File No. 763.72111V76/—

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

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: Referring to previous informal correspondence with you, I desire to call your attention to the case of the Danish steamship Vinland which arrived in Norfolk on the 12th instant.

It appears from an affidavit of the master that after leaving New York on November 10 at 5 a. m., in ballast, for Norfolk to coal for a voyage to South America, he sighted, at 8.45 a. m., a British warship which bore down upon him, and when he was two miles off land signaled for the Vinland to stop. Upon the Vinland’s refusal to comply, the warship followed him within the three-mile limit [Page 878] until he reached the McCrie’s Gas Buoy at 6.35 p. m. He then took the Cape May Channel and anchored inside the breakwater for the night, leaving at 4 a. m. on the next day for Norfolk. As it was hazy, nothing further was seen of the British warship that day.

In view of your informal note of April 19 last, stating that scrupulous care is being taken to observe the rules of international law by His Majesty’s ships, I venture to call to your attention this incident of the Vinland with a request that you be good enough to examine into the matter and, if the facts prove to be as represented, that your Government issue suitable instructions to their fleet, so that such vexatious violations of American waters be prevented in the future.

At the same time the Government may, as you know, be obliged to take such formal steps in the case of the Vinland as may seem appropriate in the circumstances.

I am [etc.]

Frank L. Polk

Acting Secretary