The British Ambassador (Lindsay) to the Secretary of State

No. 200

Sir: I have the honour to refer to your Note No. 580.7A3/649 [662?] of April 29th last regarding the Revised Collision Regulations which form Annex II of the Convention for Promoting Safety of Life at Sea, and to inform you, under instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that as regards the suggested amendment to Article 2 of the Regulations (a copy of which was transmitted to you under cover of my Note No. 455 of December 31st, 1931) the competent authorities of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom find two difficulties in applying this article as it stands. These difficulties are (1) that a steaming light fitted forward of the bridge would dazzle the officer navigating and nullify its benefits, and (2) that such a light would be, except in calm weather, frequently awash. These objections apply in respect of British submarines and to a less extent in respect to the older destroyers.

I am to add that all the other principal maritime powers have accepted the suggested amendment and that some have indicated that they also anticipate difficulties if a second steaming light had to be carried on some of their naval vessels. I am to express the earnest hope that in these circumstances the United States Government will also accept the amendment which only applies to naval ships in which it is not practicable to carry a second steaming light.

I am further to inform you that all the other principal maritime powers have notified their willingness to put the amended regulations [Page 911] into operation on January 1st, 1933, and I am to enquire whether the United States Government agree to this date. In this connection I am to remind you that these regulations are quite separate and distinct from the International Convention for Promoting Safety of Life at Sea. His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom do not consider it necessary to open a formal protocol to bring the revised regulations into operation since they feel that it will be sufficient if governments communicate their assent to them. They will notify all the governments concerned.

Several governments wish to give six months notice to mariners of the revision of the regulations and it is therefore necessary for His Majesty’s Government to inform all the governments concerned within the next few days whether January 1st, 1933, is generally acceptable. I am therefore to request that I may receive the views of the United States Government at the earliest possible date.

I have [etc.]

(For the Ambassador)
C. J. W. Tow