851.857 Su 8/86½

The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Here are some more particulars just received from my Government concerning the torpedoing of the Sussex and the way we happened to be able to ascertain who was the author of this shocking deed.

Lieut. Commander Cayrol of our staff was entrusted with the care of examining the crew of the German submarine U. B. 26 captured by us on April 5. He has summed up, under oath, before the judge, the information he thus gathered. The chief points are:

Four German submarines and not more were cruising in the English Channel toward the end of March, viz., the U. B. 18, the U. B. 19, the U. B. 26 (the one we captured) and the U. B. 29.

It was expressly acknowledged that the U. B. 18 was at sea [on the 22nd March and returned to Bruges on the 25th]49 the day after the torpedoing of the Sussex; and that during this cruise, the same submarine had torpedoed three ships, two of which were in the Havre roads. As for the third, no explanation could be secured.

We know, however, that the steamers Kanning and Kelving Bank were torpedoed in the Havre roads between the 22nd and 23rd; and that the Sussex met the same fate on the 24th.

On the 24th of March, the U. B. 26 and the U. B. 29 were at Bruges and the U. B. 19 had failed up to then to torpedo any boat.

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Put together these statements make it clear that, on the 24th of March, the only German submarine present in the English Channel was the U. B. 18 and that this submarine torpedoed three ships, two of which are confessedly known by name, and the third cannot be but the Sussex.

The U. B. 26, now captured, had remained at Bruges from the 22nd to the 30th of March and during the five last days of her stay was there at the same time as the U. B. 18. The crews talked together about their experiences.

All prisoners examined state that the officer in command of the U. B. 18 is the same Steinbrinck recently decorated by the Emperor for his numerous torpedoings.

Believe me [etc.]


Though there is no specific mention as to this in the telegr[am] I received today, I suppose that it is better not to make public those numbers of boats etc., until they choose to do so on the other side.

  1. Corrected on the basis of a letter from the French Ambassador, Apr. 21, 1916 (file No. 851.857 Su 8/87½).