File No. 763.72/2302
The Secretary of State to the German Ambassador (Bernstorff)
Excellency: Referring to your excellency’s note of December 1, 1915 (No. A 7824), in which you ask, by direction of your Government, that orders be issued to the commanding officers of American warships in the Mediterranean to display the national flag so that it can be clearly seen by day and to keep the ship and flag sufficiently lighted by night, in order that the vessels of this Government may not be mistaken for warships of the states at war with the Central powers, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a communication dated December 10, 1915, from the Secretary of the Navy, indicating the reasons why the Navy Department must decline to issue the orders as suggested by the Imperial Government.
The substance of the Secretary of the Navy’s letter has been transmitted to the American Ambassador at Berlin by telegraph for communication to the Imperial Foreign Office.