. Those adjusted by the so-called “Swedish Settlement” 34
7e. Those adjusted by agreement with the interested parties. 175
7f. Those where the goods were condemned and there was no appeal or subsequent complaint to the Department of state. 110
7g. Those where no formal claim has been presented and where the complainant has not communicated with the Department in 10 or more years. 25
7h. Those where no evidence has been found that the goods 153
7i. Those where rejection is indicated for other reasons, (e. g. where the claim is against France, Italy, or one of the self-governing dominions; where the claimant has withdrawn his claim; where data requested by the Department have never been supplied; where there is no evidence of British responsibility. 294
Total 2501

While the merit of these provisional rules of elimination is doubtless sufficiently apparent from a mere inspection of the statements in which they are embodied, the following brief argument in support thereof may be helpful:

Rule 1. It is believed that claims involving $500 or less are too trifling to be made the subject of international reclamation where the facts are so complicated as in the cases now under consideration and so long a time has elapsed since the act complained of took place. The cost of adequately preparing and judicially determining such cases would be out of all proportion to the amount of a possible award. Irrespective of any question of merit, therefore, and in the interest of a speedy adjustment of the entire problem, such cases should be eliminated. It should be noted, however, that many of the cases provisionally eliminated under this rule would doubtless fall under one of the other rules were they carefully examined into. 86 percent of the 2658 cases examined into proved to be susceptible of elimination under Rules 2 to 7, inclusive. Assuming that the same percentage is applicable to the cases which have been provisionally eliminated because they fell within Rule 1, 178 of the 211 cases eliminated by the application of Rule 1 could be eliminated under Rules 2 to 7. As the time was not taken in London, however, to search the records of the British Government with respect to this class of cases, no definite information can be given with respect thereto.

[Page 276]

Rule 2. After the United States entered the war it adopted and enlarged the British black lists. In these circumstances it seems neither proper nor safe to take the position that the British Government is under any liability to make compensation for either direct or indirect losses alleged to be due to the inclusion of the names of American firms on British black lists. As a practical matter, moreover, such cases do not lend themselves to a judicial determination since it would be impossible to establish affirmatively that a claimed loss was attributable solely to the inclusion of the claimant’s name on the black list. Too many other factors necessarily enter into the profits and losses of a business, particularly during a great war, and no tribunal could determine accurately the amount of possible lost profits through the blacklisting of a firm or individual. It is also a question whether such black listing affords a basis for a diplomatic claim. The effect of the black list was to make it an offense for a British subject to have dealings with the black listed firm or individual. The prohibition ran against the British subject and not against the black listed person, and it would be difficult to establish that a Government did not have the power to control during war the commercial operations and connections of its own nationals.

Rule 3. It cannot be expected that travel through a war zone will be convenient, comfortable, or even safe. The personal convenience of the traveler must necessarily be subordinated to the exigencies of the war, and in the absence of conclusive evidence of substantial actual loss or physical injury or of wantonly harsh or arbitrary action, it is difficult to see on what ground a diplomatic claim against Great Britain could properly be based in cases of this nature.

An illustrative case in this category is No. 1756, where the facts are briefly as follows:

A person with a German name claiming American citizenship was a passenger on the S. S. Rotterdam, was removed from that vessel by the Plymouth military authorities on September 23, 1914, and detained in the naval detention barracks until September 26, 1914, when he was returned to the vessel. A claim of $25,000 for the arrest and detention and for $11,077.50 for alleged losses to his business has been submitted to the Department by memorial.

