811.113 Senate Investigation/249

The British Ambassador (Lindsay) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: In obedience to instructions which I have received from my Government I beg to refer to discussions which have proceeded recently between us in regard to the investigations, now in course or alleged to be imminent, by the Senate Committee on the Munitions Industry, into correspondence which passed during the War between my Government or its agents and various New York Firms, viz. the Bankers Trust Company, the City Bank Farmers Trust Company, the Guaranty Trust company, and J. P. Morgan and Company.

I do not feel competent to discuss the aspects of this question which are governed by domestic American law. These I understand have been fully submitted to you and I venture to call your earnest attention to them, confining myself at present to reserving and claiming on behalf of my Government whatever rights may accrue to it in this matter whether under the domestic law of the United States or under international law.

On more general grounds however I am instructed by my Government to protest against the proposed investigation of the Morgan correspondence which, to the best of my knowledge, has not yet been ordered. I am to point out to you how undesirable it would be on grounds of international comity that a Legislative Committee should conduct such an enquiry into transactions effected long ago by a friendly Government through its financial agents in the United States. It is true that the business transacted was a matter of public knowledge at the time, and that if enquiry were to take place there is nothing which my Government would wish to hide; but Sir John Simon9 feels justified in insisting that in view of the present delicacy of the international situation the gratuitous revival of controversies long since obsolete would be more than inopportune. It is therefore my duty to deprecate strongly the suggested investigation, and I beg to express the hope that you will agree with the view of my Government and use your good offices in whatever manner you may think suitable to forestall the enquiry.

Very sincerely yours,

R. C. Lindsay
  1. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.