The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany (Kirk)
846. Your 1914, November 2, 10 a.m. The vessels carrying Finnish pulp for American consumption have now been detained for varying periods up to and exceeding one month. The continued detention of [Page 836] these cargoes is working great injury to American importers whose stocks are already depleted almost to the point of exhaustion. The recent detention of the Geisha, Eros, and Frode with their cargoes of Swedish pulp will aggravate this already serious situation.
Since important American industries, including newspapers, are vitally dependent upon a reasonably free flow of imported pulp, it is obvious that unless these detained shipments can come forward without further delay, and unless a procedure can be devised to expedite the passage of future shipments from Scandinavia, American importers may be driven to seek supplies in the nearest substitute market, Canada, which up to a few years ago was the United States’ principal pulp supplier.
We have on no occasion raised any objection to absolutely necessary delays by the German authorities in examining cargoes destined to the United States and have sought to work out a mutually satisfactory procedure to expedite the clearance of such cargoes. We thought that there was considerable merit in the procedure proposed by the Prize Commissioner. We are still of the opinion that this procedure, providing as it does for a determination by German consular officers of the ultimate destination of the shipments, would be most satisfactory from the German standpoint.
We cannot understand, therefore, the continued delay of the German authorities in putting into effect a procedure which was suggested by the German Prize Commissioner himself as a means of expediting action.
This whole question, which incidently involves the only instance up to the present time of interference by any belligerent with innocent cargoes destined for the United States, has become so pressing that you are requested again to urge upon the Foreign Office the desirability of issuing early instructions in the premises to the German consular officers in the United States or of proposing a satisfactory alternative method of handling these shipments.
In your discretion you may use the foregoing considerations in your conversations with the Foreign Office.