File No. 841.857Ar1/92
The German Ambassador (Bernstorff) to the Secretary of State
My Dear Mr. Secretary: Prompted by the desire to reach a satisfactory agreement with regard to the Arabic incident, my Government has given me the following instructions:
The orders issued by His Majesty the Emperor to the commanders of the German submarines—of which I notified you on a previous occasion—have been made so stringent that the recurrence of incidents similar to the Arabic case is considered out of the question.
According to the report of Commander Schneider of the submarine that sank the Arabic, and his affidavit as well as those of his men, Commander Schneider was convinced that the Arabic intended to ram the submarine. On the other hand, the Imperial Government does not doubt the good faith of the affidavits of the British officers of the Arabic, according to which the Arabic did not intend to ram the submarine. The attack of the submarine, therefore, was undertaken against the instructions issued to the commander. The Imperial Government regrets and disavows this act and has notified Commander Schneider accordingly.
Under these circumstances my Government is prepared to pay an indemnity for the American lives which, to its deep regret, have been lost on the Arabic. I am authorized to negotiate with you about the amount of this indemnity.
I remain [etc.]