« ПретходнаНастави »
interests or property. The Federal Council, however, does not doubt that the Government of the empire will do all that is necessary to assure in the measure possible the security of Swiss interests and spare the painful consequences which could arise from the blockade for the economic life of the Swiss.
The same note was addressed to the Government of Austria-Hungary.
Brazil's Warning to Germany All the South American republics, while declining to break with Germany at present, sent protests to the Berlin Government. Brazil warned that Government that it would be held responsible for acts against Brazilian citizens or ships. The text of Brazil's note, sent on Feb. 6 by Lauro Muller, the Foreign Minister, is as follows:
I have transmitted to my Government by telegraph your letter of Feb. 3, in which your Excellency informed me of the resolution of the German Imperial Government to blockade Great Britain, its islands, the littoral of France and Italy, and the Eastern Mediterranean by submarines which would commence operations on Feb. 1. Your letter stated that the submarines would prevent all maritime traffic in the zones above tioned, abandoning all restrictions observed up to the present in the employment of means for sea fighting, and would use every military resource capable of the destruction of ships.
The letter of your Excellency said further that the German Government, having confidence that the Government of Brazil would appreciate the reasons for the methods of war which Germany was forced to take on account of the actual circumstances, hoped that Brazilian ships would be warned of the danger they ran if they navigated the interdicted zones, the same as passengers or merchandise on board any other ship of commerce, neutral or otherwise.
I have just been directed to inform your Excellency that the Federal Government has the greatest desire not to see modified the actual situation, as long as the war lasts, a situation in which Brazil has imposed upon itself the rigorous observance of the laws of neutrality since the commencement of hostilities between nations with whom she has had friendly relations. My Government has always observed this neutrality while reserving to itself the right, which belong to it and which it has always been accustomed to exercise, of action in those cases where Brazilian interests are at stake. The unexpected communication we have just received announcing a blockade of wide extent of countries with which Brazil is continually in economic relations by foreign and Brazilian shipping has produced a justified and profound impression through the imminent menace which
it contains of the unjust sacrifice of lives, the destruction of property, and the wholesale disturbance of commercial transactions.
In such circumstances, and while observing always and invariably the same principles, the Brazilian Government, after having examined the tenor of the German note, declares that it cannot accept as effective the blockade which has just been suddenly decreed by the Imperial Government. Because of the means employed to realize this blockade, the extent of the interdicted zones, the absence of all restrictions, including the failure of warning for even neutral menaced ships, and the announced intention of using every military means of destruction of no matter what character, such blockade would neither be regular nor effective and would be contrary to the principles of law and the conventional rules established for military operations of this nature.
For these reasons the Brazilian Government, in spite of its sincere and keen desire to avoid any disagreement with the nations at war, with whom it is on friendly terms, believes it to be its duty to protest against this blockade and consequently to leave entirely with the Imperial German Government the responsibility for all acts which will involve Brazilian citizens, merchandise, or ships and which are proven to have been committeed in disregard of the recognized principles of international law and of the conventions signed by Brazil and Germany.
Chile and Peru Peru demanded reparation and indemnity for the sinking of the Lorton. Chile flatly rejected Germany's pretensions in the “prohibited zone" and reserved liberty of action to protect her rights and her citizens. Uruguay, Bolivia, Panama, and Cuba took similar action. Argentina's reply to the German submarine note declared that she would conform her conduct at sea to her fundamental rights under established international law.
The reply of the Chilean Government, made public on Feb. 7, is as follows:
The Chilean Government has taken cognizance of the note sent to it by his Majesty the German Emperor, in which Chile is informed that Germany has fixed the limits of a blockade area around the coasts of Eng. land, France, and Italy, and in the Eastern Mediterranean. It has been informed also that within said limits Germany will resort to hostile acts against whatever ship is encountered, even if it belongs to a neutral power. Such a
measure, in the opinion of the Chilean Government, amounts to a restriction of the rights of neutrals, to which restriction Chile cannot agree because it is contrary to
the principles that have been long established in favor of neutral nations.
The acceptance by Chile of the measures adopted by Germany would, moreover, divert her from the line of strict neutrality which has been followed during the European conflict.
Chile consequently reserves liberty of action to protect all of her rights in the event of any hostile acts against her ships.
