File No. 763.72/2926a

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany (Grew)


3471. For your information and not for communication to Foreign Office. On Sunday evening, October 8, at dusk, German war submarine U–53 attacked and sunk off Nantucket Island six merchant ships, and yesterday morning three more ships were sunk.1 Evident intention of German submarine to act in accordance with principles of international law, and ample time was given for passengers and crews, many of whom were American, to take to life boats. Distress signals were picked up by United States destroyers at Newport, which immediately went out and rescued passengers and crews from small boats. In view fact that sea was calm and that naval vessels were close at hand, no loss of life actually occurred. Feeling throughout country much aroused.

  1. No opinion was asked of, or given by, the Department of State in connection with the visit of the U-53 to Newport, R. I., in the afternoon of October 7, 1916; according to reports later received from the Navy and Treasury Departments, the submarine took on no supplies and received no assistance, but obtained newspapers containing shipping lists. (File Nos. 763.72111/4116, 763.72/2953.)