5 AUGUST 1916, Page 3

The protest is based on the assumption that the British

Govern. ment intend to black-list neutrals doing business with black-listed firms. But Sir Cecil Spring Rico had already made it clear in a supplementary statement, issued before the protest, that it was not our intention to do so unless it was obvious that such firms were acting habitually and systematically as cover for trading between British and black-listed firms. This statement also made it clear that the black list does not affect payment by neutrals to black- listed firms, and that the British Government habitually authorizes British payments to black-listed firms unless it is obvious that such payments are passed to or create credit for the enemy in enemy territory. As these explanations knock the bottom out of the protest, it is not unfairly regarded as a political manceuvro to claim as a diplomatic triumph the breaking in of an open door.