Mr. White to Mr. Sherman.

No. 301.]

Sir: The loss of the ship of war Maine has caused much utterance of friendly sentiments in Germany.

Shortly after the reception of the news, having occasion to meet the Emperor, I gave him the first information regarding the calamity, whereupon he expressed his regret and sympathy. His first question was whether the catastrophe was caused by a torpedo from outside the ship, and on my assuring him that all the circumstances pointed to an explosion within the vessel, he expressed his satisfaction that it was not the result of hostile action.

No one feels the value of a thoroughly equipped modern battle ship more than he, and his strong liking for ships extends to sailors. He especially expressed his regret at the loss of so many brave men in their full strength.

The following morning the marine minister, Admiral Tirpitz, sent a message of sympathy by one of his officers, and Commanding Admiral Von Knorr came in person to the embassy on a similar errand.

Somewhat later Minister of State Von Buelow forwarded to me a copy of His Majesty’s telegram to the President, with the assurance of the minister’s personal sympathy in so cruel a loss.

Still later in the day Her Majesty the Empress Frederick, who had asked Mrs. White and myself to dinner, expressed her regret and condolence in very earnest terms, and from many quarters have since come messages of sympathy which by their heartiness seem much more than mere formalities. The fact is that those competent to judge in Germany have unquestionably formed a high opinion of our new war vessels, with a real respect for the feeling which has led the United States to rebuild her Navy, whose achievements are among the most honorable in history, and the sudden loss of so fine a ship, so well manned, and so splendidly equipped, strikes the imagination of all with great force.

The President’s telegraphic reply to the Emperor has given general satisfaction, and the conduct of the commander of the ship as recorded [Page 1057] by the press is evidently regarded with admiration by all competent to form an opinion.

I may add that in deference to the feeling of the American colony here, so far as it has been ascertained, the festivities usual on Washington’s birthday have been indefinitely postponed, only excepting the simple reception during the afternoon at the house of the ambassador.

I am, etc.,

And. D. White.