A claim typical of several others within this category which have been submitted to the Department is No. 1326, where the facts are briefly as follows:

An American citizen was a passenger on a German vessel which sailed from Philadelphia for Hamburg on July 23, 1914. The vessel arrived at Falmouth, England, at midnight August 3, 1914, and the claimant alleges that British officers assumed control of the vessel prior to the declaration of war, disabling the wireless apparatus, thus making communication between the passengers and shore impossible, denying the passengers the right to depart from the vessel, and preventing the crew and stewards from cleaning the vessel. The claimant alleges that a guard of British soldiers patrolled the vessel day and night, disturbing the passenger’s sleep, that the passengers were annoyed and threatened with violence, and were not allowed to leave the vessel until the afternoon of August 8, 1914, when the American passengers were permitted to go ashore but were landed in the rain and compelled to seek shelter in an open shed without food. A claim [Page 277] for $1291.75 for this detention has been filed with the Department. In this connection it might be pointed out that according to the Prize Court record covering this vessel, it entered Falmouth Harbor voluntarily on August 3, 1914, and on the afternoon of August 4, 1914, the master was informed that his ship was unconditionally released and free to leave at once. The vessel nevertheless remained in Falmouth and was there at 11 p.m. when war began between Great Britain and Germany. She was seized as prize at 5 a.m. on August 5. (Lloyd’s Prize Cases, Volume 4, Page 361).

Rule 4. The Government of the United States cannot undertake to guarantee to American nationals that they will realize the full profit they expect from their foreign ventures. Business during a great war must be predicated upon possible delays and interruptions of normal communications. The fact that war conditions have caused a delay in the receipt of merchandise which, if received earlier could have been sold for a higher price, does not in itself afford a proper ground for a valid claim against a belligerent government. There is a very real difference between an actual out-of-pocket loss due, for example, to the sinking of a vessel, and a failure to realize speculative, prospective, or contingent profits. It is also difficult, if not impossible, to establish in a given case that the act of one of several belligerents has been the sole and proximate cause of the alleged loss. Cases illustrative of those falling within this category are No. 366 and No. 942. The facts in the former are briefly as follows:

The claimants alleged that shipments of dolls, toys, fancy goods, and china ware intended for the Christmas trade had been delayed owing to the detention in England of the vessels carrying these shipments, with the result that the goods reached them too late for the holiday trade. It was alleged that in consequence the claimants’ customers refused to receive the goods and as there was no market for them after the holidays, they lost several thousand dollars. No formal claim has ever been filed with the Department.

Case No. 942 involves a formal claim for $28,000 representing losses alleged to have been sustained by reason of British interference with claimants’ trade with foreign ports, covering specifically the alleged seizure or detention by the British authorities of various shipments of laces purchased by the claimants in Belgium and Germany while en route to the United States.

Rule 5. A sovereign government has an absolute right to enact such domestic legislation as seems to it appropriate and so long as such legislation does not discriminate against nationals of one foreign government in favor of nationals of another, and so long as there is no violation of a fundamental social right, there would not seem to be any ground for an international pecuniary claim. Export and import restrictions, bunker regulations, and maximum price orders all involve questions of domestic policy, and unless it can be shown that there has been discrimination against the American interest as such, or other special facts exist giving the complainant a peculiar equity, the Department would not be justified in my opinion in pressing claims falling within this category. Cases illustrative of those within this category are Nos. 56, 1293, and 2035.

In case No. 56, an American firm shipped to English ports for trans-shipment to Rotterdam cargoes of packing house products. [Page 278] These cargoes were detained in England because of British regulations controlling the export of such goods from England. The Department’s assistance in obtaining the release of these shipments was requested at the time, but no formal claim has ever been submitted.

The allegations in case No. 1293 are to the effect that an American firm purchased wool in South Africa which was sent to London for trans-shipment to the United States. The export of wool from England being subject to Government regulation, these shipments were detained in London pending the granting of export licenses. The complainant requested the Department’s assistance and expressed a desire to file a claim against Great Britain for damages resulting from the detention of the wool. No formal claim has, however, been submitted and the last correspondence in the files is dated April, 1915.

In case No. 2035 it is alleged that a shipment of buttons consigned by an American firm to a foreign port was seized in England on the ground that the buttons in question were prohibited imports and that no import license had been obtained. No claim or notice of claim having been made to the British Government within the statutory period provided for in the customs law, the seizure became absolute and the goods were disposed of for the benefit of the Crown. No formal claim has ever been submitted to the Department of State.

