The Uruguayan Minister (Richling) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to advise Your Excellency that I have received telegraphic despatches from my Government, dated the 2nd of the current month, in which I am informed that by Decree of December 30th last7 the German steamer Tacoma was declared to be an auxiliary war vessel and was given 24 hours in which to leave the port of Montevideo and that, as it did not leave within the time set, it was interned on the morning of the first [of January].8

This action is based on the following antecedents: The steamer Tacoma assisted different maneuvers of the armored ship Graf Spee and transshipped its crew on the occasion of the sinking of the said vessel, thus violating the first article of Convention XIII of The Hague, of 1907.9

My Government deems that toleration of such acts amounts to violation of its neutrality and that merchant vessels put in the service of belligerent warships should be considered, according to existing precedents in the matter, as auxiliary war vessels and, consequently, it applies the pertinent provisions of the above-cited Hague Convention.

Accept [etc.]

J. Richling
  1. For text of decree, see República Oriental del Uruguay, Ministerio de Re-laciones Exteriores, Antecedentes Relativos al Hundimiento del Acorazado “Admiral Graf Spee” y a la Internación del Barco Mercante “Tacoma” (Montevideo, Imprenta “El Siglo Ilustrado” San José” 938, 1940), pp. 58–60.
  2. Brackets appear in the file translation.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1907, pt. 2, p. 1239.