File No. 763.72111/191

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

memorandum

With reference to recent conversations at the State Department respecting the preparations for departure from New York which are apparently being made by ships of the Hamburg-American Line and are of such a nature as to lead to the presumption that belligerent operations are intended, His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador has the honour to observe that there is grave reason to believe that the ships in question might be able to effect their departure from neutral waters without difficulty unless there is a United States naval force on the spot to prevent them.

British Embassy,