300.115(39)/180: Telegram

The Consul at Gibraltar ( Chapman ) to the Secretary of State

24. Yesterday the Gibraltar Contraband Control sent the master of the steamship Nishmaha to sign before me an undertaking to proceed, after calling at Barcelona, to Marseille and discharge alleged contraband cargo, as a condition precedent to release of the ship.

I declined without instructions from the Department to consent to executing agreement before me or otherwise to proceed to another belligerent port, advising master that if forced to execute agreement [Page 809] elsewhere it should be done only under protested duress and logged accordingly. The agents report signing under protest and departure of ship early this morning.

The purpose of Control was to save taking ship under guard to Marseille. I have informally requested Control to endeavor to work out plan saving American masters agreeing to proceed to other belligerent ports, informing them I cannot agree to guards without instructions. They are giving the matter courteous consideration. Instructions are requested.