File No. 763.72111/1859
The German Ambassador (Bernstorff) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 24.]
Mr. Secretary of State: I beg leave to bring the following to your excellency’s knowledge:
On Sunday the 21st instant not less than six steamers left the port of New York with ordnance, munitions, and other war material, the aggregate value of which is estimated at two million dollars at least.
One of the steamers, the Orduna of the Cunard Line, carried to Newcastle, England, two 15-inch cannons, delivered by the Bethlehem Steel Works. This is the third time that there has been delivered from this country heavy ordnance intended for newly built English naval vessels, that is to say for the armament of a warship of a belligerent power. Yet nothing has been heard of any investigation of the lawfulness of the shipping or of any clearance being refused by the New York customs and harbor officials.
The attitude of the said officials toward such shipments is all the more surprising as the recent inspection of the vessels of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American Line and the action brought against the Hamburg-American Line for supposedly false clearing of vessels prove that the harbor authorities give their best attention to all German measures that may have any possible connection with the conduct of the war and, as in the case of the Hoboken ship inspection, take most drastic action on the strength of mere rumors.