Rule 6. Where the complainant has accepted the return of his goods, their value or the proceeds realized from their sale in settlement of his claim or complaint, the matter should obviously be regarded as ended so far as any pecuniary claim against the British Government is concerned. The propriety of this position was recognized by the Department 8 years ago when in a telegram to the American Embassy at London, dated July 12, 1918,51 it stated that it would be willing to come to an understanding with the British Government to the effect that when owners of goods seized would be willing to receive them under certain conditions including an understanding that no claims resulting from their seizure would subsequently be made on the British Government, the Government of the United States would regard such cases as finally adjusted so far as concerns pecuniary claims therefor.

Rule 7a. This category speaks for itself. In these cases information regarding the alleged seizure or detention was furnished to the Department from the American Embassy at London. It was communicated to the reputed American party at interest but never acknowledged or made the basis of any complaint.

Rule 7b. I was informed in London that in cases falling within this category it is still possible for an American claiming title to obtain the release of his goods or their proceeds by proving his title through appropriate proceedings in the Prize Court, or before the Custodian of Enemy Property to whom many such items have been transferred as of presumed German ownership for credit in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. In these circumstances an adequate remedy is still available for the adjustment of complaints of this nature.

Rule 7c. There is clearly no ground for action by the Department of State in cases falling within this category.

[Page 279]

Rule 7d. These cases were settled by direct negotiation between the British and Swedish Governments, the latter representing the Swedish owners or insurers of the goods in question. It would thus appear that there is no American interest involved.

Rule 7e. These cases include those covered by the Packers Agreement and the arrangement under which the British authorities purchased cotton cargoes. As stated above, I have copies of the receipts given by American shippers acknowledging full and final settlement of all claims arising out of the cotton arrangement.

Rule 7f. In these cases the complainant has had his day in court and has been content to abide the result. There is no reason why the Department of State should seek to reopen them.

Rule 7g. In these cases the complainants may properly be held to have slept on their rights, if any.

Rule 7h. This rule is self-explanatory.

Rule 7i. This rule is self-explanatory.

It will be noted from the data on page 3852 that of the 2658 cases which have been the subject of my inquiries, 2501 are susceptible of elimination by the application of the above mentioned rules. This leaves a residue of 157 cases for further consideration, included in which are 62 concerning which information has not yet been obtained from the British authorities. The appropriate Departments of the British Government are examining their records with reference to 9 of these cases (Case Nos. 78, 285, 539, 1082, 1300, 1334, 1396a, 1696a, 1949) in respect of which data may prove to be available in London, and will report thereon as soon as they have completed their search. None of these 9 cases involves the blockade question in any way. Information with respect to the other 53 can only be obtained from the sources indicated below:

[Page 280]
South Africa Prize Court
23II, 437, 825, 851I, 1244, 1898,
2061I, 2065I, 2087I, 2089.
Gibraltar Prize Court
113, 254, 521I, 555I, 586, 613, 667,
708VII, 708VIII, 821, 851II, 878,
895, 1034, 1043, 1081, 1207, 1302,
1420, 1687, 1773, 1983, 2072, 2118.
Malta Prize Court
119, 984, 985, 986.
Calcutta Prize Court
521II, 521V, 1601.
Bombay Prize Court
Egypt Prize Court
1338, 1361, 1467II.
Melbourne Prize Court
Adelaide Prize Court
Halifax Prize Court
British East Africa
1183, 1422A.

Of the 53 cases listed immediately above, 33 are no more than contemporary requests for the Department’s assistance in obtaining the release of shipments made prior to August 4, 1914, on German vessels and detained on such vessels. In none of these 33 cases has any complaint been made to the Department within the last 10 years, or has a formal claim ever been filed with the Department. The other 20 cases present a variety of facts but in only one instance has a formal claim been filed, and in only one other case has the complainant written to the Department as recently as 1921, most of the correspondence terminating in 1919 or before. It does not appear, therefore, that any serious questions are presented by these 53 cases.

