File No. 341.115P51/60

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1873]

Sir: Adverting to the cablegraphic instructions from the Department, No. 1596 of June [May] 21,1 in regard to the American S. S. Joseph W. Fordney , instructing me to inform the British Government to the effect that an affidavit of the captain of the vessel had been received, stating that he had made no effort to elude the British patrol boat, I now have the honor to enclose herewith, for the information of the Department, a copy of a note which I have received from Sir Edward Grey in reply to my representations in the premises.

I have [etc.]

Walter Hines Page

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Grey ) to the American Ambassador ( Page )

No. 95233/15]

Your Excellency: With reference to your note of May 22 relative to the American S.S. Joseph W. Fordney , I have the honour to transmit herewith for your excellency’s information a copy of a report which has been submitted to the Admiralty by the commanding officer of H.M.S. Teutonic respecting the circumstances attending the interception of this vessel on April 6 last.

[Page 504]

I think your excellency will admit that this report constitutes a sufficient basis for the statement made in the first paragraph of my memorandum of May 14, which the master of the vessel is now endeavouring to contravert.

I have [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Eyre A. Crowe

Summary of report of commanding officer of H.M.S. “Teutonic” 1

At 3.50 a. m. on April 6, 1915, H.M.S. Teutonic sighted the American steamer Joseph W. Fordney bearing SE. (magnetic) and steaming on a southerly course. H.M.S. Teutonic at that time was steering S. 77° E. speed 13 knots, and course was altered and telegraphs put to full speed to intercept the steamer, the white ensign being hoisted at the peak and signal to stop engines also hoisted. The steamer was then seen to alter course and appeared to be steaming full speed. At 4 a. m. course was altered to S. 27° E. At 4.20 a. m. H.M.S. Teutonic having overhauled the Joseph W. Fordney , an alphabetical signal “We have no code book” was made by the latter. An alphabetical signal “Stop” was then made by H.M.S. Teutonic, and the boarding officer was alongside the S.S. Joseph W. Fordney at 5.15 a. m.

The master of S.S. Joseph W. Fordney stated in conversation with the officer in charge of the armed guard, that he had been promised a bonus of about one thousand dollars if he got through without being sent to Kirkwall, from the time charterers, as a recompense for the money saved to them if the delay of the vessel being sent to Kirkwall for examination was obviated. He also stated that he altered course towards the land for territorial waters to avoid being intercepted.

  1. Ante, p. 404.
  2. The form of the report here used was transmitted to the American Ambassador June 16, 1916, as that in which the British Government preferred it should be published (File No. 341.115P51/66).