The Secretary of State to the Consul at Gibraltar (Chapman)
10. Your No. 24, November 24. Department approves your course of action with respect to vessels which left United States after date of neutrality act November 4 since by that act American vessels are prohibited from carrying cargo to belligerent ports in the Mediterranean, and if they are compelled to violate that law it should be under such circumstances as clearly constitute force majeure, which fact should be recorded by protest and log record.
With respect to vessels which left United States before November 4, if any, you might witness relative documents in purely administrative capacity, making clear by necessary official record that your action is not to be interpreted as in any manner indicating official sanction of the action of belligerent authorities.