This leaves for further consideration at this time only 95 cases, and these are listed and classified in the following table, which also shows the amount claimed by the complainant wherever such amount has been stated.

detention of ships and cargo—43 cases

[Page 281]
Case No.
18 Detention of goods ex S.S. Ogeechee $962.41
31 Detention of S.S. Ausable 15,153.90
95 XIII Detention of S.S. Camino and crew 18,053.39
188 Detention of S.S. Seguranca 81,000.00
564 I Detention of S.S. Alfred Noble 302,296.00
564 II Detention of S.S. Bjornstjerne Bjornson 329,265.00
564 III Detention of S.S. Fridland 255,244.00
564 IV Detention of S.S. Kim 359,464.00
564 IX Detention of S.S. Sandefjord
564 X Detention of S.S. Fram
698 Detention of schooner Richard W. Clark (£1755), say 8,500.00
703 Detention of S.S. Leelanaw 14,400.00
710 IV Detention of cargo ex S.S. Leelanaw 38,295.60
805–819 International Harvester Co. claims 100,236.75
829 Detention of S.S. Chr. Knudsen 12,259.98
830 Detention of S.S. F. J. Lisman 5,196.60
833 Detention of S.S. F. J. Lisman 622,871.68
834 Detention of S.S. Seaconnet 506,132.00
883 Detention of cargo ex S.S. Celtic King 2,959.29
903 I Detention of cargo ex S.S. Aenne Rickmers
903 II Detention of cargo ex S.S. Helgoland
903 III Detention of cargo ex S.S. Derflinger
903 IV Detention of cargo ex S.S. Altair
1270 Detention of Schooner Speedwell $9,056.02
1306 Detention of goods ex S.S. Ogeechee 855.37
1397 Detention of S.S. Ogeechee 12,166.67
1881 Detention of S.S. Olaf 4,183.33
2017 Detention of S.S. Southerner 81,010.93
2063 Detention of S.S. Olaf 1,358.98

requisition of vessels chartered by americans—20 cases

Case No.
82 Requisition of chartered S.S. Glenroy 20,000.00
84 Requisition of chartered S.S. Adriatic
95–VIII Requisition of chartered S.S. Vienna 11,292.81
95–IX Requisition of chartered S.S. Bellorado 111,221.95
95–X Requisition of chartered S.S. Strathcarron 118,227.63
95–XI Requisition of chartered S.S. Bellasco 59,704.09
95–XII Requisition of chartered S.S. Bellagio
137 Requisition of chartered S.S. Heighington
436 Requisition of chartered S.S. Vienna 40,194.53
564–VI Requisition of chartered S.S. Isle of Mull
564–VII Requisition of chartered S.S. Frankmere
585 Requisition of chartered S.S. Duffield
828–I Requisition of chartered S.S. Rosalind (£153,463) say 750,000.00
828–II Requisition of chartered S.S. Georgian Prince (£190,619) say 900,000.00
1367 Requisition of chartered S.S. Eupion
1654 Requisition of chartered S.S. Jerseymoor 6,609.56
1710 Requisition of chartered S.S. Sowell 100,000.00
1780 Requisition of chartered S.S. Maresfield
1959 Requisition of S.S. Canastota
2062 Requisition of chartered S.S. Windermere 60,220.98

sequestration of property (debts)–3 cases

Case No.
74 Austro-American Magnesite Company claim for debt owed to it and taken over by Custodian of Enemy Property—£994.11.6 say 4,500.00
165 Claim on Custodian of Enemy Property £1435.3.7, say 7,000.00
1027 Claim for £203.16.11 sequestered by Custodian Enemy Property, say 1,000.00

