File No. 841.857/323

The Consul at Cork ( Frost) to the Secretary of State


Only one American on California, John A. Lee of Montgomery, Ala., who was ship’s master-at-arms or policeman. He is safe. I have conversed with captain who states no warning whatever. Torpedo struck port quarter, the wake and submarine periscope 300 yards off being seen just before explosion. Submarine did not hail or speak California or survivors at any time. Sea smooth, time 9.15 a.m., to-day, 7th, position 50.7 north, 10.26 west or about 30 miles southwest Fastnet. California carried one 4.7 gun on stern. Captain had seen oily spot just before submarine appeared and ordered gunner to his place. Captain says gunner states there were two torpedoes fired, the first going astern of California and missing her. [One hundred sixty-two?] survivors, being 19 passengers and 143 crew now here. Original complement was 171 crew and 32 passengers. Of the missing passengers, at least three women, two children. Ship sank in 10 minutes. Will endeavor to take affidavits.