800.115(39)/282: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy ( Phillips ) to the Secretary of State

551. The S. S. Exochorda is being held at Gibraltar because she has on board 45 tons tin plate which is called absolute contraband. According to the captain the British authorities refuse to unload it at Gibraltar but want the ship to carry it to Marseille or to hold it at the disposal of the British Government in an Italian port. The manager for Europe of the Export Lines says the ship cannot enter Marseille east bound without violating Neutrality Act and that his contract with shippers lays him open to suit for heavy damages if he refuses to deliver the merchandise to consignee in Italy. Until this impasse is solved the British apparently will hold ship at Gibraltar.

The New York office of the Export Lines, as well as the Embassy in London, are said to be in possession of the full facts in the case.