loss of vessels and/or cargo—10 cases

[Page 282]
Case No.
10–I S.S. Canadia, loss of cargo 11,022.00
242 S.S. Canadia, loss of 154,470.00
315 S.S. Jacob Luckenbach, loss of
612–XIII S.S. Edna case
766 S.S. Edna 670,807.50
800 S.S. Canadia, claim by insurance company
1006 S.S. Jacob Luckenbach, loss of $814,032.91
1135 S.S. Edna case
1736 S.S. Llama, loss of 148,000.00
1789 S.S. Edna 670,807.50

losses from seizure, condemnation and/or sale of goods—15 cases

Case No.
27 Formal claim of American Smelting & Refining Company on account of condemnation 350 tons lead ex. S.S Kronprinzessin Cecilie £6,862.19.11 say 35,000.00
1015 I Losses on fruit sold ex S.S. Albis (£1621.15.2) say 8,000.00
1015 II Losses on fruit sold ex S.S. Cygmus (£43.19.2) say 200.00
1015 III Losses on fruit sold ex S.S. Lapland (£990.12.10) say 4,900.00
1015 V Losses on fruit sold ex S.S. Seguranca (£1109.0.5) say 5,500.00
1015 VI Losses on fruit sold ex S.S. Gerd (£234.11.6) 1,100.00
1015 VII Losses on fruit sold ex S.S. Soerland (£179.3.6) say 800.00
1088 Sale of parcel post packages, loss from 2,019.20
1470 Robert College claim for loss of goods 4,921.68
1753 Condemnation of goods, loss from 2,992.00
1951 Condemnation of goods, loss from 850.45
2074 Seizure of shipment ladies’ shoes 2,250.76
2103 Cargo condemned ex S.S. Falk 15,076.60
2104 Cargo condemned ex S.S. Seaconnet 31,988.60
2105 Cargo condemned ex S.S. Taurus 6,442.97

personal injuries—1 case

Case No.
543 Personal injuries in occupied Germany 5,000.00

requisition of property in england—2 cases

Case No.
1137 Midland Linseed Products Co. claim (£72,825.7.6 say 360,000.00
1943 Requisition of S.S. San Pablo at shipyard

destruction of oil wells in rumania—1 case

Case No.
1754 Rumanian oil wells, Destruction of

Many of these 95 cases have been retained in the residue of cases calling for further consideration principally because they have been made the subject of a formal claim to the Department. I do not, however, regard them all as possessing such merit as to call for espousal by the Department of State or even for formal discussion [Page 283] with the British authorities. My views with respect to them are as follows:

1. Cases Involving Detention of Ships and/or Cargo.

I was informed in London that the British Prize Court has jurisdiction over all claims for damage due to interferences with ships or their cargo and can not only decree the restitution of the ship or the release of the cargo, but can also award damages arising out of the detention. Every claimant in this group of cases, therefore, has had available to him an appropriate local remedy for the injuries complained of As there is no stipulated time limit within which an action of this kind must be brought in the Prize Court, this remedy is still available. My feeling is that in all the circumstances the claimants interested in this class of case should be required to press their claims in accordance with the established British procedure, and that in the absence of a conclusive showing that there has been a denial of justice, as that term is understood in international law, such judicial determination of the cause should be regarded by the Government of the United States as finally disposing of the claim.

Regardless of the question of general principle, however, any examination of these cases on their merits could not but result in the elimination of a considerable number. For example, the interested party in the cases involving the detention of the Alfred Noble, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Fridland, Kim, Sandefjord, and Fram is the Gans Steamship Company, a concern which was almost wholly German in its interests and affiliations. Even if the fact of its American incorporation affords technical justification for the espousal of its claims by the Department of State, the record of its activities during the war and the German nationality of practically all of its stockholders make it difficult to see how the Government of the United States can properly press claims against the British Government for the benefit of that corporation. These vessels and their cargo were the subject of protracted litigation in the British Prize Court with the result that in nearly every instance there was a decree of condemnation. In the case of the Fram, the Gans Steamship Company made claim in the Prize Court on June 22, 1916, for detention damage, but after the British authorities had filed an affidavit of defense (See Appendix B for the text of this affidavit53) the company withdrew its claim and paid the Crown’s costs without further ado.

