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and indicates that ship was not headed toward the submarine even up to the time when the submarine ceased firing. The captain states that the submarine appeared to be maneuvering so as to direcť her shots from ahead of the steamer. The submarine fired approxi. mately 12 shots. The majority of the shots were fired after the ship had stopped and had swung broadside, and while, as even the commander of submarine admits, the steamer was flying the American flag. The captain of the steamer denies that he advised the commander of the submarine that the damage to the steamer was insignificant. He states that he advised him that steamer had been damaged, but that he not then had an opportunity to ascertain the extent of the damage. The seaman who was struck by a fragment of shell sustained severe flesh wounds.
If the ship had intended to ram the submarine, she would not have stopped her engines, and this must have been evident to the submarine commander. Naval authorities here agree that there could have been no donger of the ship ramming the submarine until it was headed straight for the submarine and was under power, and even then the submarine could have so maneuvered as to avoid collision. The Petrolite was 2 miles away from the submarine. The engines and funnel of the Petrolite were at the stern, and from the general appearance of the ship no experienced naval officer could have believed that it had opportunity or sufficient speed to attack, even if it had been steaming directly toward the submarine. The conduct of the submarine commander showed lack of judgment, self-control, or willful intent amounting to utter disregard of the rights of a neutral.
According to the sworn statements of the captain of steamer and a seaman who accompanied him to the submarine, the commander of the latter stated that he mistook the steamer for a cruiser. This statement is at variance with the statement in the Austro-Hungarian Government's note that the captain of the submarine asserted a false maneuver on the part of the steamer prompted the submarine to continue to fire.
The captain of the steamer swears that he informed the commander of the submarine that he had only sufficient provisions to reach the port of Algiers, and that he would deliver provisions only under compulsion. He states positively in his affidavit and in conversation with officials of the department that he did not give provisions readily nor did he say it was the duty of one seaman to help another, and that he refused payment because he felt that he was being compelled to deliver food in violation of law. The statement of the captain of the Petrolite is entirely at variance with the report of the submarine commander. The correctness of the captain's opinion that the wounded seaman was held as a hostage to guarantee the delivery of food seems clear. Obviously the commander of the submarine had no right to order the seaman to remain on board. The fact that this order was given showed that the commander insisted that food was to be delivered to him, otherwise the seaman would naturally have accompanied the captain back to his vessel. The outrageous conduct of the submarine commander and all the circumstances of the attack on the Petrolite warranted the captain in regarding himself as being compelled in order to avoid further violence to deliver food to the commander of the submarine.
In the absence of other and more satisfactory explanation of the attack on the steamer than that contained in the note addressed to you by the foreign office, the Government of the United States is compelled to regard the conduct of the commander of the submarine in attacking the Petrolite and in coercing the captain as a deliberate insult to the flag of the United States and an invasion of the rights of American citizens, for which this Government requests that an apology be made; that the commander of the submarine be punished; and that reparation be made for the injuries sustained by the payment of a suitable indemnity.
Please communicate with foreign office in sense of foregoing.
You may add that this Government believes that the AustroHungarian Government will promptly comply with these requests, in view of their manifest justness and the high sense of honor of that Government, which would not, it is believed, permit an indignity to be offered to the flag of a friendly power or wrongs to its nationals by an Austro-Hungarian naval officer without making immediate and ample amends.
LANSING. About this time the question of the armed merchantmen came up. The custom of permitting merchant vessels to arm for defense was contested by Germany. This matter had received careful and detailed attention soon after the war began, as shown by the following diplomatic correspondence with both England and Germany:
DEFENSIVE ARMAMENT AND THE RIGHT OF DEPARTURE FROM NEUTRAL
PORTS OF BELLIGERENT MERCHANT SHIPS TO ARM AT SEA.
File No. 763.72111/85.
THE BRITISH CHARGÉ TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE. No. 252.]
Washington, August 4, 1914. SIR: In view of the state of war now existing between Great Britain and Germany, I have the honor, under instructions from His Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, to make the following communication to you in respect to the arming of any merchant vessels in neutral waters.
As you are aware, it is recognized that a neutral government is bound to use due diligence to prohibit its subjects or citizens from the building and fitting out to order of belligerent vessels intended for warlike purposes and also to prevent the departure of any such vessel from its jurisdiction. The starting point for the universal recognition of this principle was the three rules formulated in article 6 of the treaty between Great Britain and the United States of America for the amicable settlement of all causes of differences between the two countries, signed at Washington on May 8, 1871. These rules, which His Majesty's Government and the United States Government agreed to observe as between themselves in future, are as follows:
“A neutral government is bound
“ First. To use due diligence to prevent the fitting out, arming, or equipping, within its jurisdiction, of any vessel which it has reason
able ground to believe is intended to cruise or to carry on war against a power with which it is at peace; and also to use like diligence to prevent the departure from its jurisdiction of any vessel intended to cruise or carry on war as above, such vessel having been specially adapted, in whole or in part, within such jurisdiction to warlike use.
“ Secondly. Not to permit or suffer either belligerent to make use of its ports or waters as the base of naval operations against the other, or for the purpose of the renewal or augmentation of military supplies or arms, or the recruitment of men.
“ Thirdly. To exercise due diligence in its own ports and waters, and, as to all persons within its jurisdiction, to prevent any violation of the foregoing obligations and duties.”
The above rules may be said to have acquired the force of generally recognized rules of international law, and the first of them is reproduced almost textually in Article VIII of The Hague convention No. 13 of 1907 concerning the rights and duties of neutral powers in case of maritime warfare, the principles of which have been agreed to by practically every maritime State.
