740.00111A Combat Areas/177: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

490. Strictly personal for the President from Naval Person.

“Very many thanks for your most kind letter of February 1 [2?].36 Since on January 29 I gave orders to the fleet not to bring any American ships into the zone you have drawn around our shores, many of the other departments nave become much concerned about the efficiency of the blockade, and the difficulties of discriminating between various countries. The neutrals are all on them and they are all on me. Nevertheless the order still stands and no American ship has been brought by the navy into the danger zone. But you can imagine my embarrassment what [when?] Moore McCormack Line actually advertise in Norway that they do not have to worry about navicerts or Kirkwall, and when all the Scandinavian countries complain of discrimination in American favor. I wonder whether there is any way in which the Moore McCormack Line could be persuaded, in addition to accepting navicerts as a general rule, not to carry mails for Scandinavia until the arrangements we are trying to make at St. John, [Page 30] New Brunswick, or elsewhere, are ready. All our experience shows that the examination of mails is essential to efficient control as only in this way can we get the evidence of evasion. I do hope that I may be helped to hold the position I have adopted by the American shipping lines availing themselves of the great convenience of navicerts which was an American invention and thus enable American trade to proceed without hindrance.

It is a great pleasure to me to keep you informed about naval matters, although alas I cannot have the honor of a talk with you in person.”

  1. Not printed.