In the case of the claim for the detention of the F. J. Lisman, the facts as reported to me by the Procurator General’s office indicate that the vessel entered the port of London voluntarily on June 8, 1915, and thus came within British jurisdiction as the result of its [Page 284] own option. A large part of the cargo was seized and part of the seized cargo was later condemned. The vessel was released July 10, 1915. A claim for detention damage was filed in Prize Court and dismissed November 19, 1919. Leave to appeal was granted March 9, 1920, but no appeal was taken.

In the case of the Seaconnet, the vessel was detained from June 14, to July 8, 1915. A large part of her cargo was seized and condemned. A claim in Prize Court for detention damage was dismissed September 21, 1920. Leave to appeal was granted, but no appeal was taken.

The other cases in this category involve relatively small amounts.

2. Cases Involving the Requisition of Vessels Chartered by Americans.

As a matter of policy I feel that this Government should not question the right of a sovereign nation to requisition in case of national emergency vessels registered under its flag, and chartered to aliens, without exposing itself to claims for damages due to loss of profits which might otherwise have accrued to the charterers. This is a right which the United States may well desire to exercise in the future. The 20 cases in this category should not, therefore, in my opinion be pressed against the British Government.

As a matter of law, the same conclusion seems to follow from the decision of Judge Hough in The Claveres[k] (264 Fed. 276) to the effect that the charter party under which that vessel was operating in the service of an American corporation was terminated by frustration immediately upon the requisition of the vessel by the British Government. It seems to be recognized that in the case of ordinary commercial charter parties not amounting to charter parties by demise—and I understand that the charter parties under which the requisitioned vessels were operating in the service of the American charters were in the ordinary commercial form—the charterers have no property in the vessel but only a contractual right to order the master to perform voyages with her for their benefit and profit. In legal contemplation, therefore, Judge Hough held that the chartered vessel when requisitioned was taken or received from the owner and not from the charterer. He stated that “subject to the chartered rights of the Earn Line the ship master was the owner’s master and the ship through that master in the owner’s possession” (264 Fed. 276, 280). Further information on this subject is contained in a memorandum which I brought with me from London citing certain British authorities, and also in the texts of two decisions of the defense of the Realm Losses Royal Commission denying compensation to the charterers of requisitioned vessels. Copies of these decisions are also among my papers.54

[Page 285]

3. Cases Involving the Sequestration of Property.

The three eases in this category present the same question, namely, the nationality that should be attributed to a corporation organized under the laws of one country but owned by nationals of another country. The corporations in these three cases were either German or Austrian, but were owned by Americans. Property belonging to the corporation was sequestrated by the British authorities as being enemy property, and has been dealt with under the appropriate provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. The action of the British authorities is consistent with the generally accepted rules, and I am not in favor of espousing these cases.

4. Cases Involving the Loss of Vessels and/or Cargo.

These 10 cases all involve the loss of the Canadia, the Jacob Luckenbach, and the Llama, or the case of the Edna. I regard the British Government as properly chargeable with the damages sustained by American nationals in connection with these cases, and I recommend their formal consideration.

5. Cases Involving Losses From Seizure, Condemnation, and/or Sale of Goods.

None of the 15 cases in this group impresses me as conspicuously meritorious. In 9 cases the issue has been heard by the Prize Court which rendered a decision adverse to the claimant, and in only 1 case (No. 27) was an appeal taken. This appeal was not successful. I have read the decisions in that case (Lloyd’s Prize Cases, Volume IV, pages 409 and 425) and am of the opinion that the evidence justified the Crown’s contention that the lead in question was enemy owned when seized. I find, therefore, no denial of justice. The other 6 cases involve alleged losses due to the sale of fruit at prices less than the shipper expected to receive at destination. In one case the fruit was sold in Copenhagen and in the others in England where the proceeds were released to the claimant. No formal claim has ever been presented to the Department, the nearest approximation to a statement of a specific claim being a one page tabulation submitted in 1919 by the claimant’s London representatives to the American Consulate General setting forth the amounts of the alleged losses. “With respect to one of the shipments listed in that tabulation it appears from the records of the Admiralty Marshal that the claimants two years later gave a receipt acknowledging full settlement by the British Government.

