862.857/70a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to All Chiefs of Missions in the American Republics Except Panama and Brazil

The Brazilian Government has suggested the following text for the note of protest to be delivered to the British Government by the President of Panama on behalf of the 21 American republics in connection with the Wakama incident:

“I have the honor to bring to the attention of Your Excellency that on the 14th of February the Government of the United States of Brazil informed me as follows: [Page 705]

‘I have to advise Your Excellency that on February 12th last the German freighter Wakama was sunk by its own crew about 15 miles from the Brazilian coast when hailed by an English war vessel, obviously for purposes of visit and capture. As from the procedure of the English war vessel there results a hostile act classified as such by the 13th Hague Convention and committed in waters adjacent to the American continent which the American Republics have the right to keep free of any hostile act on the part of any belligerent nation, I desire to request Your Excellency to be good enough to consult with the other American countries in the manner of the precedent already established on the suitability of a collective protest against this new violation of the Maritime Zone which we undertake to preserve from the evils of war.’

“The American Republics, which have been consulted through me regarding this communication, have agreed that the fact referred to by the Brazilian Government constituted a violation of the principles which we established in Panama for the purpose of keeping the war away from continental waters, and at the same time have authorized the Panamanian Government to present (through the intermediary of Your Excellency) to His Majesty’s Government the unanimous protest of the American Republics as the result of this fact, and to reiterate their appeal that the war be kept away from the waters which the Declaration of Panama contemplated preserving for the pacific use of intercontinental commerce.”

The Department is in agreement with this text and has agreed to act on behalf of the Brazilian Government in bringing it to the attention of the governments of the other American republics. You are therefore requested to suggest that if it is acceptable to the Government to which you are accredited a statement to that effect be telegraphed by that government to the Government of Panama. Please report by telegram action taken and its result.