763.72111 H 58/5

The British Embassy to the Department of State


The continuance of German intrigues against British Possessions in the East, known to be carried on by correspondence passing between the United States and China, is causing His Majesty’s Government grave concern.

[Page 224]

A proposal made by the British Naval Authorities to re-establish a Naval Patrol in Eastern Waters with a view to endeavouring to put a stop to these intrigues has been rejected by Viscount Grey on the ground that he would not assent to the interception on the High Seas of mails between the United States and China.

The position however has grown so serious that His Majesty’s Government desire to call once more the earnest attention of the United States Government to the continued toleration of Indian and German intrigues in the United States which constitute a grave menace to the British Empire. They regret that they cannot regard the present negligence of the United States Authorities towards such intrigues, which formed the subject of a Note from this Embassy on February 15th last,67 as compatible with the duties of a neutral power.

In doing so His Majesty’s Government beg to refer to the Memorandum of the American Ambassador in London of April 27th last,68 on the China incident, in which it is stated that if individuals “were intriguing in Chinese territory the complaint of His Majesty’s Government was clearly one to be laid before the Government of China;”

In view of the above quoted declaration of Mr. Page that the proper recourse against such intrigues is to the Government of the Neutral Power on whose territory they are carried on His Majesty’s Government once more request the United States Government to take the necessary action to put a stop to those intrigues against the British Empire now being fostered on United States territory.

His Majesty’s Government relying on the United States Government to take proper action in accordance with the declaration of Mr. Page are meanwhile temporarily refraining from taking their own measures in Eastern waters to prevent the spread of these hostile and seditious movements.69

Colville Barclay
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed; for contents see Foreign Relations, 1916, supp., p. 637.
  3. For the reply to this memorandum, dated Feb. 23, 1917, see p. 237.