6. Personal Injuries.

This case presents no particular difficulty. It should be discussed with the British Government and either settled or withdrawn as the facts may justify.

[Page 286]

7. Requisition Cases.

I regard the claim of the Midland Linseed Products Company as meritorious. It should be reserved for formal consideration. The other case in this category has never been made the basis of a claim and there has been no correspondence with the complainant in the past 10 years. It seems reasonably certain, therefore, that the owners have been compensated by the British Government for the requisition of the S. S. San Pablo at the shipyard where she was constructed. I have not as yet, however, any definite information on this point.

8. Destruction of Rumanian Oil Wells.

The last note from the British Foreign Office on the subject of this claim makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the Department to press it further as a claim against the British Government.55 In the absence of any evidence from the Standard Oil Company throwing a different light on the case, I feel that the matter should be dropped so far as presentation of a claim against Great Britain is concerned.


As indicated above, I am of the opinion that 83 of the 95 cases which have been reserved for the Department’s further consideration can properly be eliminated for the reasons stated. The remaining 12 cases include 11 which seem to me to possess conspicuous merit, namely, the case of the Midland Linseed Products Company and those involving the Canadia, the Jacob Luckenbach, the Edna, and the Llama. The twelfth case is No. 543 and is based upon alleged personal injuries in occupied Germany. It should be easily disposed of.

I should not close this report without recording the fact that I was accorded the most whole-hearted and cordial cooperation by all officials of the British Government with whom I came into contact during my mission. At no time did I find any reluctance to supply the information I desired or any unwillingness to discuss fully the effects and implications of the facts disclosed by my inquiry. I cannot speak too warmly of the spirit with which my investigation was met or of the unfailing courtesy which was displayed by everyone. In my discussions with responsible officials like Sir William Tyrrell I gathered the impression that the British Government was keenly desirous of reaching a settlement which would close once and for all the question of war time claims between the two Governments, and I am confident that if the problem can continue to be examined with good will on both sides, a satisfactory formula will be found for its solution. As pointed out, however, in the report which I [Page 287] submitted to Mr. Olds in London last September,55a there seem to be two fundamental considerations in the minds of the British authorities. The first is that the British Government will not admit that the legality of any of its acts in blockading Germany is open to question by the Government of the United States, and the second is that in view of the political dangers inherent in this entire problem, any settlement requiring an appropriation of funds by Parliament to pay “blockade” claims as such, would, as a matter of practical politics, be impossible. It seems to be generally felt that any British Government which requested an appropriation for this purpose would fall, as would any Government which admitted that the legality of the British Navy’s operations during the war was open to question. In these circumstances it seems certain that any proposal by the Government of the United States for the settlement of the claims question which does not take full account of these two elements of the situation will be foredoomed to failure. On the other hand it seems to me that the British Government will accept a formula which does not raise the question of the validity of the blockade, and which permits the settlement of meritorious claims, either through a lump sum adjustment, or through a balancing of accounts between the two Governments.

There is one further aspect of the matter to which the Department should give attention and that is the position of the United States as a belligerent in the next war. We are one of the principal naval forces of the world and should we be involved in another war it would be to our interest to have our naval forces free to operate in any way which would render them most effective against the enemy. We shall undoubtedly find it necessary to restrict neutral maritime commerce with our enemy, and I think it can safely be said that our efforts in that direction might be wholly ineffectual if we limited ourselves to visit and search on the high seas. We shall unquestionably want to pursue very much the same procedure as that followed by the British. In these circumstances we should take no general position in our present discussions which might later hamper our freedom of action in case of emergency.