The reply of the Peruvian Government, made public on Feb. 9, declares that it reserves all rights for the protection of Peruvian citizens, ships, and cargoes to which neutrals are entitled under international law. The note continues:
However deplorable may be the extremes to which the belligerents are carrying hostilities now,
under new threats to neutral trade, the Peruvian Government must declare that it cannot admit the resolution of which your Government has given notification, because the Peruvian Government considers it opposed to international law and the legal rights of neutrals.
The recent odious case of the vessel Lorton, which resulted in a claim being made by my Government, proves the error and injustice of the submarine campaign, now generalized in an unacceptable form by the closure of enormous zones of free seas, with serious danger to the lives and interests of neutral countries.
The Peruvian Foreign Minister, Enrique de la Riva Aguero, in replying to the American Minister respecting President Wilson's suggestion that other neutral nations take the same position as the United States on the German submarine campaign, said:
In reply to your Excellency's note of Feb. 9, it gives me pleasure to say that my Government fully appreciates the principles and intentions that guide your Excellency in the present emergency, which are in complete conformity with your note of April 18, and which uphold the defense of the rights of all neutral nations, seriously threatened by the new methods of maritime war now attempted to be established.
My Government trusts that some modification can still be obtained, speeding the way to sentiments of justice and concord which will prevent the bringing upon America the horrors of a war without parallel in history.
The Scandinavian Protest Norway, Sweden, and Denmark answered Germany in an identic note, agreed upon after a joint consultation in Stockholm lasting a whole week. The following official summary of it was made public by the Swedish Government:
On Tuesday, the 13th inst., the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish Governments handed to the German Ministers in their respective capitals notes identical in tenor protesting against the barring of certain sea zones announced by Germany and Austria.
The note begins by recalling the fact that during the war the Governments have several times found themselves obliged to formulate formal protests against serious infringements of the rights of neutrals involved by measures of various belligerent powers. It then emphasizes the fact that the Governments, whose actions on these various occasions were, as always, inspired by the spirit of the most perfeet loyal impartiality, confined themselves to defending the imprescriptable rights of neutrals.
After pointing out that the Governments have on previous occasions protested against measures of belligerents tending to restrict the free use of the seas by neutrals, the note proceeds to emphasize that the Governments on this occasion are all the more bound to maintain, in taking the same point of view, that the obstacles placed in the way of neutral navigation are now more considerable, in both extent and gravity.
The note draws attention to the fact that the only rules of international law which might be invoked in support of measures having as their object the prevention of all commerce and all navigation with the enemy are those relating to a naval blockade. The note affirms that no belligerent has the right to prohibit peaceful navigation through zones the limits of which are very distant from enemy coasts which could be blockaded only in legitimate manner.
The Governments recall the universally recognized law on naval blockade, namely, that a neutral ship cannot be captured if it is not making any attempt to violate the blockade, and that in the event of a ship being captured it must be brought before a prize court in conformity with the general regulations.
The Governments declare their anxiety in regard to the measures which have been announced is aggravated further by the fact that the zones declared dangerous will, it appears, be watched exclusively by submarines, whose activity involves great danger for neutrals' subjects, as has been shown liy experience on various occasions in the course of the war.
Finally, the note points out that the measures announced will be all the more contrary to the principles of international law if, as the tenor of the communications of the Imperial Governments seems to indicate, they are to be applied without distinction to all ships entering the zones described, and consequently to those not bound for enemy ports, but on the way from one neutral port to another.
On the ground of the considerations set forth above, the Governments formally protest against the measures taken by Germany
and Austria-Hungary, and make all reservations with regard to the loss of human lives and to material damage which may result from them.
The note handed to the German Minister at Peking by the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated an intention to follow the lead of the United States in case the latter should enter a state of war with Germany. Observers in Peking have long noted what they believed to be a desire on the part of the Chinese Government to enter the war on the side of the Entente. A dispatch from Tokio on Feb. 11 stated that the Japanese Government would offer no interference with whatever course China might decide to follow. The text of the Chinese note, made public on Feb. 11, is as follows:
The new measures of submarine warfare inaugurated by Germany are imperiling the lives and property of Chinese citizens even
than the measures previously taken, which have already cost China many lives and constitute a violation of international law. The toieration of their application would introduce into international law arbitrary principles incompatible with legitimate intercourse between neutrals and between neutrals and belligerents.
China, therefore, protests energetically to Germany against the measures proclaimed on Feb. 1, and sincerely hopes that the rights of neutral States will be respected and that the said measures will not be carried out. If contrary to expectation this protest be ineffective China will be constrained, to its profound regret, to sever diplomatic relations. It is unnecessary to add that China's action is dictated by a desire for further peace and the maintenance of international law.
