File No. 763.72112/1296

The Ambassador in Italy (Page) to the Secretary of State


344. My 307, May 29. Following is translation full text Foreign Office circular note received today:3

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has the honor to inform the American Embassy at Rome that from July 6 the blockade declared by the Italian [Page 168] Government on the 26th and 28th May last has been extended to all the zones of the Adriatic Sea north of the line Otranto-Aspri Ruga (Strade Bianche). Navigation in this sea north of this line is considered forbidden to all merchant vessels of all countries. A safe-conduct will be delivered by the Ministry of War or by its agents to ships wishing to enter ports on the Adriatic Sea belonging to or occupied by Italy or Montenegro. Such ships should go to the port of Gallipoli where they will receive, after verification by the local maritime authorities, a safe-conduct for entering the Adriatic. Ships wishing to leave the zone of blockade should, after having received a permit from the authorities of the port of departure, go to Bari where a safe-conduct for leaving will be given them. Ships furnished with a safe-conduct should not present themselves before the line of blockade (Otranto-Aspri Ruga, Strade Bianche) except during the day. They should anchor on this line at a distance not greater than five miles from the Italian coast in order to receive the visit of war vessels assigned to this purpose. Navigation in the Adriatic Sea to merchant ships of all nationalities having obtained safe-conduct of entrance or of departure is regulated by the Royal decree of June 13, 1915, No. 899, and by all other rulings which the Italian maritime authorities will establish case by case for ships allowed to enter or go out of the Adriatic. All ships not observing these regulations will be considered as violating the blockade and will be captured and confiscated and the merchandise on board disposed of according to existing rulings.

Nelson Page
  1. The Royal decree embodied in this note went into effect July 6, 1915. The note was dated July 5.