File No. 841.857/32
The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 15, 8 p. m.]
2891. Department’s September 6 , 6 p. m.2 Following note received to-day:
Berlin , September 13, 1915.
The undersigned has the honor to inform his excellency Mr. Gerard, Ambassador of the United States of America, in reply to the note of the 9th instant, [Page 549] on the subject of the sinking of the English passenger steamer Hesperian, that from the reports hitherto received taken in connection with the facts known to the Imperial Government it appears out of the question that a German submarine is concerned in the matter of the Sinking.
First of all, pursuant to the scheduled assignment there was no German submarine on September 4 in the area of the sea where the Hesperian was sunk. Furthermore, according to the descriptions known here the effects of the explosion were such that a mine might be assumed to have been the cause but not a torpedo. It speaks in favor of this assumption that from the descriptions received the vessel was hit near the stem and the two foremost compartments were filled with water.
Although not all the submarines which were at sea on the 4th of September have yet returned, the Imperial Government nevertheless believes that it can now give expression to the conviction that German submarines had nothing to do with the sinking of the Hesperian.
The undersigned requests his excellency the Ambassador to bring the above to the knowledge of the American Government and avails himself [etc.]