File No. 841.857/30a
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard )
2155. Investigation of American representatives in England shows that Allan Line S. S. Hesperian left Liverpool at 7 p. m. on Friday, September 3, and on reaching approximately latitude 50 north, longitude 10 west, 88 miles southwest of Fastnet Rock off the southern coast of Ireland at 8.30 p. m. September 4, an explosion took place, without warning of any description being received, against the starboard bow No. 2 bulkhead, after which the vessel commenced to settle by the bow about ten feet in four hours. The sky was clear and the ocean was calm and dusk was closing down rapidly at the time. The explosion occurred within about eight feet of the surface and threw a mass of water and steel fragments on the deck of the ship. From these fragments it is reported that the explosion was produced by a torpedo. There were some Americans on board, but it has not yet been definitely ascertained how many or whether any were lost.
Please bring foregoing to the attention of the Foreign Office and request to be informed at the earliest moment whether the German Government has any information bearing on the report that the Hesperian was sunk by a German submarine. Emphasize orally to the Foreign Minister the urgency in the view of your Government of a prompt reply.