File No. 763.72111/86
The British Chargé d’Affaires (Barclay) to the Secretary of State
Sir: His Majesty’s Government have been informed that the German vessel Kronprinz Wilhelm sailed from New York on the night of the 3d of August, without passengers, but with a heavy load of coal, 7,000 tons, and fitted with two long-range guns. Her superstructure had also been painted gray. All these preparations were made before the vessel left United States waters.[Page 595]
It is a matter of common knowledge that similar preparations are being made on board other German vessels, notably the Vaterland and the Barbarossa, in United States ports, and they will no doubt attempt to adopt the same tactics as the Kronprinz Wilhelm .
In view of the state of war now existing between Great Britain and Germany I have the honour, under instructions from Sir Edward Grey, to call your most serious attention to the action taken in regard to these vessels and to urge the United States Government to take immediate steps to prevent these and other such vessels leaving United States waters without passengers and after carrying out such obviously warlike preparations as described above, which, when carried out in neutral waters, constitute a distinct breach of the laws of neutrality.
I have [etc.]