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the unlawful attack of a German subma The guns defending American merrine.
chantmen will be in charge of gunners To make assurance doubly sure Presi belonging to the United States Navy. dent Wilson referred the question of the The official instructions to these men interpretation of the law to Attorney have not been made public, but reliable General Gregory, who sustained the Sec correspondents have asserted with an air retary of State, holding that the law of of authority that in view of the warnings 1819 had reference to conditions when the by the German Government, the discoverseas were infested with piratical craft, ing of a submarine in the war zone by an and was not a bar to a ship protecting armed ship would presuppose that it had herself from the effort of a German sub hostile intent, and that it would be fired marine to sink her without warning. The upon on sight. German official opinion President, therefore, felt that no occasion as quoted by the German press asserts existed for postponing the issuance of an that the firing upon a German submarine order to furnish Government armament by an armed American merchantman to merchant vessels.
would be regarded by that country as an Although the Armed Ship bill, which
act of war. failed of passage in the Senate, provided
The Secretary of the Navy issued a for a bond issue of $100,000,000 to pay
formal request to American newspapers the expenses of armed neutrality, the
and news agencies to refrain from pubGovernment has sufficient money avail
lishing the departure of any American able for its immediate purposes.
ships from American or foreign ports, gress will be asked to provide more when
and to exclude any information regardthe extra session convenes.
ing the arming of ships. It is known
that six-inch guns were placed upon a Crux of the Situation
large number of American ships in the Under a bill passed during the last week ended March 17, 1917, and it was days of the last Congress, the funds at understood that several large freighters the disposal of the Federal War Risk Bu and at least one American passenger reau to insure American ships was in liner, fully equipped fore and aft with creased to $15,000,000. Armed neutrality six-inch guns, left American ports for is expected to
the practical the barred zone during the week named. blockade of American ports and place the
No official announcement of the sailings issue of eventual war squarely upon Ger was permitted. many. An attack upon an armed Amer Armed neutrality became the status of ican vessel would precipitate a fight if the United States the moment the first the ship got sight of the submarine, and merchant ship under the American flag an unwarned attack would be regarded put to sea with a gun mounted for deby the United States as an act of war. fense. President Wilson clearly forecast
Germany and Austria both have de this fact in his address to Congress on clared armed merchantmen war vessels. Feb. 26. These declarations were based largely, Writers on international law have held however, upon the charge that British that armed neutrality consisted in placmerchant ships used their armament of ing the country in a position to defend fensively, and it remains to be itself and its neutrality against threatwhether Germany will so class and treat ened attacks or inroads by belligerents. American craft with defensive arms. The This state of preparedness may last an whole German press comment and unoffi indefinite length of time, through good cial utterances since the question was fortune in avoiding contact with belligraised in this country have indicated the erent forces afloat or ashore, or through conviction that any armed vessel should the design of the belligerent to confine be considered hostile and sunk in the its declaration of purpose to infringe the same way as a belligerent war vessel. neutrality of a country to mere threats There has been no official expression on unsupported by action. On the other the subject.
hand, the status of armed neutrality
may change into one of actual hostility
Oppenheim thus describes the origin of the armed neutralities of 1780 and 1800:
In 1780, during war with Great Britain, her American colonies, France, and Spain, Russia sent a circular to England, France, and Spain in which she proclaimed the following five principles :
(1) That neutral vessels should be allowed to navigate from port to port of belligerents and along the coast ;
(2) That enemy goods on neutral vessels, contraband excepted, should not be seized by belligerents ;
(3) That, with regard to contraband, Articles 10 and 11 of the treaty of 1769 between Russia and Great Britain should be applied in all cases ;
(4) That a port should only be considered blockaded if the blockading belligerent had stationed vessels there, so as to create an obvious danger for neutral vessels entering the port;
(5) That these principles should be applied in the proceedings and judgments on the legality of the prizes.
George B. Davis, former Judge Advocate General and one of the best-known American authorities on international law, defines an armed neutrality as
an alliance of several powers, usually of a defensive character, though this is by no means essential.”
“The purpose of such an alliance,” he says, “is to secure the maintenance of certain views of neutral right, which are believed to be in danger or whose justice is likely to be questioned. If the commercial interests of several nations are threatened by unjust and unlawful measures on the part of a belligerent which they deem unjust or dangerous, there can be no question of their right to secure their menaced interests by such combinations as seem best calculated to accomplish this purpose.”
