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chantmen without previous warning, as hap viously announced this to be their intention, pened with the vessels Electra, (German:) so that every one, whether enemy or neuBubrovnik, (Austrian ;) Zagreb, (Austrian,) tral, may be enabled to avoid endangering &c., which already has been repeatedly cen- life. Even if doubts should arise regarding sured; and in this respect the Austro-Hun the justifiableness of such procedure, and garian Government never returned like for if the enemy should threaten reprisals, then kike, notwithstanding its uncontested right. this would be an affair for settlement beIn the course of the entire war Austro-Hun tween the belligerents only, who, as gengarian war vessels have not sunk one enemyerally recognized, are entitled to make the merchantman without previous, if only gen
high seas the scene of military operations eral, warning.
and to oppose any interference with their enThe repeatedly mentioned thesis of the
terprises and to decide for themselves what
measures shall be taken against enemy sea United States Government also allows va
traffic. rious interpretations, in so far, namely, as it is doubtful whether, as is asserted from
In such cases neutrals have no other legitvarious sides, only on resistance justifies
imate interest, and therefore no other legal the destruction of a vessel with persons
claim, than that the belligerent inform them aboard, or resistance of another kind; as is
in time of prohibitions directed to the enemy, shown if the crew intentionally neglects to
that they can avoid intrusting their lives and take the passengers into boats-the Ancona
their goods to enemy vessels. case-or if the passengers themselves refuse The Austro-Hungarian Government can to enter boats. According to the opinion of suppose that the Washington Cabinet will the Austro-Hungarian Government, the de agree with these explanations, which, acstruction of a warned vessel without rescuing cording to the Austro-Hungarian Governthe persons aboard is admissible in cases of ment's firm conviction, are unassailable, as the latter kind, because otherwise it would otherwise disputing their correctness would be left to the individual passenger to nullify doubtless be tantamount to saying-which the right of belligerents to sink vessels. certainly does not correspond to the opinion Moreover, it may be pointed out also that
of the United States--that neutrals must be there is no unanimity as regards in what
free to interfere with military operations of cases the sinking of neutral merchantmen at belligerents or even directly assume the ofall is admissible. The obligation to issue a fice of judging as to the war means which warning immediately before sinking vessels are to be employed against enemies. leads, according to the opinion of the Austro
Analogy of Land Warfare Hungarian Government, on the one hand, to
It appears that it also would be a flag. harshness which could be avoided; on the
rant misunderstanding if a neutral Governother hand, it is under circumstances calculated to injure the justified interests of bel
ment, only to enable its subjects to travel ligerents. In the first place, it must not be
on enemy vessels, while they as readily, overlooked that the rescue of persons is al
and even with far greater security, could most always left to mere chance, as the only
use neutral vessels, should fall to arms
with a belligerent power which, perhaps, choice remaining is to take them aboard war vessels which are exposed to any enemy in
was fighting for its existence, not to speak fluence, or to expose them in small boats to
of the most serious abuses for which the the dangers of the elements; so that it there
road would be left clear if the belligerent fore corresponds much better to the principles
were to be forced to lower arms before of humanity to prevent persons, by timely
every neutral who desired to use enemy warning, from using endangered vessels.
vessels for his business or pleasure trips.
Never was there the slightest doubt that Neutrals Must Not Use Enemy Ships
neutral subjects themselves have to bear all Furthermore, notwithstanding careful ex the loss which they suffer by entering on amination of all legal questions referring land territory where warlike operations are thereto, the Austro-Hungarian Government taking place. There obviously is no reason could not come to the conviction that sub to allow different principles for war on sea, jects of neutral States are entitled to travel
the more so as at the Second Peace Conunmolested on enemy vessels.
ference the wish was expressed that, until The principle that neutrals in war time the time when war on sea should have also should enjoy the advantages of free found a settlement by agreements, the law dom of the seas refers only to neutral ves in force for war on land should be employed, sels, not to neutral persons on board enemy as far as this was possible, also for war on vessels, because belligerents, as is well
sea. known, are entitled to prevent the enemy's In the spirit of what was previously said, sea traffic as far as they are able. Being the regulation that warning must be given in possession of the necessary war means to a ship which is to be sunk undergoes exand considering it necessary for the attain. ceptions of various kinds, under certain cirment of their war aims, they can prohibit cumstances, as, for instance, as mentioned by sea traffic of enemy merchantmen on pain the American Government, in cases of flight of their destruction, provided they have pre- and resistance, when vessels may be de
stroyed without warning, while in other cases warning before the departure of a vessel is necessary. The Austro-Hungarian Government can therefore state, whatever attitude the Washington Cabinet may take in regard to individual questions raised here, that it, as especially regards protection of neutrals against endangering their lives, is essentially in accord with the American Government. But it was not only satisfied to put into effect in the course of this war the conception represented by her, but beyond that it also accommodated its attitude with painful care to the thesis set up by the Washington Cabinet, and would feel inclined to support it in its endeavor to secure American citizens against dangers at sea, which endeavor it supports by the warmest philanthropy, and by instructing and warning those intrusted with it.
