File No. 763.72111Y2/4
The Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 20, 7.50 p.m.]
4909. Evening papers state—
English steamer Yarrowdale brought to Swinemünde as prize with 469 prisoners on board taken from ships captured by German auxiliary cruisers, that among the crews of captured ships are 103 neutrals, and that such of these as were taken on board enemy armed ships and accepted pay on such ships will be held as prisoners of war.
It is probable that Germany will take position that all armed ships are war vessels and can therefore be sunk without notice, and if America recognizes right to hold Americans captured on these ships as prisoners of war that Germany will consider America recognizes right to sink armed merchant vessels without notice.