Effects of Intensified Submarine Activity G
ERMANY relentlessly made good ralty reported on March 15 that the total her threat to institute unrestricted tonnage sunk from Feb. 1 to March 11 submarine warfare in the zone sur
was 156 British, 51 other neutrals, and 3 rounding the United Kingdom and Americans; between March 4 and 11, 1 France. On March 19 the following of
American, 20 British, and 2 French. ficial announcement was made at Berlin: Forty-six British ships were sunk be
V" In February 368 merchant ships of an tween March 1 and 15; of these 16 were aggregate gross tonnage of 781,500 were
less than 1,600 tons each, and 6 were lost by the war measures of the Central small fishing craft. The Admiralty rePowers. Among them were 292 hostile
ported that at the beginning of 1917 ships, with an aggregate gross tonnage
Great Britain possessed 3,731 vessels of of 644,000, and 76 neutral ships of an ag
1,600 tons and over. Of this number 78 gregate gross tonnage of 137,500. Among were sunk up to March 15, leaving 3,653 the neutral ships 61 were sunk by sub
ships of 1,600 tons or more after six marines, which is 16.5 per cent. of the
weeks of the submarine war. total in February, as compared with 29 In the prosecution of their intensified per cent., the average of neutral losses in warfare the U-boats spared nothing that the last four months.”
came in sight. Hospital ships, Belgian These figures differ widely from those relief ships, and any vessels of neutrals, given out by the French and English Ad whether coming or going, were attacked miralties. London reported that the total
and sunk with the same disregard of the shipping sunk by submarines in Febru law of visit and search as that exercised ary was 490,000 tons.
toward the craft of Germany's enemies. In the first three weeks of March Ger The most sensational episodes of the many asserted that the February average month were the sinking of six grainwas maintained, but again there was a laden Dutch ships and the news of the disparity of figures; the English Admi sinking of three American vessels, the
latter reported March 19. These ships On March 19 it was ascertained that were the City of Memphis, the Illinois, fifteen members of the Vigilancia crew and the Vigilancia.
were lost. Captain Borum and eight i The City of Memphis had sailed on members of the crew of the City of March 16 from Cardiff for New York in
Memphis were not heard from until three ballast. When she left port the steam days later when it was learned they had ship had the Stars and Stripes painted reached Glasgow. on both sides. She encountered a sub
The news aroused fresh indignation in marine about 5 o'clock Saturday evening. this country and convinced the public that The German commander ordered the
Germany had included in her plan of Captain of the steamer to leave his ship
submarine ruthlessness American ships within fifteen minutes.
as well as those of belligerents. The feelThe entire crew entered five boats, and
ing in Government circles was that the the submarine then fired a torpedo, which
sinking of the vessels produced an actual struck the vessel on the starboard side,
state of war with Germany. President tearing a great hole, through which the
Wilson took measures to speed up the sea poured. The steamer settled down
naval program; on the 20th 260 subquickly and foundered within a few min
marine chasers were ordered for imutes.
mediate construction, the $115,000,000 The Memphis was of 5,252 tonnage, 377 feet long, 'and was valued at $600,000.
emergency fund was employed for purThe Vigilancia was torpedoed without
chase of naval equipment, and the im
mediate graduation of the first and warning; she was of 4,115 tonnage and was proceeding to Havre, via the Azores,
second classes in the Annapolis Naval from New York on Feb. 28, with a cargo
Academy was ordered, with the rushing
of naval recruits to the full emergency of provisions. She was marked on her sides with the American flag and her
limit of 87,000. The general conviction name in letters that could be read three prevailed by March 20 that a formal miles away. The hailing port, “ New
declaration of war would soon follow. It York," was painted on the port and star
was known that American merchantmen, board bows in letters five feet high. armed fore and aft, had left American
The Illinois was a tank ship, and sailed ports with naval gunners aboard, who from Port Arthur, Texas, Feb. 17, 1917, were instructed to fire at sight on any for London. She was of 5,220 gross ton submarine that made
hostile apnage. She carried a cargo of oil.
United States Prepares for Defense
speeding up the construction of war-
INCE the diplomatic break with
partments of the United States Government have been working night and day to organize for adequate defense in case of war. The navy has made important progress in hat direction. Congress, in its closing hours, passed a naval appropriation bill aggregating $535,000,000, the largest in a single year of the nation's history. This total included the authorization of $150,000,000 in twentyyear 3 per cent. bonds, the proceeds of which were to be made immediately available for the President's use, $115,000,000 of the amount to be applied to
On March 6 Mr. Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, called a conference of the leading shipbuilders of the nation in Washington and asked what they could do in the emergency. He made it plain to them that the Government was counting on them for their fullest co-operation and would not hesitate to commandeer the shipyards if necessary.
He told them that the Government was now de
sirous of having some of the new submarines built in nine months. The best building time that had been offered previously was eighteen months. Mr. Daniels also indicated that the Government was desirous of having destroyers built within a year instead of two years, the best time previously offered. Many of the shipbuilding concerns declared their willingness and ability to meet the needs of the hour.
Large Contracts Placed On March 15 Secretary Daniels placed contracts for what was probably the largest single order for fighting craft ever given by any nation. Under these contracts private builders undertook to turn out four great battle cruisers and six scout cruisers, costing nearly $112,000,000 for hulls and machinery alone, and pledged themselves to keep 70 per cent. of their working forces on navy construction. Though the major ship builders were besieged with commercial orders, some of which would bring 50 per cent. profit, they agreed to accept 10 per cent. profit on the battle cruisers, whose cost will represent about $76,000,000 of the total sums involved in the contracts. This action made it unnecessary for the President to use his authority to commandeer plants. A fifth battle cruiser will be built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, so as to avoid overstraining the facilities of the private establishments.
