File No. 763.72111/1548
The German Ambassador ( Bernstorff ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 29.]
Mr. Secretary of State: It has come to my knowledge that the Bethlehem Steel Works are secretly sending to Canada parts of submarines. Those parts are then put together on British soil so that the shipment of the parts is tantamount to a delivery of complete submarines.
Neutrals are forbidden, under the provisions of the Second Peace Conference at The Hague, of October 18, 1907, to deliver war vessels of any kind to belligerents. The action of the Bethlehem works is therefore in violation of the neutrality of the United States and your excellency will doubtless share my opinion that it is an unlawful evasion of the neutrality declaration proclaimed by the President of the United States at the outbreak of the war.
I have the honor to ask your excellency kindly to set on foot an early investigation of the matter and venture further to make the respectful request that I be most promptly informed of the measures taken.