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

No. 30

Sir: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 117, May 20, 12 noon, the Embassy made an appointment through the Foreign Office for Mr. Robert M. [Page 8] Morgan, President of the North American Grain Export Association, and Mr. Walter P. Hedden, Chief of the Bureau of Commerce, New York Port Authority, to consult directly with Mr. C. J. Flynn, Assistant Secretary of the Board of Customs and Excise, at the Customs House, London, on May 25, regarding the present difficulties in shipping Canadian grain via United States ports to the United Kingdom.

Messrs. Morgan and Hedden, who called at the Embassy on May 25, had frequent discussions with a member of the Embassy staff and with Mr. Foley, the Embassy’s Agricultural Attaché, regarding the progress of their conversations with the Board of Customs and Excise. On June 2 they informed the Embassy that they had succeeded in obtaining a final agreement with the Board of Customs and Excise as to a modus operandi in exporting Canadian wheat via United States ports.

I enclose copies of a letter dated June 2 from Mr. Hedden to the Embassy,7 reporting the conclusions of their negotiations, together with copies of its enclosure, a memorandum containing the understanding arrived at between Messrs. Morgan and Hedden and Mr. Flynn of the Board of Customs and Excise.

Messrs. Morgan and Hedden sailed for the United States on the S. S. Aquitania today.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy

Memorandum Regarding Entry of Canadian Wheat Exported Via United States Ports

The following memorandum confirms the understanding arrived at in final conversations with Mr. C. J. Flynn of the Board of Customs and Excise on the above date.

Future shipments of Canadian Wheat to the United Kingdom can be granted Imperial Preference only upon final determination of the adequacy of documents submitted in connection with a specific shipment, but the broad general outline of the evidence which will be acceptable to H. M. Government is as under-noted.

The evidence with respect to origin of Canadian wheat has been found to be sufficient in the Brittanic and Laconia shipments and consists of Certificate of Origin (official printed form 119) properly executed. The other essential evidence consists of documents showing through consignment from a point in Canada to a point in the United [Page 9] Kingdom. In general, routing is not important. Interruption in transit is not an impediment.

The documents and circumstances essential to prove through consignment are:—

(1) An order from a buyer or importer in the United Kingdom for a supply of Canadian Wheat

This order may be on a purchase basis or may request shipment to U. K. Port for sale while the Wheat is in transit by the importer to another U. K. purchaser.

The printed form of confirmation ordinarily used by a British buyer must be presented by him with other documents covering shipment when tendered to the Customs for Preference treatment and will specify all terms of his order not included in the official Corn Trade Association form of contract.

The buyer’s order may call for consignment to any port in the United Kingdom, but no document tendered in connection with a shipment may carry any indication that the seller or shipper has the option of shipping to some port outside of the United Kingdom.

In the event of re-sale by the British importer to a miller or other buyer in the United Kingdom, a second order upon the exporter may be attached to show the changed destination in the United Kingdom. Such order might specify a different steamship, different time of forwarding, or different trans-United States carrier, if the Wheat were still at the U. S. Lake port.

Such a supplemental order evidencing sale would be necessary in the event that the Wheat were moved forward on consignment to the British importer and the documents carrying title were still in the hands of the exporter. In such circumstances, a supplemental invoice to the second buyer might also be necessary to accompany the document.

The buyer’s order may be directed to a business office located in the United States (e.g. New York City) providing evidence is furnished of the transmittal of the forwarding order to the Canadian supplier. The mere transmittal of an order by way of a New York house, provided it is satisfied by a bona-fide shipment from Canada subsequent to the date of order and pursuant thereto, will not constitute any impediment to the demonstration of through consignment from Canada to the United Kingdom.

If H. M. Customs desires a copy of the forwarding memorandum, telegram or other communication sent from the New York export office to the Winnipeg or other Canadian supplier’s office, as well as the original British order, such can be supplied.

(2) Invoice from the seller or supplier to the British buyer.

This invoice will be dated on the day when shipment actually goes forward from the Canadian Lake port and will always be subsequent to [Page 10] the date of the British buyer’s order. The invoice will show that the seller has shipped to the buyer in the United Kingdom a quantity of given grade of Canadian wheat. This invoice will show the date when the Wheat was shipped from Canada; also the name of the Lake steamer and the compartment thereof. It will also show the terms of sale, which will be customarily c.i.f. London, Liverpool, or some other U. K. port, although certain deviations may appear, as indicated in the buyer’s order; the invoice in all cases to show shipment conforms to the buyer’s order.

(3) Documents tracing transit across the United States.

The buyer’s order and seller’s invoice, when presented to H. M. Customs in connection with the claim for Empire Preference, will be supported by such documents tracing transit across the United States as may be deemed essential. Since a through Bill of Lading from the Canadian Lake port to the United Kingdom port is not procurable, certain documents in lieu thereof may be submitted, in accordance with the alternative permitted under Customs Regulation No. 12.

Among these are:—

Copy of the Lake Bill of Lading from original point of origin in Canada.
The certificate of non-manipulation and transit under Bond furnished by the United States Customs authorities and visaed by the British Consul.
The certificate from the Grain Elevator in which the shipment has been stored if transit is interrupted.
Copy of the rail or canal Bill of Lading covering the movement from United States Lake port to United States seaboard port.
The ocean Bill of Lading covering movement from United States seaboard port to United Kingdom destination port.

In addition to the above documents evidencing through consignment, it is, of course, understood that the certificate of origin (Form 119), properly executed, or the official Dominion of Canada certificate of grade, will accompany the shipment when presented for entry in the United Kingdom.

  1. Not printed.