File No. 300.115/4766

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Hamburg (Morgan)

No. 397]

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 315 of August 5, 1915, enclosing a copy and translation of the decision rendered by the Hamburg prize court in the case of the steamship Indian Prince.1

There is enclosed a copy of a letter which the Department has addressed to all parties interested in the cargo of the vessel.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Wilbur J. Carr
[Page 536]

The Secretary of State to Mr. James H. Hayden

Sir: Referring to previous correspondence on the subject, you are informed that the Department has received from the American Consul General at Hamburg a copy of the decision of the German prize court in reference to the claims of American owners of cargo on the steamship Indian Prince, which was captured and sunk on September 9, 1914, by the German auxiliary cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm . It appears from this decision that all claims for indemnification on account of the loss of the cargo of this vessel were dismissed, the prize court following its former decision in the case of the steamship Glitra.

In view of several inquiries which have been received by it, the Department deems it advisable to call to the attention of interested parties at the present time the principle of international law that a claimant against a foreign government is not, as a general rule, entitled to diplomatic intervention by his own government until he has exhausted the legal remedies in the appropriate tribunals of the country against which he makes the claim.

Concerning the reference by the prize court in its decision in this case, which has presumably come to your attention, to Article 13 of the treaty of amity and commerce which was concluded between the United States and the Kingdom of Prussia on July 11, 1799, and the apparent discrepancies between certain English and French texts thereof, you are informed that this treaty as originally signed was in both English and French and that exact copies of the originals thereof, with the exception of minor typographical errors, may be found in Volume 8 of the United States Statutes at Large, pages 162–77. The English text as therein printed is the same as that which was approved by the Senate and proclaimed by the President of the United States.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Alvey A. Adee
  1. Ante, p. 520.