File No. 763.72/2102
The German Ambassador (Bernstorff) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 9.]
My Dear Mr. Secretary: With regard to the Arabic incident I am authorized to inform you confidentially that since several months the commanders of our submarines had orders not to attack the large ocean liners without warning and safety for non-combatants. Therefore, if the Arabic was attacked without warning, this would have been done contrary to the instructions given to the commanders of the submarines. These orders have now been modified, so as to comprise all liners. These instructions are and will remain in force pending the negotiations with the Government of the United States, which as we hope will in the end lead to a complete understanding on all questions of maritime warfare.
I remain [etc.]