File No. 841.857Ar1/77a
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard )
2186. You are instructed to deliver to the Foreign Office the following summary of the evidence on file in the Department in regard to the sinking of the Arabic:
- It is generally agreed that the course of the Arabic drew her nearer to the Dunsley from the time the Dunsley and Arabic sighted each other until about the time the Arabic was torpedoed. (Affidavits of master, first, second, and third officers, mess steward and seamen of Dunsley; affidavits of captain and second officer of the Arabic; unsworn statements of three American passengers.) The officers of the Dunsley agree that the Arabic altered her course somewhat toward the Dunsley, but that her course was variable or zigzag. (Affidavits of master, first, second, and third officers and mess steward and one seaman of the Dunsley; affidavits of captain and second officer of Arabic; affidavit of one American passenger.) The third officer stated that the Arabic began the zigzag course four miles away from the Dunsley. Though the Arabic at times necessarily pointed toward the Dunsley, at the time the torpedo struck she was moving away from the Dunsley. (Affidavits of captain and second officer of Arabic, third officer of Dunsley, and one passenger of unknown nationality and unsworn statement of one American passenger.)
- The passengers on the Arabic variously estimated that the Arabic approached the Dunsley to within one to five miles. (Affidavits of three American passengers; unsworn statements of three American passengers and one passenger of unknown nationality.) While the Dunsley was sighted several miles away, the officers of that vessel estimated that the Arabic approached to one and a half to three miles from the Dunsley. (Affidavits of master, first, and second officers.) And one Dunsley seaman swore the distance was only one-half mile. The affidavits of the captain and the second officer of the Arabic agree that the Arabic did not approach nearer than two miles to the Dunsley.
- It appears that the submarine after shelling the Dunsley and after sighting the Arabic hid behind the Dunsley and submerged before the explosion of the torpedo which sank the Arabic. (Affidavits of master, first and second officers, mess steward, and one seaman of Dunsley.)
- Witnesses are in agreement that the submarine was not seen from the Arabic (affidavits of the captain and second officer of the Arabic, affidavits of three American passengers and unsworn statement of passenger of unknown nationality), and that the Arabic could not have seen the submarine from its position behind the Dunsley prior to submerging. (Affidavit of second officer of the Dunsley.)
- All agree that the Arabic received no warning. (Affidavits of six American passengers and two passengers of unknown nationality, and the unsworn statements of four American passengers and two [Page 548] passengers of unknown nationality and the affidavits of captain and second officer of the Arabic.)
- The torpedo was first seen by the passengers at an estimated distance of 150 to 300 yards away. (Affidavit of passenger of unknown nationality, unsworn statements of two American passengers and one passenger of unknown nationality.) The captain of the Arabic, however, swears that the air bubbles and the torpedo were only 300 feet away when he saw them. (It appears that Consul Washington at Liverpool, in conversation with Captain Finch and the second officer of the Arabic, learned that they saw bubbles of air at the time they first noticed the torpedo, which were taken to indicate the air escaping at the time the torpedo was expelled from the tube, and that therefore the submarine was supposed to have been only 300 feet from the Arabic and about two miles from the Dunsley when the torpedo was fired. Consul Washington’s three telegraphic reports of August 24.1)
- All agree that the torpedo struck the Arabic near the stern on the starboard side. (Affidavit of captain, second officer of Arabic, captain and second officer of Dunsley, and two American passengers and a passenger of unknown nationality, and unsworn statement of one American passenger.)
From a diagram made by the second officer of the Arabic, who observed the approach of the torpedo from the navigating bridge, the course of the torpedo was almost at right angles to the course of the Arabic.
- Not printed.↩