The Consul General at Hamburg ( Keblinger ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11:25 p.m.]
198. Department’s telegram No. 136, November 10, 7 p.m. Affidavits executed by consignees of wood pulp shipments in vessels now being held by the German authorities were submitted to the Prize Commissioner yesterday and at the same time he was informed of the Department’s reservations as instructed. The Prize Commissioner expressed himself as satisfied with the affidavits but stated that they must be referred to his superiors in Berlin. He stated that only on November 10 he had been advised by his Ministry that in view of the Department’s apparent reluctance to transmit evidence of American consumption of these cargoes the authorities in Berlin were discussing plans for a new procedure and had instructed the Prize Commission to refer to them all pending decisions on cargoes bound for the United States. He further stated that he was going to Berlin on the 16th when the whole question would be discussed and he was hopeful that he might be able to secure acceptance of the affidavits submitted. Emphatic protest was made to the Commissioner and it was stated that these affidavits had been secured only after considerable difficulty and moreover the Department had been advised several times that he had stated personally that they would be sufficient to gain the release of the steamers concerned. The Prize Commissioner was urged to bring this aspect of the question to the attention of the Berlin authorities and insist at least that the vessels covered by the affidavits be [Page 840] released immediately. He agreed to do so. He again expressed regret that he was unable to fulfill his promise but naturally must bow to the decision of his superiors and it was apparent he resented the fact that the Foreign Office had intervened and his principal assistant was of the opinion that the matter had now become political.
Embassy fully informed.