File No. 763.72111Ei9/14

The Department of State to the British Embassy


The Department of State has received the memorandum, dated March 24, 1915,1 from His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy, inviting attention to the principle embodied in Article 16 of the Hague Convention of 1907, No. XIII, paragraph 3, namely: That a belligerent warship may not leave a neutral port or roadstead until 24 hours after the departure of an enemy merchant ship.

It is pointed out that this convention was signed by Great Britain, but not ratified; that it was adhered to by the United States; that the principle referred to is generally accepted (Oppenheim, secs. 333 and 347); and that the regulations issued by the British Government on January 31, 1862, embodied this principle in Sections 2 and 3.

His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy states that it has no doubt that this principle will be taken into consideration by the United States authorities in regard to the departure of the German war vessel now undergoing repairs in the port of Newport News, Va.

In reply the Department of State informs His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy that the Government of the United States has given instructions that this rule of international law be observed by the Prinz Eitel Friedrich upon her departure from an American port.

  1. Not printed.