Mr. Adee to Mr. von Holleben.
Washington, September 28, 1898.
Excellency: I had the honor to receive, in due course, your note of the 26th ultimo, in which, supplementing your previous note of the 20th of that month; concerning the entrance and departure of neutral vessels of war at a blockaded port, you informed me that your Government considered the wish of the Government of the United States of America to exercise supervision over the movements of vessels of war of neutral powers at the ports blockaded by American naval forces as justified in principle. As regards the details of such supervision and the manner in which notification of blockade and facilitation of entrance and departure are to be effected you add certain observations which have had careful consideration, although, as you yourself observe, present circumstances are such that the arrangements in question may appear unnecessary for an indefinite time to come and elucidation of the question may have no immediate practical application.
After consultation with the Secretary of the Navy, I am pleased to be able to inform you that the views of this Department coincide with the suggestions contained in your note defining the appropriate procedures and formalities as follows:
- That a prerequisite of the entrance of a neutral vessel of war into a blockaded port, unless in a case of exceptional urgency, should be the consent of the Government establishing the blockade, obtained through the usual diplomatic channels.
- The approach of the blockaded port in such a manner that the senior officer of the blockading squadron would recognize with certainty upon the appearance of a neutral vessel in the blockaded belt her identity with the war vessel of whose coming he had been notified.
- In such exceptional cases as prevent permission being previously obtained through the usual diplomatic channels, the decision to rest with the senior officer present of the blockading squadron.
- No special formalities in connection with the departure of neutral vessels of war from a blockaded port are requisite other than may be [Page 1169]necessary to identify the vessel leaving the port as a neutral, the arrangements concerning the same to be agreed upon between the commanding officer of the blockading squadron and the commanding officer of the vessel in the blockaded port.
Be pleased, etc.,