The Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes) to the Secretary of State

No. 3285

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instructions No. 1293 of February 15, 1928, and No. 1323 of March 2, 1928,53 in connection with the claims of British inventors against the United States Government, and to state that on January 4th the Counselor of this Embassy was asked to call at the Foreign Office and a note with enclosure, copies of which are transmitted herewith, were handed to him. The hope was expressed that the information contained therein supplied all the data desired by the American authorities.

In the conversation regarding these claims with several officers of the Foreign Office, reference was made to the friendly spirit of the negotiations between Sir John Broderick of the British Embassy and Mr. Phenix of the State Department, and these officers expressed their opinion that the State Department’s note, dated July 23, 1928,54 in reply to Sir John Broderick’s Memorandum of January 5, 1928,55 deviated from this spirit in its phraseology and the purely legal points of view set forth therein, more especially in view of the last paragraph of the exchange of notes of May 19, 1927.56

I have [etc.]

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy
[Page 53]

The Head of the American Department, British Foreign Office (Craigie), to the American Chargé (Atherton)

No. A 8366/416/45

My Dear Atherton : You will remember that on February 27th and March 12th last you wrote to me in connexion with the claims of British inventors against the United States Government, seeking certain information in regard to the application of patent law in this country. I now have pleasure in enclosing a memorandum57 replying to the queries contained in your letters, together with one copy each of the First and Second Reports of the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors,58 which I think you will find of interest, particularly paragraphs 13, 14 and 33–38 of the First Report, and 12–14 of the Second Report.

I much regret that there should have been so long a delay in replying to your letters. This was due in part to the technicalities of the issues raised, but I should have been in a position to answer you some months ago had it not been for the State Department note of July 23rd last to Sir Esme Howard in which the Ambassador was informed in categorical terms that the United States Government were unable to consider our suggestion that some body akin to the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors should be set up to deal both with patented and unpatented claims of British inventors. While I have no intention of troubling you with this aspect of the question, I may say that we agree with the Department of State that British claimants in respect of patented inventions enjoy facilities for prosecuting their claims in the United States. As regards unpatented inventions, however, we feel that British subjects are under grave disabilities as matters stand at present, and in this connexion we are supplying Sir Esme Howard with some new facts upon which to base further conversations with the authorities in Washington. I feel confident that when the State Department have had the opportunity to reconsider the matter in the light of this further information, we will experience no difficulty in disposing of these outstanding claims in a manner satisfactory to both Governments.

Yours very sincerely,

R. L. Craigie
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 1000.
  3. Ibid., p. 997.
  4. Ibid., 1927, vol. ii, p. 750.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Great Britain, Cmd. 1112 (1921), Cmd. 1782 (1922).