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contravention of those rights must be regarded by the Government of the United States, when they affect American citizens, as deliberately unfriendly." 12
The further negotiations as to the Lusitania were considered by informal notes between Ambassador Bernstorff and Secretary Lansing. On September 1, 1915, Count Bernstorff stated that his Government had pledged itself not to sink liners in the future, unless they should resist attack or try to escape, until adequate provision had been made for the safety of non-combatants.13 This pledge was not a settlement of the case but inasmuch as it was a promise of future good conduct, it considerably relieved the tension and made possible a more leisurely conduct of further negotiations.14
While the Lusitania case was still under discussion another serious cause of dispute arose between Germany and the United States. On August 19, 1915, the British unarmed steamer Arabic was torpedoed near the site of the destruction of the Lusitania. It was bound for New York, was unarmed, carried no contraband, and was sunk without warning. A considerable number of the crew and passengers, including two Americans, lost their lives.15 The German Government seemed to appreciate the seriousness of the situation and to fear that our Government would regard the destruction of American lives on the Arabic as an unfriendly act. Consequently, Count Bernstorff, the German ambassador at Washington, in a communication to Secretary Lansing in reply to his last Lusitania note, declared (September 1) that he had been instructed to make for his Government the pledge mentioned on the previous page.16 The German Government, however, tried (September 7) to excuse its submarine commander on the ground that although he had been ordered not to sink merchantmen without warning, he was under the impression that the Arabic was going to ram his vessel. It, therefore, declined to assume responsibility for the act even if it should be proved that the commander of the undersea boat had been mistaken.17
12 Jour. (9), 155–7. 18 Jour. (10), 166.
14 The conversations between Count Bernstorff and Secretary Lansing were spun out to such a length that it was not until February, 1916, that an agreement had about been reached. At that time the two Governments had virtually come to an understanding as to the principles involved and only minor questions of phraseology were holding back a final settlement. “But about this time the German Government announced (February 10) its intention to treat armed merchantmen as war vessels. As this announcement cancelled all pledges insofar as they applied to merchant vessels carrying arms, even for defense, Secretary Lansing refused to accept the German offer, and so the controversy remained unsettled. N. Y. Times, Feb. 16, 1916.
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A week later Secretary Lansing forwarded evidence to the German Government which proved that the Arabic received no warning and that it did not see the submarine before it was fired upon. The commander of the submarine was, therefore, without excuse in assuming that the Arabic was preparing to ram his vessel.18
There was no immediate response to this note, but on October 5 the German Government declared its willingness to disavow the act and pay indemnities for the American lives lost: The incident was thus closed and America had won a diplomatic victory.19 18 Ibid., 170–2.
19 Ibid., 172-3.
MINOR CONTROVERSIES AND THE SUSSEX
The fact that Great Britain's control of the sea put Germany at a disadvantage in purchasing munitions of war from us caused some pro-German Americans to agitate in favor of the prohibition by our Government of the export of arms and ammunition. Encouraged by this agitation the Teutonic allies protested against this trade, contending that our Government should lay an embargo on arms if it were to maintain a really neutral attitude toward the belligerents. These protests came in the form first of a hint or request in the German note of February 16, 1915; then as a complaint in a memorandum presented by the German ambassador, Count Bernstorff, April 4, 1915; and finally as a formal appeal from the AustroHungarian Government June 29, 1915.
The main arguments advanced to support their protest were that the trade in munitions had assumed such proportions as had never been known before and that the United States
was enjoying a complete monopoly of the sale of war supplies. It was admitted that Germany had allowed her nationals to sell ammunition to belligerents in previous wars, but in those cases the trade was open to many neutrals and it was only a question as to what share of this trade each neutral should get. The Austrian note even went so far as to say that the weight of authority on international law was in favor of the contention that a neutral nation may not permit the traffic in contraband of war when it assumes such dimensions as to involve the neutrality of the Government.
Our Government in its replies took the position that a neutral power has no right to change its laws on neutrality during a war provided such a change would affect unequally its relations with the belligerents and that an embargo on arms laid by our Government would be such a change; that this opinion is upheld by a very large majority of the authorities on international law and is explicitly confirmed by an article of the Hague Convention.2
1 Jour. (9), 91, 92, 125–127, 146–149.
2 The preamble to Convention XIII Concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval Warfare, Hague Conference, 1907, contains the following statement:
... "these rules should not, in principle, be altered, in the course of the war, by a neutral Power, except in a case where experience has shown the necessity for such change for the protection of the right of that Power.”
Article 7. “A neutral Power is not bound to prevent the