711.00111 Ship Travel/19

Memorandum by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control (Green)

Mr. Roger Gaucheron, First Secretary of the French Embassy, called me by telephone this morning. He expressed anxiety at reports which had reached the Embassy that ships scheduled to depart for Djibouti were being detained at American ports.

I told Mr. Gaucheron that this was not the case and explained that the probable basis of the report was an instruction sent by the Treasury to the collectors of customs directing them to detain, pending examination and instructions, any shipments of arms, ammunition, and implements of war consigned to Djibouti. I explained that the only purpose of this instruction was to ensure the enforcement of the President’s Proclamation prohibiting the exportation of arms to Ethiopia.

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Mr. Gaucheron said that the instruction to the collectors of customs was an entirely reasonable precaution and he thanked me for explaining the facts of the case. He said that he was telegraphing his Foreign Office as he feared that the reports that ships intending to sail for Djibouti were being detained, might cause complications.

Joseph C. Green