Both classes of cruisers are of new types and are designed for a speed of 25 knots an hour. The scouts range in cost from $5,950,000 to $5,996,000 and the stipulated time of delivery is from thirty to thirty-two months. These figures can be no guide to the actual cost or time, however, as under the emergency clause of the Naval Appropriation bill construction will be hastened to the limit, the Government footing the bill for additional cost.
The battle cruisers, the fixed limit of cost of which is $19,000,000 per ship, exclusive of speeding-up expense, were placed as follows: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, two ships; Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation, one ship; New York Shipbuilding Company, one ship.
With the exception of the New York company, each private builder will have to install new ways and machinery for the huge craft. The Government will bear its fair share of this expense. Already an appropriation of $6,000,000 has beeen ordered expended to equip the Philadelphia yard for capital ship building.
Four of the scout cruisers will be built on the Pacific Coast-two by the Seattle Construction Company and two by the Union Iron Works at San Francisco. The other two will be built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia.
The Three-Year Program In a statement to newspaper men, Secretary Daniels said:
The Navy bill provides the initial appropriations for the following vessels of the three-year program adopted by the first session of the Sixty-fourth Congress, which authorized the construction of 156 vessels of different types: 3 battleships, 1 battle cruiser, 3 scout cruisers, 15 destroyers, 18 submarines, 1 destroyer tender, and 1 submarine tender.
of the three-year program, therefore, the money has been provided in this bill and in the former bill to commence the construction of the following vessels: 7 battleships, 5 battle cruisers, 7 scout cruisers, 35 destroyers, 48 submarines, 1 destroyer tender, 1 submarine tender, 1 hospital ship, 1 fuel ship, 1 ammunition ship, 1 gunboat, leaving to be first appropriated for next year the balance of the three-year program, consisting of 3 battleships, 1 battle cruiser, 3 scout cruisers, 15 destroyers, 19 submarines, 2 fuel ships, 1 repair ship, 1 transport, 1 destroyer tender, 1 ammunition ship, and 1 gunboat.
The outstanding features of the bill are, first, the $115,000,000 appropriation for speeding up the construction of ships already authorized and authorized in the bill just ap. proved, and the purchase or construction of aircraft, additional destroyers, submarine chasers, motor boats, and other small craft, vihich will be essential in an emergency, and which can be constructed in a comparatively short time, A further emergency appropriation of $18,000,000 is provided specifically for the construction of twenty coast submarines in addition to the eighteen submarines for which money is provided in the bill of the three-year program, making thirty-eight submarines specifically appropriated for in this bill.
Contracts for sixteen non-rigid dirigible airships to be used for coast and harbor patrol were let by Secretary Daniels on March 12. The contracts are for $649,250, and the specifications call
for the delivery of these airships in the who had taken the Federal oath under remarkably brief period of 120 days, - the terms of the Hay National Defense which means by the middle of June. act and those who had not; in other
Under the leadership of Franklin D. words, both classes of National GuardsRoosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the men would be subject to call by the Navy, a volunteer reserve auxiliary fleet President in case of war with Germany. of 750 ships and motor craft, with 10,000 Meanwhile orders had been issued on civilians to man them, is in process of March 7 by the War Department directorganization for the protection of waters ing the Colonels of all regular army regiadjoining New York City.
ments along the border to designate
sixty enlisted men from each regiment Military Defense Measures
who could be commissioned as company Military defense has made less prog
officers in the army in case of an emerress. The Army Appropriation bill for
gency call. This would furnish a total of $279,000,000 was among the important
5,000 new officers, who would be eligible measures that died in the Senate during
for offices up to the rank of Captain, and the filibuster at the close of the session,
who could be promoted in case of need. The chief work of the Secretary of War
In the event of real war the Government has consisted in organizing the indus
would be compelled to call to the colors tries and executive talent of the nation not less than 500,000 men, and for such for the emergency. The newly formed
an army 25,000 officers would be necesCouncil of National Defense has become
sary. These officers would be obtained an active force during the month. It
from the regular commissioned personnel is the central agency for the industrial of the army, from the rapid graduation mobilization of the country, and under of West Point cadets, and from the new the direction of Daniel Willard, officers' reserve corps now in process of prominent railroad President, its ad creation. visory commission is organizing for the Late in February the Secretary of rapid transportation of large bodies of
War, Newton D. Baker, sent to the Sentroops, for the conservation of great ate Committee on Military Affairs the quantities of food and supplies of all draft of a bill framed by the War College kinds, and for the effective employment Division of the General Staff calling for of all the country's resources at short eleven months of compulsory military notice.
training for every American boy of 18 All the remaining National Guard years who did not come within certain exunits on the Mexican border, embracing emption clauses. Under this bill it was about 75,000 men, were ordered on Feb. estimated that within three years the 17 to return to their home States for
country would have a first-line reserve immediate muster out of Federal serv of 1,500,000 young men ready to respond ice. A few days later Judge Advocate instantly to a call to the colors until General Crowder delivered an opinion their thirtieth year. The bill failed of to the effect that there was no essential passage, but will be brought up in Condifference in the status of the militiamen