File No. 763.72111/179

The Secretary of State to the British Embassy


In reply to the memorandum of September 1 from His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy, relative to the passage of radio messages between German warships and the German Consul at San Francisco, the Department of State begs to advise His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy of the receipt of a letter on the subject from the Secretary of the Navy, in substance as follows:

Two messages of this character were picked up by radio stations in the vicinity of San Francisco about August 12, 1914, and by order of the Commandant, twelfth naval district, whose headquarters are at San Francisco, they were not transmitted.

The Commandant of the district, in reporting the circumstances, called attention to the possibility of such messages being received by an amateur, unlicensed station, and recommended that all such stations be closed. The Navy Department ordered that this be done, and since then any messages that may have been sent could only have been received by a regularly licensed station or a naval radio station, where they would, of course, be subject to the Navy Department’s instructions regarding censorship.1

It is added that no report of any unneutral message or message of any kind between belligerent war vessels and shore stations has been received since.

Department of State,
  1. See the section on control over wireless telegraphy, post, p. 667.