Doc. 40.-the destruction of cotton.
The rights of neutrals.
Government of the United States, and passive attitude of neutral nations whose rights have been violated by the United States, have satisfied us that, if cotton belonging to neutrals be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy, it will be seized and appropriated by them regardless of neutral rights, and that neutral powers will fail to afford any protection to the rights of their subjects when thus violated. If, however, as you suggest, any official assurance shall be formally communicated by the government of any neutral nation to this nation, of a nature to satisfy us that cotton belonging to the subjects of such neutral nation shall be effectually protected against seizure and appropriation by the enemy, if allowed to fall into his possession, this Government will have no hesitation in issuing instructions to refrain from the destruction of such cotton, even when exposed to seizure by the enemy. I am your obedient servant,