File No. 701.6211/410

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


5643. I have just received the following note from the Foreign Office:


His Majesty’s Government are fully prepared to grant to the late German Ambassador at Washington and the officials in his train a safe-conduct so far as the action of British authorities is concerned. They are not, however, aware of any reason of justice or courtesy why they should take any steps to save the party from dangers caused by the illegal actions of the German Government and why they should alter their general policy with this object. Very great importance is attached to the rule that ships should call at Kirkwall, but if the United States Government seriously wish that Count Bernstorff’s ship should not call there, His Majesty’s Government will be prepared out of deference to their wishes to waive the rule in this case. In such event special arrangements would be made to search the ship and the passengers at Halifax.

Instructions in the above sense have been sent to His Majesty’s Ambassador at Washington.

Foreign Office, February 8, 1917.