File No. 763.72111K92/39

The Secretary of the Navy (Daniels) to the Secretary of State

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Department’s letter 763.72111/2853, of September 22, 1915, enclosing copy of a letter from the collector of customs at Norfolk, Va., in the matter of the application made by several of the German officers on board the interned German cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm to be allowed to own and operate a small yacht in Norfolk waters as a pleasure vessel only.1 It is noted that the Department of State will be pleased to receive the views of this Department regarding the application which has been made.

While under their present status of internment, the German officers of the Kronprinz Wilhelm are accorded liberty to visit at will Norfolk, Portsmouth, Va., Newport News, Old Point Comfort, and other shore resorts, on general parole, and no restriction is placed upon the means they may employ in the exercise of this privilege. The Department is, however, of the opinion that official sanction of the purchase and use by these officers of a small yacht capable of such extended service might, and probably would, be construed by them to include an extension of present privileges to the limit of the boat’s capacity. Such extended privileges to these interned officers are not desirable, and this application should be denied.

It may be noted in connection with this subject that requests of our naval attaché at Berlin for permission to visit the naval front have been denied by the German naval authorities, such denial showing a disposition to curtail the usual courtesies extended to our naval representative in Germany.

Sincerely yours,

Josephus Daniels
  1. Not printed.