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Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington, to the British Admiralty

13th August 7


Commodore G.R.A. Gaunt,

     C.M.G., R.N.,

British Liaison Officer,


     With reference to your letter of the 5th ultimo on the general Naval situation in the U.S.A.1 I am to observe that, as the examination of neutral ships bound to neutral ports must continue, and as the United States are not prepared to carry it out, the duty will continue to devolve on the British authorities. American ships sailing for Scandinavia are very few in number, chiefly oilers. The examination which the American authorities are prepared to undertake will not relieve the congestion at Halifax, and the proposal is therefore not of much value.

     2.-  Since your letter under reply was written an Admiralty paper on Naval policy has been communicated to the Navy Department through Admiral Sims.2

By Command of Their Lordships.

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1437. Document reference number: “W. 09253/17.”

Footnote 1: The British Admiralty was furious that the United States government refused to examine neutral vessels. The Admiralty believed that American inspection would save 30,000 tons of shipping capacity and cut 16 days off the 76 days it took on average for a ship to make an Atlantic round trip. The Director of the Trade Division, Admiral Richard Webb, threatened to impose inspection and intentionally slow Belgian relief vessels in order to force the American government to comply. See, Arthur Balfour to Cecil Spring-Rice, 13 August 1917, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1437, and Richard Webb to Arthur Balfour, 13 August 1917, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1437.

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