File No. 701.6211/413a
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain ( Willard)
222. For paraphrase and transmission through Foreign Office to Spanish Ambassador at Berlin.
Your 5002, February 5. United States Government surprised at attitude of German Government. Complete arrangements have been made for departure of Count and Countess Bernstorff, the Embassy staff, and all German consuls in the United States, with their families, as stated in my 213, February 5.1 All, about 200 in number, will sail on Frederik VIII, February 13. In view of complete arrangements in detail for departure of Ambassador and consuls with their families, [Page 588]and extension of every courtesy, consideration, and protection to them in the United States, United States Government expect the German Government will place no obstacle in the way of arrangements for departure, and for actual departure of American Ambassador and consuls, with their families and staffs.
Before Count Bernstorff was given his passports, German steamer Liebenfels was sunk in Charleston harbor, forming obstruction to navigation. At about the same time German vessels at Honolulu, Pensacola, and elsewhere were disabled by crews, and became a possible danger to shipping. On account of these incidents, resulting in destruction of property, violation of the laws, and danger to navigation, United States authorities inspected the German refugee ships as a necessary measure looking to protection of life and property. To the same end United States courts having custody of the Appam and Odenwald took special precautions for their safety, and the naval authorities having charge of the interned vessels in the United States threw an armed guard about them for their protection and placed the crew and officers in barracks. These acts can not be regarded otherwise than as consistent with the protection of life and property in the United States, of Americans as well as of German subjects. None of the vessels and crews in the United States have been seized, as reported to Ambassador Gerard by German Government. The German Government, therefore, has absolutely no ground on this account to withhold release of Americans on Yarrowdale. The United States Government expects that no further obstacle will be interposed to their immediate release.