Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Moffat)

Mr. Mallet, Counselor of the British Embassy called this afternoon. Among other things he brought up the question of the censorship in Trinidad of transit mail carried by Pan American Airways, concerning which the Secretary of State had spoken to the Ambassador by telephone on September 26.59

Lord Lothian had this morning received a telegram from Lord Halifax60 that the British Government had decided that no transit mails arriving in the West Indies by sea or by air shall be censored. The Governors of the British Colonies have been informed. While saying this Lord Halifax added that the decision was based on a desire to be as accommodating as possible to the United States Government, and to place as liberal an interpretation as possible on regulations necessary for the prosecution of the war. Nevertheless as regards the legal principles involved the British Government “must maintain its right to apply censorship regulations to mails on ships or aircraft which voluntarily arrive in British territory.”

I thanked Mr. Mallet for the information given me as to the West Indies, but added that this did not necessarily mean agreement with the legal principles stated. In fact, I was fearful that the question of the treatment of American mails might have to loom fairly large in our conversations.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. Secretary Hull in the telephone conversation of September 26 told Lord Lothian, the British Ambassador, that the legal staff of the State Department did not feel that the British had any right to interfere with such mail. Memorandum of the conversation not printed (844G.711/3).
  2. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.