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

memorandum

With reference to the memorandum of His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador, dated the 17th instant, relative to the possible departure from the port of New York of ships of the Hamburg-American Line with the intention of engaging in belligerent operations, the Acting Secretary of State has the honor to observe that he is advised that although the U. S. S. Florida has been detached from patrol duty at New York, the U. S. revenue cutter Seneca is on that station, together with several destroyers for use in case a chase is necessary.

The Department of State is now advised of the investigation made of German vessels in New York Harbor, and particularly of the Hamburg-American ship Pisa. This investigation discloses that with the exception of the Pisa all of the vessels carried cargo coal only, but none to an amount to excite suspicion. The Pisa, however, carries a large amount of coal and machinery oil besides provisions and fire brick, but there is apparently no intention to sail. The [Page 611]report of the investigation specially mentions that there has been “no painting out of names.”

The appropriate officers of the Government have been directed to report any further developments in regard to these vessels.

Department of State,