File No. 341.622a/314

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page )


4747. Your mail despatch No. 5931, March 9.1 Department is advised that on February 3 last while proceeding from Montevideo to Boston, two neutral ports, American steamer Allaguash was stopped in longitude 35° 40′ W. and latitude 13° 32′ S. by the British cruiser Amethyst, and visited and searched by Captain Earl of the British cruiser, together with 20 armed men. All hatches were opened, tanks sounded, and ship’s papers and cargo thoroughly examined, with the result that everything was found in proper order; however, two firemen, signed on before the American Consul at Montevideo on January 19 in place of two seamen who had mutinied and were paid off in Buenos Aires before the American Consul General, were removed from the Allaguash by the boarding party and taken on board the cruiser. These two men were named Paul Bottcher and Gustav Spengler and are reported to be of German nationality. The Allaguash, after having been detained for five hours, was permitted to proceed on her voyage. Department is advised that the captain protested against the seizure of the firemen because it affected the seaworthiness of the ship, but that the British officer treated the captain discourteously.

[Page 529]

Please present this case to the British Government formally for consideration in connection with Department’s mail instruction No. 4520 of December 1, 1916, and request that it be added to the cases protested against in that communication.

Please take up with the British Government the matter of removal of Germans from American vessels, and, while reserving all rights, state to them that it is the expectation of this Government that, in view of the entry of the United States into the war, the further continuance of this practice will be contingent upon a mutual agreement allowing reciprocal action in this respect by the two Governments, who now have a common interest in this matter as cobelligerents.

  1. Not printed.