The Under Secretary of State (Cotton) to the Swedish Minister (Boström)

My Dear Mr. Minister: You will recall that on Friday last in my office you and I talked, in the presence of Mr. Castle, on the possible submission to a neutral tribunal of the claim of your Government against the United States for ship detention damages during the last war. I said to you that I was willing to try to agree to a convention to that end, provided we could agree on terms of submission [Page 840] and personnel of the tribunal. I said inter alia (a) that I thought such a tribunal should clearly sit in Washington (where all the evidence is and those familiar with the matter are), (b) that there should be a study by both of us to see if any other question between the two countries should go before the same tribunal (as it would be preferable to clear the slate), (c) that I thought it best to have a tribunal composed of a single judge who should not be a national of Sweden or the United States (although I am not clear as to this point about the number), (d) that I was making a similar proposal for a convention relating to claims of a different character to at least one other European country and would hope that the same person (who would have to be a person generally familiar with American law though not a citizen of the United States) would be selected who could sit on both tribunals—obviously that would minimize our time wasted in the matter.

I threw out the suggestion that if we found difficulty in agreeing on a tribunal, we both might trust our mutual friend, Mr. Massey,17 or someone like him to do it or to select a panel from which a tribunal might be chosen.

To all these suggestions you said nothing but that you would consider the matter, and I think that is the best way to leave it. Neither of us is in the least bound to any such scheme, but we will consider it as a proposal open between us with the idea that when you come back in the autumn you will have talked to your Government concerning its position in regard to such a proposal.

Very sincerely yours,

J. P. Cotton
  1. Vincent Massey, Canadian Minister to the United States.