740.00111A Combat Areas/124

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Subject: Inspection of American Vessels.

I took up this question with the President on January 15 and the President instructed me to tell the British Ambassador that this Government could not even tacitly acquiesce in the taking of American ships to Halifax for inspection since Halifax was a port included within the zone laid down in the Declaration of Panama. The President requested me to add in my conversation with Lord Lothian, which I did immediately thereafter, that if St. Johns were the port selected by the British Admiralty, the Government of the United States would hold the British Government accountable for any damages which might be incurred by American vessels being so diverted from their normal course through the danger of icebergs or collisions in the fog which was so frequent in that region. The British Ambassador informed me that he would communicate the opinions of this Government to his Government.

S[umner] W[elles]