August 25, 1919
Mr. A. Goldstein,
Chairman, Citizens Committee,
In the absence of the Governor I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of August 22nd in regard to profiteering in the City of Wilmington. Immediately upon receipt of telegram from your City a few days ago I wired the United States District Attorney, in the name of the Governor, joining the citizens of Wilmington in earnest request that investigation be made of the situation in your City, with a view to prosecuting vigorously those who are violating the law against profiteering.
This morning the Governor received a letter form the District Attorney in which he said:
"I thank you for calling the matter to our attention and beg to say that we have had some reports from the Wilmington section, and have instructed the Bureau of Investigation to investigate the situation at Wilmington as early as possible."
If the Governor were here I do not think he could do any more, under the circumstances, than to appeal to the United States Department of Justice, which I have done. That Department has the machinery to rigidly enforce the law, and I see no reason why it should not speedily bring the profiteers of Wilmington to a stern and deserved justice. So far the prosecution of profiteers seems to be a Federal Government proposition. There is no special statute in North Carolina against profiteering. The general law may cover some phases of the evil. I have asked the Attorney General for a ruling on that. However, even if the Governor had the authority, under the law, to institute proceedings against profiteers, very little machinery has been provided for the work. The Governor has no special agents that he can send in any county. He would have to depend entirely, I think, on the sheriffs. However, I will be able to advise you more fully as to this after I receive the Attorney General's interpretation of the State law.
I regret very much that the Governor is not here to confer with you personally. He is now in Salt Lake City, Utah, attending the Conference of the Governors of the United States, and I am expecting him to return to the office on or about September 10th. Meanwhile I trust and believe that the agents of the Department of Justice will give you the relief sought.
Yours very truly,