As regards Circular Note 10,602«of last year, regarding the treatment of armed
enemy merchantmen, the Austro-Hungarian Government, it is true, has to state that, as already mentioned previously, it is of the opinion that the arming of merchantmen, even solely for defense against the exercise of the right of capture, is not established by modern international law. A war vessel is obliged to come into contact with enemy merchantmen in a peaceful manner. It has to waylay the vessel by certain signals, to enter into communication with the Captain, to examine the ship's papers, draw up a protocol, and, if necessary,
take an inventory, &c. Fulfillment of these duties presupposes naturally that the war vessel has full certainty that the merchantman, on its part, also will act peacefully. Without doubt such certainty does not exist if the merchantman possesses armament which is sufficient to fight the war vessel. It can hardly be expected to discharge its duties under the muzzles of guns, whatever their purpose may be, without mentioning the fact that merchantmen of the Entente Powers, despite all assurances to the contrary, are--as this has been proved-provided with arms for an aggressive purpose and also use them for this purpose.
It would also be a misinterpretation of the duties of humanity to demand the crews of war vessels expose themselves without defense to arms of the enemy. No State could value its duties of humanity toward the legal defenders of the Fatherland less than its duties toward subjects of foreign powers. The Austro-Hungarian Government therefore could have stated from conviction that its promise made to the Washington Cabinet did not extend, from the very beginning, to armed merchantmen, because they, according to the valid principle and right which restrict hostilities to organized forces, are to be regarded as private vessels, which may be destroyed.
As history shows, it was never permitted under general international law that merchantmen oppose the exercise of the right of capture by war vessels. Even if a regulation of such kind could be found, this would not
prove that vessels should be allowed to arm themselves. It must also be taken into consideration that the arming of merchantmen would completely transform warfare on the sea, and that such a transformation cannot correspond with the intentions of those who endeavor to bring to bear the principles of humanity in warfare on sea. In fact, since the abolition of privateering no Government, until a few years ago, has thought in the least of arming merchantmen. At the Second Peace Conference, which was occupied with all questions of naval war law, the arming of merchantmen was mentioned only once. This utterance, however, is significant because it was made by high naval officers, who freely declared: “When a warship proposes to stop and visit a merchant ship, the commander, before launching a small boat, will cause a cannon shot to be fired. A cannon shot is the best guarantee that can be given. Merchant ships have no cannon on board."
Notwithstanding that, Austria-Hungary adhered to her promise also as regards this question. In the mentioned circular note neutrals were warned in time against intrusting their persons and property to armed vessels. The issued measure was not put in force at once, but a period of grace was given in order to enable neutrals to leave armed vessels which they had already boarded. Finally, Austro-Hungarian war vessels themselves have been instructed, even in the case of encountering armed enemy merchantmen, if, in view of the circumstances, it is possible, to issue a warning and take care of the rescue of passengers.
The statement of the American Embassy that the armed British steamers Secundo, Uno, and Welsh Prince were torpedoed by Austro-Hungarian submarines without warning is erroneous. [The Secundo and Uno are listed in marine registers as Norwegian vessels. ] The Austro-Hungarian Government meanwhile received information that no Austro-Hungarian war vessel took part in the sinking of these steamers.
In the same manner as in the repeatedly mentioned circular note, the Austro-Hungarian Government-and therewith it comes back to the question of intensified submarine warfare-as mentioned at the beginning of this aide-mémoire and also in its declaration of Jan. 31 of the current year, issued a warning to all neutrals by fixing a certain period. Moreover, the whole declaration represents in essence nothing else but a warning, namely, that no merchantmen will be allowed to enter the sea areas exactly described in the declaration.
Moreover, Austro-Hungarian war vessels are instructed if possible to warn merchantmen encountered in these areas and to bring into safety the crews and passengers. The Austro-Hungarian Government also possessed numerous reports that crews and passengers of vessels which have been destroyed in these areas have been brought into safety. For the eventual losses of human life which never
theless may occur in the destruction of armed vessels or such encountered in the barred zone the Austro-Hungarian Government can take no responsibility.
Little Risk From Austrian U-Boats Moreover, it may be pointed out that Austro-Hungarian submarines solely are operating in the Adriatic and Mediterranean, and that, therefore, an
encroachment of American intrests is hardly to be feared from Austro-Hungarian war vessels.