It is known, however, that Germany, with whom Great Britain is at war, favors the policy of converting her merchant vessels into armed ships on the high seas, and it is probable, therefore, that attempts will be made to equip and dispatch merchantmen for such conversion from the ports of the United States.
It is probable that, even if the final completion of the measures to fit out merchantmen to act as cruisers may have to be effected on the high seas, most of the preliminary arrangements will have been made before the vessels leave port, so that the warlike purpose to which they are to be put after leaving neutral waters must be more or less manifest before their departure.
In calling your attention to the above-mentioned “Rules of the treaty of Washington” and The Hague convention, I have the honor to state that His Majesty's Government will accordingly hold the United States Government responsible for any damages to British trade or shipping, or injury to British interests generally, which may be caused by such vessels having been equipped at, or departing from, United States ports. I have, etc.,
File No. 763.72111/87.
THE BRITISH CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
Washington, August 9, 1914. Sir: With reference to my note No. 252 of the 4th instant, I have the honor to inform you that I have now received instructions from Sir Edward Grey to make a further communication to you in explanation of the position taken by His Majesty's Government in regard to the question of armed merchantmen.
As you are no doubt aware, a certain number of British merchant vessels are armed, but this is a precautionary measure adopted solely for the purpose of defense, which, under existing rules of international law, is the right of all merchant vessels when attacked.
According to the British rule, British merchant vessels can not be converted into men-of-war in any foreign port, for the reason that Great Britain does not admit the right of any power to do this on the high seas. The duty of a neutral to intern or order the immediate departure of belligerent vessels is limited to actual and potential men-of-war, and, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, there can therefore be no right on the part of neutral Governments to intern British armed merchant vessels, which can not be converted into men-of-war on the high seas, nor to require them to land their guns before proceeding to sea.
On the other hand, the German Government have consistently claimed the right of conversion on the high seas, and His Majesty's Government therefore maintain their claim that vessels which are adapted for conversion and under German rules may be converted into men-of-war on the high seas should be interned in the absence of binding assurances, the responsibility for which must be assumed by the neutral Government concerned, that they shall not be so converted. I have, etc.,
COLVILLE BARCLAY. File No. 763.72111/543.
THE BRITISH CHARGÉ TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
Washington, August 12, 1914. Sir: With reference to my notes Nos. 252 and 259 of August 4 and August 9, respectively, stating and explaining the position taken up by His Majesty's Government in regard to the question of armed merchantmen, I have the honor to state that I have now been informed by Sir Edward Grey that exactly similar instructions were at the same time issued by him to His Majesty's representatives in practically all neutral countries to address the same communications to the respective Governments to which they were accredited. I have, etc.,
COLSILLE BARCLAY. File No. 763.72111/85.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO THE BRITISH CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, August 19, 1914. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication No. 252 of the 4th inst., which was made to this Government in pursuance of instructions from His Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, with respect to the arming of merchant vessels in neutral waters.
The communication states the principles of neutrality, as contained in the treaty signed at Washington on May 8, 1871, by representatives of the United States and Great Britain, and reproduced, as, you say, almost textually in Article VIII of The Hague convention, signed October 18, 1907, concerning the rights and duties of neutral powers in case of maritime warfare, the principles of which have been, as you state, agreed to by practically every maritime power.
The communication next considers the question of conversion of enemy merchantmen on the high seas, a policy which your Governinent opposes. It is then stated that Germany favors the policy of conversion; that it will probably attempt to use the ports of the United States to equip and dispatch merchantmen for conversion from such ports; and that most of the preliminary arrangements leading to conversion will have to be made within neutral ports before the vessels proceed to the high seas to complete their transformation into vessels of war.
The purpose of the communication is apparently to lay down the principles of law which your Government believe should be applied by the United States in fulfilling its neutral obligations, especially in the matter of conversion of merchant vessels into war vessels, and, assuming these principles to be correct, to tax this Government with damages to British trade or shipping, or injury to British interests generally, if these principles, the correctness of which you assume, are not applied to German merchant vessels “ equipped at, or departing from, United States ports.”
In acknowledging this communication it does not seem appropriate to enter into any discussion as to what may or what may not be the policy of Germany in the matter of converting its merchant ships which may be within the jurisdiction of the United States into ships of war after they have left American ports and have reached the high seas. The assertion of the right so to convert merchant ships upon the high seas, made by Germany at the second Hague conference and maintained at the London naval conference, does not of itself indicate an intention on the part of the German Government to exercise this right, and this department does not feel justified in its correşpondence with foreign Governments to assume, in the absence of specific information, an intention on the part of Germany so to do. The department will, however, carefully examine the facts and circumstances of any particular case when it is called to its attention.
The question of the place where the belligerent right of conversion may be exercised, difficult in itself, is complicated by the fact that there has been a difference of opinion among the maritime States parties to the present war, and that at the conferences to which reference has been made the British delegation stated that there was no rule of international law on the question. Germany and AustriaHungary insisted at the conferences upon the right to conyert merchant vessels upon the high seas. France and Russia, allies of Great Britain in the present war, likewise insisted upon the right so to convert. Great Britain and Belgium, intimately associated with France and Russia in the prosecution of hostilities against Germany and Austria-Hungary, opposed the right of conversion on the high seas at the second Hague conference, where both these nations were represented; and at the London naval conference, to which Belgium was not invited, and in which it did not participate, Great Britain maintained its previous attitude. It is thus seen that the right to convert merchant vessels upon the high seas was asserted in interna