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The German Ambassador to the Secretary of State.



J. Nr. B 4884.]


Washington, D. C., March 26, 1915. MR. SECRETARY OF STATE:

Referring to your Excellency's kind note of the 5th instant about the sinking of the American steamer Evelyn, I have the honor to make to your Excellency the following communication:

The investigation of the Evelyn and Carib casualties brought to light the fact that the vessels had on board Dutch, not German pilots. Those pilots appear to have been furnished by the Rotterdam branch of the English Furness Steamship Company. Those pilots according to the inquiries made are not competent to navigate German waters. It was found, for instance, that H. Benne, the pilot taken by the steamer Osmulgu, who was formerly a Dutch district pilot but is already on the pension list, declared he knew nothing of a certain sailing direction for the German coast which is enough to show that he is not fit to steer a vessel to Germany. As a matter of fact he did not ever observe the sailing directions issued by the German Admiralty for the German coast and it was just luck that saved the Osmulgu from the fate of the Evelyn.

The master of the Evelyn declared that he sailed through the Channel and had a mine pilot along the English coast. It seems that the English officer who came on board with the pilot told him that he should steer not the Northern course but the Southerly course below the East Friesian Islands, which was the course taken by the other steamers. Whereupon he steamed for Rotterdam and there took a pilot. On being asked why he had not steered for Listertief, he replied that he had left everything to the pilot.

According to his chart the casualty occurred fifty-three degrees fifty-two minutes north six degrees seven minutes east. The pilot who had the looks of an old Dutch fisherman and made a rather unfavorable impression declared that he had steered that course because he had heard that other ships had taken it. In reply to a question he said that he had never come with a ship into the German Bay since the war began.

In order to avert further casualties as much as possible I have the

honor to leave it to your excellency kindly to consider whether it may not be advisable to warn in such manner as may seem appropriate the American steamship companies concerned against applying to the above mentioned firms for pilots. I make this recommendation all the stronger as there is reason to suspect that the enemy will spare no efforts to expose ships bound for Germany to danger and that influence is possibly brought to bear on the pilot service. I would in this connection again repeat that the course recommended in the Nachrichten für Seefahrer, No. 3161/14, North around Scotland to the guiding buoys of Listertief offers the least danger. Accept, etc.,



[No. 52–Berlin, 1 October 1914. p. 898.]


2770/14. Germany—North Sea-Making for harbors.

H. 8088/14. Berlin, September 26, 1914. The course of merchant vessels bound for German North Sea ports in the Jade, Weser, Elbe, and Eider is set at the Listertief steerage buoy. The course for the Ems remains as in peace. The directions of N. F. S. 14-2248. Figure 2 paragraph 2 and No. 2423, paragraph 3, are at the same time superseded. Approximate position of the Listertief Steerage buoy:

55° 34' N. ; 8° 1742' W.


(No. 52—Berlin, 1 October 1914. p. 1006.]


3093/14. German Bay (Deutsche Bucht). Sailing regulations.

H. 9342. November 4, 1914.

Supplementing N. F. S. 2770 the following directions are issued for the regulation of navigation in the Deutsche Bucht of the North Sea:

1. Steamers may not steer for the German Coast, sail in or out of the mouths of rivers except between sunrise and sunset and then in clear weather only. Vessels which attempt to make way in darkness, fog, or dim weather are liable to be fired on.

2. All merchant steamers bound for the Eider, the Elbe, the Weser, and the Jade must first head for the Listertief steerage buoy. Those bound for the Ems make directly for that river.

3. From the Listertief buoy on in the very interest of the ship's safety unconditionally obligatory pilot service is prescribed. Pilots will be furnished from the pilot steamer lying there. The pilot's directions are to be followed unconditionally. Whoever fails to do so or attempts to steer for the German bay without a pilot incurs great danger.

4. If on account of bad weather or other causes the ships can not get a pilot they must drop anchor or put back to sea.

5. Outgoing steamers receive their pilots and other instructions from the port authorities.

6. The same rules apply to foreign warships.

7. Navigation by sail to and from the harbors of the German Bay of the North Sea is totally stopped because of the danger therein involved.


[No. 62-Berlin, November 10, 1914. p. 1029.]

3161/14. Navigation of the North Sea-Announcement. A IV.

11563, November 9, 1914.

The British Government on November 2, 1914, issued, on the basis of a false accusation that Germany had, with hospital ships and merchant vessels under a neutral flag, laid mines and reconnoitered in the North Sea, a notice to mariners sailing to and in the North Sea, which recommended to vessels, on the pretext of danger from mines in the North Sea, to pass through the Channel, the Downs, and along the English coast and warned them against sailing through tbe North Sea and around the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

In contradiction of this it is pointed out that the waters of the Northern North Sea, including the line running from the Hebrides across the Faroe islands to Iceland, the waters along the Norwegian Coast and in the Skagerrak, are generally so deep as to exclude all laying of mines. On the other hand it is known that in the South of the North Sea and in the Channel a number of mines, and, as has been ascertained, mines of English and French origin, are drifting

about that have not been deadened, and that at many places of the course along the English Eastern Coast recommended by England mines have been laid of which several were run into adrift lately.

The course recommended by England, through the Channel, the Downs, and along the English East Coast is therefore very dangerous to shipping, while the course through the North of the North Sea is free of mines and therefore free of danger.

(See N. F. S. 14–262.)

Ambassador Gerard to the Secretary of State.

No. 661.]


Berlin, April 12, 1915. SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed a translation of a Note received from the German Foreign Office relative to the sinking of the American cotton steamers Evelyn and Carib. I have, etc.,



FOREIGN OFFICE, Berlin, March 10, 1915.


With reference to its Note Verbale of the 3d instant, No. 11 U 901, the Foreign Office has the honor to inform the American Embassy hat from now available investigations and reports in the matter of the American cotton ships Evelyn, Carib, and Ocmulgee, it is established that the loss of the two steamers Evelyn and Carib is to be ascribed to the captains and to the inadequacy of the pilots taken by them. The captains did not observe the directions given them in the United States and the pilots undertook a task to which they were in no way equal.

As the Admiralty has already directly informed the Embassy Naval Attaché, the captains and crews have complete freedom of action.



Consul General Listoe to the Secretary of State.



Rotterdam, April 3, 1915. Consul Fee, Bremen, wires steamer Greenbriar, Captain Dalton, sailed April first Bremerhaven New York with General cargo sunk April second apparently mine explosion near North Frisian Island Amrum. All thirty-eight members crew saved.


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Plymouth, (Received) May 3, 1915. American tank steamer Gulflight torpedoed off Scilly first instant. Captain died heart failure, body landed. Two of crew drowned, thirty-four saved. Vessel afloat, patrol boats attempting tow her into Scilly.


The Secretary of State to Ambassador W. H. Page.



Washington, May 3, 1915. Reported American tank steamer Gulflight torpedoed off Scilly May first. Please obtain detailed report and forward Department

· For additional correspondence concerning the Gulflight, see Special Supplement, 1915, pp. 129-141.

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