File No. 865.857An2/29

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State


1110. Referring my 1103, 14th.1 Additional information furnished me by Ministry of Marine in following telegram from prefect of Bizerta:

November 15. Submarine flying no flag opened fire at distance of five miles without giving warning. Steamer took flight at full speed, hoisting her flag, pursued by submarine, which hoisted brand-new Austrian flag. Ancona being overhauled and satisfied she had encountered a German submarine stopped and laid herself broadside on to show her flag.

Three shells and a torpedo were fired while the captain and (forty?) passengers were still on board. It was not proven that the ship’s boats were fired at, but according to eye witnesses, the crew made fun of the passengers struggling in the water. Nothing was done to save them except in case of one young woman to whom a rope was thrown and who was told to come aboard, but was prevented from following this advice by the passengers of a neighboring boat. Displacement 1,000 tons, length 80 meters; two guns of about 75 millimeters, one forward, one aft. Brand-new Austrian flag was hoisted after steamer showed Italian flag. Sailors wore old clothes; no possibility of recognizing the uniform. The captain of steamer believed he had to do with German submarine and maneuvered in consequence. The submarine was alone.

Following extract from declaration of captain of steamer France sunk on November 7 by a German submarine at about 70 miles from the southeast coast of Sardinia, also furnished me by Ministry of Marine.

It was 11.15 in the morning when the steamer sank, latitude 38°, longitude 10° 18’ east of Greenwich. At that moment the submarine approached the ship’s boats and the captain ordered me to accost him. I then noticed a cinema operator on the bridge taking photographs. The submarine thereupon made off. At noon when we were making sail with the boats we heard a violent cannonade. We counted twenty-three shots and perceived a steamer at about five or six miles away, apparently the object of the cannonade.

  1. Not printed.