The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Henderson) to the American Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes)62
Your Excellency: I have the honour to refer to Mr. Belin’s letter of the 14th September last63 to Mr. Thompson regarding the claims of certain British inventors against the United States Government, and in reply to state that I am now in possession of the views of the competent departments of His Majesty’s Government on the questions raised in the above communication.
- In the first place, besides the claims of Commander Gwynne, Mr. Sturgeon, Mr. H. J. Taylor, Captain Usborne, R. N., Lieutenant Kilroy, Lieutenant Colonel Newton and Mr. J. L. Brodie which have already been recorded in notes exchanged between His Majesty’s Embassy in Washington and the State Department,64 His Majesty’s Government have knowledge of six other possible claims of the same character: a claim of Mr. T. Graham and Sir E. H. Tennyson d’Eyncourt in respect of a design for fabricated ships sent to the Emergency Fleet Corporation in Washington in 1918, a claim of Sir James Henderson in respect of Firing Gear invented by him, a claim of Messrs. Thornycroft and Company, Limited, in respect of Depth Charge Throwers, a claim of Mr. P. L. H. Davis in respect of navigational tables, and a claim of Lieutenant Davidson, R.N.V.R., in respect of a system of cyphering invented by him. Finally, with regard to the claim of Commanders Riley, Sherman and Mock in respect of Mines and Depth Charges invented by them, it is understood that while thirty thousand dollars have been paid to these officers by the United States Government, dispute exists as to whether this payment covered both war-time and post-war use or only the latter.
- His Majesty’s Government are prepared to accept the findings of a tribunal organised by the United States Government to examine these claims for final adjudication and, while they cannot bind the individual claimants to accept the awards, they undertake not to re-open through the diplomatic channel any claims so adjudicated and, in cases where an award is made, paid. His Majesty’s Government further understand that the awards of the tribunal would be submitted to Congress for action without guarantee that they would [Page 57] be paid; nevertheless His Majesty’s Government would not consider themselves debarred from further diplomatic representations should Congress fail to give effect to the awards of the tribunal. His Majesty’s Government feel confident, however, that this is an unlikely contingency, as they assume that in the event of awards being submitted to the legislature for payment, the United States Government would use their best endeavours to obtain the necessary appropriations.
- Though they cannot affect the liberty of the individual claimants to make claims, His Majesty’s Government are prepared to give an assurance that they will not press any claims diplomatically other than those mentioned in the second paragraph of this note, with the exception of claims (if any) which have, without the cognizance of His Majesty’s Government, already been presented to the United States Government direct.
I have [etc.]