The Consul General at Hamburg (Keblinger) to the Secretary of State
[Received 1:45 p.m.]
174. The substance of the Department’s telegram No. 739, October 20, 7 p.m., to Berlin, has been communicated to the Prize Commissioner. The following arrangement for release of cargoes of wood pulp now being detained was agreed upon provisionally pending approval by the Department and German consular officers: Consignee should present to a German Consul in the United States contracts of purchase and, if he is not the consumer, contracts of resale to American consumer. The German Consul should cable American Consul General at Hamburg for communication to the Prize Commissioner the following facts: (1) that he has personally examined the contracts; and (2) that he is satisfied shipments are destined for an American consumer. The arrangement to telegraph this office was specifically recommended by the Prize Commissioner in order to expedite action. In case of future shipments the Prize Commissioner suggested that masters of vessels carrying cargoes of pulp wood to the United States provide themselves with certificates from German Consuls in the United States containing statements (1) and (2) above.
The Prize Commissioner suggested that the American Government endeavor to obtain from the British Government assurances that the latter does not intend to seize neutral cargoes of wood pulp bound for the United States. Although such assurances are not essential to release of detained cargoes, the Prize Commissioner explained that they would be helpful in judging cases in which suspicion had arisen that with connivance of owners or masters the British might seize cargoes of wood pulp skirting the British Isles en route to the United States.
The Prize Commissioner made it clear, however, that every case must be examined individually and that he could give no blanket assurances [Page 829] that in future cargoes of wood pulp bound for the United States would not be detained even if evidence of bona fide American destination and British assurances were presented.
Prize Commissioner urgently requests examination of contracts for cargoes of any kind steamship Vilk (see my 163, October 17, 1 p.m.2), steamship Petsamo and steamship Koura. Pulp Sales Corporation of New York is consignee of cargoes of last two names. These three vessels will be released if examination of contracts proves satisfactory. Examination may be carried out by Department as in case of Minna (see Department’s telegram to me No. 116, October 17, 6 p.m.) or by German Consul as outlined in first paragraph. The steamship Margareta is now free. Investigations continue in other cases mentioned in my 163, October 17, 1 p.m.,3 with exception of steamship Minna already committed for Prize Court proceedings. The steamship Karin Thorden with wood pulp allegedly for the United States is also being detained. Pulp Sales Corporation is consignee of all these cargoes except that of Norwegian vessel Korsnes for which Gottesman; Pagel, Horton and Company; and Perkins, Goodwin are said to be consignees. Their addresses are unknown. Most of these ships will probably be committed for Prize Court proceedings on the charge that they never intended to proceed to the United States inasmuch as they are too small for North Atlantic crossings and are insured only for European waters.