In view of everything mentioned in the beginning of this aide-mémoire, there need hardly be an assurance that the barricading of sea areas described in the declaration does not aim at destruction of human life or even its endangering. But apart from the higher aim of sparing further suffering to mankind by shortening the war, and solely to place Great Britain and her allies, who, without an effective blockade over the coasts of the Central Powers, prevent the sea traffic of neutrals with these powers in the same isolation, the step is taken to render them by this pressure more pliable toward a peace which bears in itself a guarantee and is durable.
That Austria-Hungary uses different means is especially caused by circumstances over which mankind has no power. The AustroHungarian Government is convinced that it has done everything in its power to avoid human losses. It would attain this aim, which is intended by the Central Powers, most quickly and most certainly if in those sea areas no single human life were lost and no single life were endangered.
Says Ancona Pledge Slands Summarizing, the Austro-Hungarian Gov. ernment can state that the assurance given to the Washington Cabinet in the Ancona case and renewed in the Persia case has neither been abolished nor restricted by its declaration of Feb. 10, 1916, and Jan. 31, 1917. Within this assurance it will also in the future, united with its allies, do everything so that the peoples on earth will soon again participate in the blessings of peace. If in the prosecution of this aim, which, as is well known, finds full sympathy in the Washington Cabinet, it sees itself obliged to prevent neutral sea traffic in certain sea areas, in justification of this measure it will point not so much at the attitude of the enemy, which it considers not at all worthy of imitation, but it will point out that Austria-Hungary, by reason of the obstinacy and malignity of her enemies, who intend her destruction, has been placed in a state of self-defense than which history knows no more typical example.
As the Austro-Hungarian Government finds inspiration in the consciousness that the fight which Austria-Hungary is waging serves not only for maintenance of its vital interests but also for realization of the equal rights of all States, it lays the greatest stress in this last and most severe period of the war, which, as it deeply deplores, demands sacrifices also from friends, on the confirmation by word and deed that the principle of humanity guides it, in the same manner as the law of respect of the interests of neutral peoples.
An Unspeakable Libel
-From Novi Satirikon, Petrograd. SHARK: " Ah, neighbor, I have been grossly insulted!” “ How?" “I was mistaken for a German submarine.”
A Vivid Battle Scene by Rheinhold Eichacker, a German Officer
on the Western Front
"After lengthy artillery preparation, white and colored Frenchmen attacked our positions in heavy force. They succeeded in getting a foothold in some of our most advanced trenches. A furious counterattack drove them back again in a hand-to-hand encounter. Nothing else of importance."German Army Report. T 7:15 in the morning the French
attacked. The black Senegal negroes, France's cattle for the
shambles. After a seven-hour suffocating drumfire that, according to all human reckoning, should not have left a mortal man alive. But we still livedand waited. Six meters under the sod lay our “ waiting rooms." Burrowed into the ground on a slant.
Courage bracers,” they call them out there.
At 7:15 the enemy shifted his fire backward upon our reserves. Our pickets sounded the alarm. We sprang to arms, with our gas masks in place. For a few seconds the trenches resembled an antheap. There was feverish hurrying, running shouting, and shoving. Just for seconds. Then everybody was at his post. Everybody who was alive. Every one a rock in the seething waves. Every one determined to hold his position against hell itself.
A gas attack! Several hundred pairs of wide-open warriors' eyes fixed their glances upon the ugly, smoking cloud that, lazy and impenetrable, rolled toward us. Hundreds of fighting eyes, fixed, threatening, deadly. Let them come, the blacks! And they came. First singly, at wide intervals. Feeling their way, like the arms of a horrible cuttlefish. Eager, grasping, like the claws of mighty monster. Thus they rushed closer, flickering and sometimes disappearing in their clouc. Entire bodies and single limbs, now showing in the harsh glare, sinking in the shadows, came nearer and ncarer. Strong, wild fellows, their loglike, fat, black skulls wrapped in pieces of dirty rags. Showing their grinning
teeth like panthers, with their bellies drawn in and their necks stretched forward. Some with bayonets on their rifles. Many only armed with knives. Monsters all, in their confused hatred. Frightful their distorted, dark grimaces. Horrible their unnaturally wide-opened, burning, bloodshot eyes. Eyes that seem like terrible beings themselves. Like unearthly, hell-born beings. Eyes that seemed to run ahead of their owners, lashed, unchained, no longer to be restrained. On they came like dogs gone mad and cats spitting and yowling, with a burning lust for human blood, with a cruel dissemblance of their beastly malice. Behind them came the first wave of the attackers, in close order, a solid, rolling black wall, rising and falling, swaying and heaving, impenetrable, endless.
