File No. 763.72/481
The British Chargé d’Affaires (Barclay) to the Secretary of State
Washington, August 12, 1914.
[Received August 13.]
Sir: In view of the state of war now existing between Great Britain and Austria-Hungary I have the honour, under instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to refer you to my note No. 252 of the 4th instant,1 stating the position taken by His Majesty’s Government in respect to the arming of merchant vessels in neutral countries and the responsibility of neutrals.
I am to call your attention to the fact that it is known that Austria-Hungary, like Germany, favours the policy of converting her merchant vessels into armed ships on the high seas and that it is probable therefore that attempts will be made to equip and despatch merchantmen for such conversion from the ports of the United States.
A similar communication is being addressed by His Majesty’s representatives to practically all the neutral powers.
I have [etc.]