The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Spring Rice )

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have received your informal note of the 24th instant concerning the observance of the American neutrality regulations by the British cruisers in the North Atlantic. In this relation I desire to call to your attention certain information which has come to my notice with reference to the operations of [Page 873] belligerent cruisers in the North Pacific. I have been reliably informed that several times during the past winter belligerent ships of war have taken on coal, and perhaps other supplies, within the territorial waters of the United States in the vicinity of the islands off the Santa Barbara channel, southern California, and have had communication with the mainland in this locality. One circumstance in particular occurred, according to my information, on the 27th of February last, when the British steamship Bellerophon, of Liverpool, coaled the British cruiser Rainbow within a mile of the western shore of Anacapa Island. It appears that at the same time a launch left the vicinity of Hueneme, California, and communicated with the vessels above mentioned. I should appreciate the kindness if you will bring this matter informally to the attention of your Government, and, if the facts, upon examination, prove to be as represented, request your Government to issue such instructions to their fleet as will make a recurrence of such violations of the neutrality of the territorial waters of the United States impossible.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Robert Lansing