“ Close range! Individual firing! Take careful aim!” My orders rang out sharp and clear and were correctly understood by all the men. They stood as if carved out of stone, their lips tightly pressed, the muscles of their cheeks swollen, and took aim. Just like rifle range work. The first blacks fell headlong in full course in our wire entanglements, turning somersaults like the clowns in a circus. Some of them half rose, remained hanging, jerked themselves further, crawling, gliding like snakes—cut wires_sprang over-tumbled-fell.
Nearer and nearer rolled the wall. Gaps opened and closed again. Lines halted and-rolled on again. Whrrr rratt -tenggg-sssstt-crack! Our artillery sent them its greeting! Whole groups melted away. Dismembered bodies, sticky earth, shattered rocks, were mixed in wild disorder. The black cloud halted, wavered, closed its ranks and rolled nearer and nearer, irresistible, crushing, devastating! And the rifles were flashing all the time. A dissonant, voiceless rattle. The men still stood there and took aim. Calmly, surely, not wasting a
single shot. The stamping and snorting Hell still rages. The blacks get reinof thousands of panting beasts ate up the forcements. Finally the whites themground between us.
selves charge, a jerky, rolling, bluishNow the wave was only 300 paces from green mass! In a powerful drive they our defenses-from their remnants—now get over the first rise in the ground. only 200—100—irresistible, seething and Now they have disappeared. Now they roaring—50 paces!—“Rapid fire!” I
bob up, as out of a trap door. Here and roared, I shrieked, through the swelling there the ranks shoot forward in great cracking of the rifles. A hurricane leaps, the officers ahead of all, with their swallowed my voice! Hell seemed let loose swords swinging high in the air, just as at a single blow, raging, storming, obliter in the pictures! A splendid sight. Now ating all understanding! Shoving and they reach the bodies of the blacks. They stamping, shrieking and shouting, crack halt for a few seconds, as if in horror, ing and rattling, hissing and screeching. then on they roll over the dead, jumping, A heavy veil hung over the wall. In this wallowing, dozens falling. cloud pieces of earth, smoke spirals,
We still stand firmly in the breach. black, red, white, yellow flashes, quivered
Our nerves are strained to the snapping and flared. Rattling, rapping, pounding, point, gasping, bleeding, feverish!
We hammering, crackling. And the shots fell
dare not waver. Steady, men! Steady!” unceasingly. Clear and shrill the rifles,
We must calmly let them come as far as heavy and roaring the shells.
the wire entanglements, as the blacks And now came the gruesome, incon
did. The blacks? Where are they? Dis: ceivable horror! A wall of lead and iron
appeared! Only they left their dead besuddenly hurled itself upon the attackers hind. The same thing will happen to and the entanglements just in front of the whites. We are waiting for them. our trenches. A deafening hammering The death-spewing machine guns are lyand clattering, cracking and pounding, ing over there. They lie there and wait rattling and crackling, beat everything until their time comes. Steady, steady! to earth in ear-splitting, nerve-racking They lie there and wait impatiently—but clamor. Our machine guns had flanked yet they are silent- Now!-No I am the blacks!
raving! “Rapid fire!”-I hiss—My Like an invisible hand they swept over neighbor staggers-I only listen and the men and hurled them to earth, mang wait, wait and listen, for only one thing. ling and tearing them to pieces! As an Something that has to come, must finally Autumn storm roars over the fields they come, has to come! Great God, otherswept in full flood over the ranks and wise we are lost! Be calm, be calm! snuffed out life! Like hail among the Now they will begin reaping! Now they ears of grain, their missiles flew and must begin to rattle, our machine guns, rattled and broke down the enemy's will! our faithful rescuers-now-at once! Singly, in files, in rows and heaps, the What can they be waiting for? Why, they blacks fell. Next to each other, behind are there in the wires already. Hell and each other, on top of each other. Hurled Satan! No man can endure that! They in heaps, in mounds, in hillocks. Fresh are hesitating too long—the enemy is almasses charged and fell back, charged most in the trenches! Ah! At last! A and stumbled, charged and fell. And rattling-a hoarse crackling - Heaven there were always fresh forces! They help us, what is that? seemed to spring from the very earth! A devilish howling rises hoarsely from
We had losses; heavy losses. Here a over there, lacerating, bestial, shrieking! man suddenly put his hand to his fore The blacks, the devils! How did they head and swayed. There another sprang reach our flank over there? That's where gurgling to one side and fell, as flat and our machine guns are. It cannot be. heavy as a block of stone. S-s-s-t-it There! Hell! They are carrying hand went above our heads. The French were grenades, are in their rear! Heaven help throwing shrapnel against our trenches, us! And the whites! They are at our hissing, cracking, and in volleys.
breastworks. Already they are in the