File No. 763.72111/132
The British Ambassador ( Spring Rice ) to the Secretary of State
His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador has received instructions to draw the attention of the United States Government to the proceedings of the German warships Leipzig and Nürnberg. It is a matter of common knowledge that these ships have been lying off the coast of California for some days and it is known that the German Consul visited the Leipzig in a tug in which the San Francisco Examiner sent out papers containing information of the whereabouts and movements of belligerent men-of-war. This incident was characterized by Rear Admiral Charles F. Pond of the United States Navy, in a notice issued August 13, as unneutral service and a violation of the President’s proclamation of neutrality. He warned the newspapers and all persons that acts of this character would be done at the peril of the persons or organization taking part in them.
His Majesty’s Government are informed that on August 13 the two German cruisers which were lying just outside the three-mile limit at the entrance to San Francisco were in constant communication by radio-telegraphy with the German Consul. Such messages between belligerent men-of-war and their consul can hardly be presumed to refer to anything else than warlike operations.[Page 656]
The Ambassador is accordingly instructed to ask the United States Government to be good enough to make enquiries with a view to ascertaining what steps were taken to ensure that these messages were not of an unneutral nature and such as are prohibited by the Executive Order of August 5, 1914.
He would feel greatly obliged if the Secretary of State would be good enough to let him know the result of these enquiries.
[Received September 8.]