The Acting Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Spring Rice)

Excellency: The Department has received your note of the 16th instant calling attention specially to the Vaterland which you state is in readiness to sail from New York Harbor with 17,000 tons of coal, on board. You add that there is a strong probability of the Vaterland’s being converted into a German armed cruiser on the high seas.

In reply I have the honor to state that your information differs from the Department’s regarding the intentions of the Vaterland [Page 610]and the amount of coal on board, since on the 14th instant this Government was advised by its agents that this vessel had on board 5,000 tons of coal, no cargo, no provisions, and had apparently no intention to sail immediately. The appropriate officers of the Government are under instructions to report immediately any new facts regarding foreign vessels in New York Harbor, particularly the German ships to which you have called the attention of this Government.

I have [etc.]

Robert Lansing