The German Chargé (Thomsen) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: In the name of my Government I have the honor to inform Your Excellency of the following:

According to reports in the newspapers yesterday and today, which are confirmed by statements of authoritative Government officials in Washington, officers of the American Federal Government have occupied and seized the German steamers lying in American ports, in particular the German tanker Pauline Friedrich in the port of Boston and the motorship Arauca lying at Port Everglades. In both cases the members of the crew on board, including the captain and the officers, were removed from the ship by force and are being detained on shore by the American Federal authorities. According to a report of the German Consul in Boston, all members of the crew of the tanker Pauline Friedrich are at the local immigration station, and, indeed, under conditions which cannot be reasonably exacted of the crew. No report has yet been received from the competent German Consul in New Orleans regarding the whereabouts of the crew of the motorship Arauca; but from reports of the news agencies it appears that the members of the crew of that ship, including the captain and the officers, are being detained at the Coast Guard station at Fort Lauderdale. A picture published in today’s Baltimore Sun also confirms an earlier [Page 458] statement in the newpapers that the American flag has been hoisted on the motorship Arauca in place of the German flag.

In the name of my Government I make a most emphatic protest against the above measures of the American Government, for which there is no legal basis in international law and which represent in particular a clear violation of the existing Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights, of December 8, 1923, between Germany and the United States.11 Subject to further instructions from my Government, I beg Your Excellency to take all necessary measures, in fulfillment of the obligations established in the above Treaty and the supplementary agreement of June 3, 1935,12 to:

Place the tanker Pauline Friedrich and the motorship Arauca again at the disposal of the rightful owners, freely and without hindrance, that is, to rescind the occupation and seizure and to restore the unlimited authority of the captains of the ships;
Place the members of the crews of both ships at liberty immediately and make it possible for them to return to and stay on board their ships;
Remove the American flag hoisted on the motorship Arauca and grant to the ships the exercise of the right, belonging to them by international law and assured by treaty, to fly again without hindrance the flag of their country.

Accept [etc.]

  1. Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 29.
  2. Agreement between the United States and Germany terminating parts of Article VII of the Treaty of Friendship Commerce and Consular Rights of December 8, 1923, ibid., 1935, vol. ii, p. 451.