File No. 711. 6221/153

Ambassador Gerard to the Secretary of State

No. 3754

Sir: With reference to the Department’s circular instruction of March 9, 1916,3 quoting, at the request of the Acting Secretary of Commerce, for the information of this Embassy and for communication to the German Government, a circular letter addressed by the commissioner of navigation, to collectors of customs, shipping commissioners and others concerned, and forwarding a print of the Act of [Page 13] Congress approved March 4, 1915, known as the “Seamen’s Act,” I have the honor to transmit herewith to the Department copies and translations of a note received from the Imperial Foreign Office, dated August 3, 1916, stating that, though the advice which is provided for in Section 16 of the above-mentioned act to the effect that the Government of the United States intends to annul the articles of the valid treaties conflicting with the contents of this act, after expiration of the terms of notice, has as yet not been received by the Imperial, Government, the Foreign Office does not fail to advise the Embassy, for communication to its Government, that the Seamen’s Act contains regulations which are not consistent with agreements in the treaties concluded by the Empire and the United States.

I have [etc.]

James W. Gerard
[Inclosure—Note verbale—Translation]

[Untitled]

The Foreign Office has the honor to acknowledge receipt of the American Embassy’s note verbale dated April 14, 1916—F. O. No. 9328—and of the print of the official edition of the act known as the “Seamen’s Act” of the United States, under date of March 4, 1915, transmitted for the information of the Foreign Office.

Though the advice which is provided for in Section 16 of the above-mentioned act to the effect that the Government of the United States intends to annul the articles of the valid treaties conflicting with the contents of this act, after expiration of the terms of notice, has as yet not been received by the Imperial Government, the Foreign Office does not fail to advise the Embassy for communication to its Government that the Seamen’s Act contains regulations which are not consistent with agreements in the treaties concluded by the Empire and the United States. Other provisions of this act are not consistent with the principle of international law, that the regulation of the terms of contract (existing) between the crew and the master only concerns the state of registry. As the legal affairs of the German seamen on German ships are regulated by the German Seaman’s Act, the Imperial Government can not acknowledge an encroachment of American jurisdiction upon this sphere.