File No. 763.72111E1 1/10

The German Ambassador (Bernstorff) to the Secretary of State

J. Nr. A 4511]

Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to forward herewith to your excellency a clipping from the New York Times of the 8th instant about the building of war motor-boats for Great Britain in the United States.1

According to the article of the Times those boats will be provided with machine guns and ramming spurs for the destruction of submarines.

If the foregoing reports are well founded, this would make it a case of warcraft ordered in a neutral country by a belligerent power and the execution of the order would constitute a contravention of Article 8 of the thirteenth convention of the Second Hague Conference.

Several hundred, others say a thousand, such boats are said to have been ordered from the Elco Company and the New London Ship and Engine Company of New London, Conn.

Twelve twin-screw motor-boats are said to have been ordered for the account of the English from the Greenport Basin and Construction Company of Greenport, L. I. The boats are said to be 60 feet long and are to be provided with gas motors which will develop a speed of 24 knots. I am told that 4 boats are already in course of construction. All 12 boats are to be delivered within four months.

I have the honor to ask your excellency kindly to direct an investigation of the matter and should be thankful if you would acquaint me with the result thereof.

Accept [etc.]

J. Bernstorff
  1. Not printed.