Minister Swenson to the Secretary of State.

No. 364.]

Sir: The Japanese Government has addressed protests to that of Denmark for allowing Russian ships to coal in Danish territorial waters, and for permitting Russian officials to employ Danish pilots to take these vessels through such waters, contending that said acts constitute a breach of Denmark’s neutrality.

A complaint of this nature was lodged with the foreign office some time after the first division of the Baltic fleet passed into the North Sea on its way to the scene of war. It was accompanied by a warning against extending similar hospitalities to subsequent detachments of the Russian fleet. In its reply, the Danish Government did not deny the facts set forth in the complaint, except as to alleged coaling at Fredericksund Harbor, but it asserted that they were in accordance with its established practice in similar cases, and that they were not inconsistent with the proclamation of neutrality which it had communicated to the Japanese Government at the beginning of the war. It did not admit that its neutrality had been infringed; but insisted, on the contrary, that it had scrupulously maintained its obligations as a neutral, and intended to do so in the future. It is to be observed that the coaling in question had taken place in the so-called Langeland Belt—one of the narrow passages between the islands—and not in any Danish harbor. Only one of the colliers was a Danish vessel, which had been supplied with coal at Kiel, Germany.

The Japanese Government did not seem to be satisfied with the reply to its note; for when a second squadron of Russian warships bound for the East was given the same privileges by Denmark as the first, the protest was repeated and Japan reserved the right to take such measures as it may find necessary to protect its interests in the matter. It is not true, as has been published, that the Japanese Government has presented a claim for indemnity in connection with the grievances above.

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I have, etc.,

Laurits S. Swenson