File No. 763.72/2304

The Minister in Sweden (Morris) to the Secretary of State

No. 475]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copies and translations of a royal decree concerning the convoying of Swedish merchant vessels during time of war.

I have [etc.]

Ira N. Morris
[Page 628]

Proclamation concerning the convoying of Swedish merchant ships during war between foreign powers1

We Gustaf, by the grace of God, King of Sweden, and of the Goths and Wends, make proclamation: that We, revoking the ordinance, dated 10 June 1812, regarding merchant ships under convoy of men-of-war, have found it good, after deliberating with the competent authorities, to decree as follows:

Section 1

The purpose of convoying during war between foreign powers is, with due observance of what is decreed in this proclamation, to afford Swedish merchant ships protection against search and detention by warships of foreign powers.

Section 2

A convoy is arranged when the King or that naval authority to whom the decision of the matter has been entrusted, considers that the circumstances necessitate such convoy.

A requisition for the arrangement of a convoy is to be made in writing, or by telegraph, to the King in the Naval Defense Department, or to that naval authority to which the decision in the matter has been confided, and shall contain particulars as to the owners, or as regards the shipping company, the names of the principal owners, and also that of the captain, the name of the ship, its place of registration and number in the register of ships, the description and destination of the cargo, the shipper and consignee, the port of departure and destination of the ship, also the expected time of sailing.

Section 3

Application for the inclusion of a ship in the convoy shall, even if the ship has been mentioned in the requisition which has occasioned the arranging of the convoy, be made to the commander of the convoy and be accompanied by particulars as provided in the second part of Section 2; and the commander of the convoy shall decide, with due reference to what is enacted in Section 4, as to whether the application may be granted.

The application must be accompanied by a written undertaking to contribute such sum towards the expenses of the convoy as the King may decide. Such undertaking shall be immediately sent in to the naval defense department.

Section 4

Merchant ships which carry contraband of war, or which may reasonably be suspected of intending to render assistance contrary to the laws of neutrality to a neutral power, may not under any circumstances be included in the convoy.

Section 5

In order to prevent merchant ships referred to in Section 4 being included in the convoy, such measures of control as are considered suitable may be taken with regard to ships for which convoying has been applied for.

It shall be obligatory for the captain of a ship for which convoying has been granted, both, before sailing of the convoy to hand over the original ship’s papers to the commander of the convoy, and also, on requirement by the commander of the convoy, to give him a written assurance that the documents handed over are complete and in accordance with the actual conditions.

The ship’s papers shall be returned to the captain at such time as the commander of the convoy considers desirable.

Section 6

In order to prevent contraband being put on board it shall be the duty of the customs authorities on request of the commander of the convoy and to the extent he may consider necessary to set a watch over the ship for which a convoy has been requested, both while loading and after up to the sailing of [Page 629] the convoy, and also to assist in any examination of the cargo which may be undertaken by the commander of the convoy.

A report shall be drawn up by the authorized custom authorities with regard to the measures which they have taken, of which a certified copy shall be handed to the commander of the convoy before it sails. Where it can conveniently be done, the report may be replaced by a certificate issued by the customs authorities regarding the watch kept over the ship.

The shipowner shall defray the expense incurred by the customs authorities according to the certified scale of charges.

Section 7

The commander of the convoy shall issue a certificate to the captains of those merchant ships which have obtained permission to be included in the convoy, and this certificate with the necessary instructions and a copy of this proclamation shall be handed to the catain of the merchant ship before the sailing of the convoy.

Section 8

The captain of a merchant ship which is included in the convoy shall, together with his crew, be under obligation to obey the orders and directions which are given by the commander of the convoy, or by his authorized representative on his behalf under pain of the ship’s otherwise being excluded from the convoy.

This proclamation shall come into force immediately upon being issued.

These ordinances are to be observed by all concerned. And hereunto have we set our hand and seal.


Naval Defense Department
Dan Broström

  1. Swedish Statutes, 1915, No. 411.