File No. 763.72111/2080

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

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With further reference to your letter of the 27th of March relative to the operations, of British cruisers in the North Pacific, I have now received through Sir Edward Grey a report from the commanding officer of His Majesty’s ship Rainbow in substance as follows:

The Rainbow began coaling from the steamship Protesilaus off Anacapa Island at 8.20 a. m. on February 27. The cruiser lay south 46 degrees west true 3.9 miles from the northwest point of the island. Finding that the ships were drifting into the Anacapa passage, a position was taken up south 28 degrees west true 3 miles [Page 876] from the northwest point of the island. At 4 p. m. coaling operations were suspended and it was then found that the ships had drifted into a position 1.5 miles south 30 degrees west true from the boat for Anacapa Island. On account of the swell further out coaling was effected in this position and even so the Rainbow received damage. Allowing a margin for safety, only sufficient coal was taken to enable the cruiser to reach the nearest Canadian port.

With reference to the report that the cruiser communicated with the shore, the facts are that a small local launch came alongside the Rainbow without being hailed and offered a sheep and some potatoes for sale which were purchased by the steward. The cruiser sent no communication to the shore. In bringing these facts to your notice, I am instructed to add that the attention of the officers commanding His Majesty’s ships in the Pacific has been drawn to this incident and the necessity has been impressed upon them of taking care to avoid any appearance of violating the neutrality of the United States.

Believe me [etc.]

Cecil Spring Rice