A communication explanatory of China's action was also handed to Dr. Paul S. Reinsch, American Minister to China. It follows:
China, like the President of the United States, is reluctant to believe that the Ger
Government will actually execute measures which imperil the lives and property of the citizens of neutral States and jeopardize legitimate commerce, and which tend, if allowed to be enforced without opposition, to introduce new principles into international law. China, being in accord with the principles set forth in your Excellency's note and firmly associating itsell with the United States, has taken similar action by protesting energetically to Germany against the new blockade measures. China also proposes to take such other action in the future as will be deemed necessary for the maintenance of the principles of international law.
Eighteen Days of Ruthless Submarining
SUFFICIENT time has now elapsed since the inception of unrestricted
submarine warfare in accordance with the German announcement of Jan. 31 for us to formulate certain general conclusions. In the first place, it should be remembered that the restriction, which has now been removed, did not check the sinking of ships; it only limited the sinking of ships without previous warning. The present method does not, therefore, necessarily mean the destruction of greater tonnage; it means primarily a greater destruction of life. This would seem to show that the large tonnage destroyed on certain days in February is due, not to the removal of restrictions, not to the omission of warning, (after which the ship would have been sunk in any case,) but rather to the employment of larger numbers of submarines, and also, perhaps, of newer and larger types of submarines.
So far, the losses announced during the month of February, 1917, are as follows:
Ships Sunk. Tonnage. Feb. 1....
13,039 Feb. 2.
7,337 Feb. 3.
10,159 Feb. 4.
2,623 Feb. 5.
8,729 Feb. 6.
44,457 Feb. 7.
30,352 Feb. 8.
21,504 Feb. 9.
10,424 Feb. 10.
22,271 Feb. 11.
1,725 Feb. 12.
8,361 Feb. 13.
*14,896 Feb. 14.
+12,287 Feb, 15.
7,750 Feb. 16.
9,736 Feb. 17.
7,483 Feb. 18..
12,008 *Including the Afric, 11,999 tons. *Including Lyman M. Law, (Amer.)
This makes a total of 117 ships sunk, with a tonnage of 245,140 during the first eighteen days of February; computation at the same average rate gives 200 ships of 408,905 tons for one month, as against the total of 1,000,000 tons a month which is said to be the estimate of the German Admiralty.
The world's total mercantile tonnage is said to be about 48,000,000, of which about 20,000,000 tons are British. Complete destruction of the world's commercial navies, at the average monthly rate given above, would, therefore, require 120 months; or, if we include British tonnage alone, fifty months.
This estimate is based on the supposition that no new ships are built. In reality, new ships are being built almost as fast as ships are sunk. We may illustrate this by the figures for 1915, the year of the Lusitania, when submarine warfare was largely unrestricted and before Britain had made large inroads on the German subsea fleet. The figures
New British Number of 1915. Tonnage. New Ships. Steam 1,461,816
61,934 152 British Losses. British 1915. Tonnage.
Ships Lost. Steam
.1,452,679 741 Sailing
334 So that there was an actual net gain in British steam tonnage in the year 1915, and a small net loss in sailing tonnage.
Great Britain's total mercantile tonnage in December, 1915, was:
Number of Ships. Tonnage. Steam
.12,776 19,154,277 Sailing
844,391 While announcements have been made that Great Britain has for months been making intensive efforts to increase the number of ships built and has simplified and standardized building plans with this end in view, the actual figures do not appear to be available. The fact that since the battle of Jutland—that is, during nine months—Great Britain's losses in warships have been almost negligible has released large energies for the
ilding of new mercantile tonnage that
would otherwise have been employed in building new warships to replace losses. On Feb. 14 a high Admiralty official was quoted as saying:
“ More ships have entered and left English ports in the last few days than for months past. On Feb. 13 more ships arrived and departed than on any day for six months. The average loss since Friday (Feb. 9) was one ship out of every thirty-five. In the English Channel, at a period when a greater number of ships than ever before are plying between British and French ports, the losses in the last two weeks (Feb. 1-14) have been extraordinarily small."
The submarine campaign has had almost as slight an effect on shipping entering and leaving French ports, according to Marcel Hutin, editor of the Echo de Paris. On Feb. 12, M. Hutin says, 112 French and neutral vessels entered French ports—little less than before the unrestricted submarine campaign. These conclusions seem to be supported by the arrival at the Port of New York of considerable groups of British and French ships of large tonnage. It has not been announced whether, or in what way, they were convoyed through the forbidden zone or across the ocean.
