File No. 763.72111F23/27
The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Spring Rice)
Excellency: Replying to your note of the 26th ultimo stating that His Britannic Majesty’s Government at present do not understand to whom the United States Government feel bound to hand over at the end of the war the steamship Farn, now interned at San Juan, Porto Rico, and that they would much appreciate it if they could be informed of the decision arrived at in this respect, I have the honor to convey to you this Government’s opinion that the right to the vessel as between Great Britain and Germany is a question for those belligerents, and not for the United States, to decide. This Government has interned the vessel because of the character which her service, as a tender to a belligerent fleet, has impressed upon her, and not because she belongs in law to the subjects of Great Britain or Germany.
I have [etc.]