File No. 763.72111/2719
The Netherland Minister (Van Rappard) to the Third Assistant Secretary of State (Phillips)
[Received July 29.]
My Dear Mr. Phillips: My Government asks me repeatedly for information about the status of armed merchant vessels and the attitude of the United States toward them.
I got some time ago from the Secretary of State, the regulation of September 1914 regulating this matter,3 but I should like so much to know if indeed the British and American Governments have made arrangement to the effect that British merchantmen should not be armed by [when] entering or leaving American harbors, and in the affirmative the reason why that arrangement has been made as in principle the United States according to above named regulation of September have no objections under special conditions to defensive armaments on merchant ships.
In to-day’s Times I find enclosed article on this subject. If you could tell me that the content of that article is exact, where it describes the real facts of the situation governing the status of armed merchant vessels and the attitude of the United States toward them, I should have all the information. I need, but I hesitate to accept this newspaper version, how exact it may seem, without your kindly and quite unofficially endorsing it. Can you do that?
Thanks so much for all the trouble I give you. Believe me [etc.]