File No. 841.857/84

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Spring Rice)1

No. 975]

Excellency: Referring to your note of October 7, 1915, relative to the reported placing of material of an incendiary character on the British steamship Asuncion de Larrinaga, while in the port of New York, I have now the honor to advise you of the receipt of a letter of October 23, 1915, from the Governor of New York as to the progress being made by the municipal authorities in their investigation of the matter.

It appears that, on October 21, the Governor instructed his counsel to proceed to New York and ascertain from the municipal authorities such facts as would enable him to make a report. The counsel called on the district attorneys of New York and Kings Counties, who stated that they had communicated with the police department immediately upon receipt of the Governor’s letter, and that, at the present time, the police department is making an investigation which has not yet proceeded far enough to call for any action by them. They have at the same time offered to and were cooperating with the police department in any way which that department desired.

Thereafter the Governor’s counsel called on the Mayor of New York, who referred him to the police commissioner. At police headquarters he interviewed Deputy Commissioner Scull, who has the matter in charge. Mr. Scull informed him that investigations were proceeding in all the cases, and that, while none of the cases had been disposed of, he still hoped to apprehend the offenders, and also, that, owing to certain steps which the department had already taken, he believed the activity of persons placing incendiary bombs on British ships had ceased. The deputy commissioner stated that he would furnish the Governor with a written report in the near future, setting forth such facts as seem to him to be advisable to put in writing at the present time. This report the Governor promises to forward to the Department of State in due course.

The Governor states that, should you desire to send a representative to take up the matter directly with him, Deputy Commissioner Scull will be glad to furnish him with all the details which it is impossible to set forth in a letter, by reason of the fact that to do so would probably prejudice the investigations which are now being conducted.

The Governor adds that, from information he has received, he can assure the Department of State that the matter is progressing as well as could be expected, and that everything that can be done is being done.

I have [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. The same, except as to the first and fourth paragraphs, to the French Ambassador, No. 1611, November 1.