File No. 462.11Se8/6

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard )


1446. You are instructed to present the following note to the German Foreign Office:

Under instructions from my Government I have the honor to present a claim for $228,059.54, with interest from January 28, 1915, against the German Government on behalf of the owners and captain of the American sailing vessel William P. Frye for damages suffered by them on account of the destruction of that vessel on the high seas by the German armed cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich, on January 28, 1915.

The facts upon which this claim arises and by reason of which the German Government is held responsible by the Government of the United States for the attendant loss and damages are briefly as follows:

The William P. Frye , a steel sailing vessel of 3,374 tons gross tonnage, owned by American citizens and sailing under the United States flag and register, cleared from Seattle, Washington, November 4, 1914, under charter to M. H. Houser, of Portland, Oregon, bound for Queenstown, Falmouth, or Plymouth for orders, with a cargo consisting solely of 186,950 bushels of wheat owned by the aforesaid Houser and consigned “unto order or to its assigns,” all of which appears from the ship’s papers which were taken from the vessel at the time of her destruction by the commander of the German cruiser.

On January 27, 1915, the Prinz Eitel Friedrich encountered the Frye on the high seas, compelled her to stop, and sent on board an armed boarding party, who took possession. After an examination of the ship’s papers the commander of the cruiser directed that the cargo be thrown overboard, but subsequently decided to destroy the vessel, and on the following morning, by his order, the Frye was sunk.

The claim of the owners and captain consists of the following items:

Value of ship, equipment, and outfit $150,000.00
Actual freight as per freight list, 5034 1000/2240 tons, at 32/6—€8,180 19/6 at $4.86 39,759.54
Traveling and other expenses of Captain Kiehne and Arthur Sewall and Company, agents of ship, in connection with making affidavits, preparing and filing claim 500.00
Personal effects of Capt. H. H. Kiehne 300.00
Damages covering loss due to deprivation of use of ship 37,500.00
Total 228,059.54

By direction of my Government, I have the honor to request that full reparation be made by the German Government for the destruction of the William P. Frye by the German cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich.

In presenting this note you will request that the claim be given prompt attention by the German Government. Inform Department as soon as you have delivered note.

  1. Presented April 3.