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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1920

Great Britain,   pp. [601]-704 PDF (36.5 MB)

Page 602

that I have to-day forwarded a partial reply.2  The Procurator
General has promised to give me a practically complete list of pend-
ing cases, a good many of which are being dealt with by London
law firms, and of which I have little or no knowledge. The Crown's
legal advisers are not particularly enthusiastic over the suggestion
of a general settlement of the cases upon which they have put a
good deal of work for, perhaps, comprehensible reasons, but I
strongly suspect that if the matter becomes one of formal negocia-
tion we shall have no difficulty in coming to some kind of under-
I have suggested in my reply, which has now gone forward, that
all westbound goods owned by American firms and held under the
Order in Council of March 11, 1915, be released, and that in the
large number of cases in which such goods already have been released
against deposits, the deposits be returned. I have further suggested
that eastbound post parcels should be returned to senders in the
United States unless enemy ownership is already admitted, and
that if there exist cases of doubtful ownership such eastbound parcels
shall be returned to the Department of State to be dealt with in that
Department at its discretion.
As to Prize Court cases which have been prepared and are actually
ready for trial, I venture to propose the appointment of a committee
of three upon which there should be at least one American to decide
whether the proceedings shall continue or be quashed, and further
to deal with any other questions arising out of Prize Court proceed-
ings under any head.
From an informal conversation at the Procurator General's office
I gather that his Department will object to any general scheme of
effecting releases unless each release shall carry with it a guarantee
of immunity from any claim for damages.
I have [etc.]                           ROBERT P. SKINNER
The Consul General at London (Skinner) to the Secretary of State
No. 4753                     LONDON, September 11, 1917.
[Received September 28.]
SIR: I have the honor, with further reference to my dispatch No.
4443, dated July 10, 1917, File No. 350,3 on the subject of the release
of certain parcels of needles upon deposit of the invoice value of
the merchandise in the British Prize Court, to report that this office
has had some correspondence with H.M. Procurator General on the
2The partial reply was forwarded in a telegram dated June 14 (file no.
3 Not printed.

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