Anti-Submarine Defenses Estimates of the numbers of German submarines in action vary from 100 to 300. No trustworthy figures are obtainable, but the number must be considerable. The question, therefore, arises: How have the Entente naval Powers been able to keep the losses down to the very moderate figures above recorded ?
One answer comes from Italy, from Signor Paolo Giordani: “ The invention of nets against submarines is due to the British Admiralty, which, not long ago, after several months of toilful şilence, celebrated the certain sinking of the one hundredth enemy submarine snared in the toils. These nets are most ingenious and formidable."
The nets are towed through the water by small steam fishing boats known as drifters. Great Britain has already mobilized
han 100,000 fishermen,
with at least 3,000 ships. Some hundreds of these drifters have been loaned to Italy. Each drifter drags out and places a section of the net some 1,000 yards long, for which it is responsible. A submarine strikes a piece of net like some blind night-flying beetle. The nearest “drifters " wait a certain time to see if the submarine is prepared to come to the surface and surrender. If not, a bomb is dropped into the water. There is a muffled report, a commotion in the waves, and then all is still. Submarine and net have disappeared, and the returning “ drifter " hoists the black flag to indicate successful fishing. Every “ drifter ” is further armed with a small gun fore and aft, with wireless apparatus and with a megaphone to communicate with its neighbors.
Armed and Armored Boats Next to this netting process come the armed motor boats. These speedy boats have the advantages of rapidity and vision over the submarines. They draw so little water that it is almost impossible to torpedo them. Back and forth, day and night, in calm or storm, these small boats skim in search of submarines. The first motor boats used in this way were pleasure boats impressed into service; recently special boats have been built, larger, faster, more comfortable, more seaworthy; they are painted leaden gray and carry quick-firing guns, machine guns, torpedoes, and sometimes bombs. And next, in ascending order, come torpedo boats, destroyers, cruisers, all of which aid in hunting for submarines. And, further, hydroplanes, armed with bombs which explode thirty or forty feet under water, do good service, not only in sighting submarines but often in destroying them. Every day, especially in the more confined waters of the Mediterranean, squads of airmen fly out over the waves on regular patrol duty.
There remains yet another method which is perhaps the most effective of all. It is described in a communication published on Feb. 10 and accredited to a British expert, who said:
I know personally that as many as two or three submarines have been bagged in one day by light guns in the hands of trained
gunners, mounted on merchant ships. А submarine commander looking through his periscope has a range of vision of about three miles, but he must get his target broadside on to have a reasonable chance of making a torpedo hit what it is aimed at, and as torpedoes are very expensive missiles he cannot afford to take many chances on a miss. A periscope above the water at a distance of 200 or 300 yards makes a fair mark for a gunner working from the deck of a ship thirty or forty feet above the surface of the sea. One shot hitting the mark is all that is needed, as the submarines are of light construction, easily penetrated, and a hole anywhere in the shell spells their doom. It is seldom that a torpedo is fired when a threatened ship can so manoeuvre as to show only her stern for a mark, and in most of the cases of this nature so far reported the submersibles have come to thie surface and resorted to gunfire from thie deck. In this kind of a fight a gun mounted on a steamship has a great advantage, for the platform offered by a submarine is an unsteady thing to fire from, and despite the smaller target offered the gunners on ships have the better of it. Careful observations made during the last year (1916) of steamers mounting defense guns show that they are in a measure immune from attack-unless it is without warning, as in the case of the California. The number of U-boats that the Cermans have lost has made them chary about showing themselves within range of ships on which they see guns, or which they have learned are defensively armed. Other methods of catching submarines, such as nets, bombs, and devices that are Admiralty secrets, are still being used, but the deck gun on steamers in the hands of good marksmen is leading all others in results.
Two conclusions seem to follow from these facts. The figures of losses during the first three weeks of unrestricted submarining show that the average tonnage of ships lost is low, apparently under 2,000 tons per ship. If we deduct the larger ships, like the Afric and the California, the average of ships sunk is considerably under 2,000 tons. It is probable that these small ships are often unarmed. Their large numbers would make this almost necessary.
There are over 12,000 British steamships in commission; with one gun each, this would mean over 12,000 guns, with gun crews; with a gun fore and aft, it would mean 24,000 guns, with crews, to say nothing of the needed structural alterations to support the guns. Here is a large practical difficulty; also, perhaps, the explanation of the fact that the larger steamships seem