File No. 763.72111Y2/7

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard)


3857. Your 4929, January 26, 11 a.m., and 4973, January 31, 9 p.m.1 You are instructed to take up the matter personally with Zimmermann or Hollweg and insist upon being informed immediately whether any Americans are among the prisoners brought in on the Yarrowdale:2 Let nothing be undone to determine this fact at [Page 210] the earliest moment. If there are Americans among the prisoners, emphatically, vigorously insist both formally and in person upon their release, as there is no authority in law for the imprisonment of neutrals taken on board enemy merchantmen unless the vessel takes part in hostilities. See rules laid down in Hague Convention XI.

  1. Telegram of Jan. 31 not printed.
  2. The names of the American citizens on the Yarrowdale were given to Ambassador Gerard by the German Foreign Office Feb. 1, and the telegram containing them reached the Department Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. (File No. 763.72111Y2/10).