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dent expressed his wish that loans of this character should not be made.
(14) Submission to arrest of native-born Americans on neutral vessels and in British ports and their imprisonment.
The general charge as to the arrest of American-born citizens on board neutral vessels and in British ports, the ignoring of their passports, and their confinement in jails, requires evidence to support it. That there have been cases of injustice of this sort is unquestionably true, but Americans in Germany have suffered in this way as Americans have in Great Britain. This Government has considered that the majority of these cases resulted from overzealousness on the part of subordinate officials in both countries. Every case which has been brought to the attention of the Department of State has been promptly investigated and, if the facts warranted, a demand for release has been made.
(15) Indifference to confinement of noncombatants in detention camps in England and France.
As to the detention of noncombatants confined in concentration camps, all the belligerents, with perhaps the exception of Servia and Russia, have made similar complaints and those for whom this Government is acting have asked investigations, which representatives of this Government have made impartially. Their reports have shown that the treatment of prisoners is generally as good as possible under the conditions in all countries, and that there is no more reason to say that they are mistreated in one country than in another country or that this Government has manifested an indifference in the matter. As this department's efforts at investigations seemed to develop bitterness between the countries, the department on November 20 sent a circular instruction to its representatives not to undertake further investigation of concentration camps.
But at the special request of the German Government that Mr. Jackson, former American minister at Bucharest, now attached to the American embassy at Berlin, make an investigation of the prison camps in England, in addition to the investigations already made, the department has consented to dispatch Mr. Jackson on this special mission.
(16) Failure to prevent transshipment of British troops and war material across the territory- of the United States.
The department has had no specific case of the passage of convoys of troops across American territory brought to its notice. There have been rumors to this effect, but no actual facts have been presented. The transshipment of reservists of all belligerents who have requested the privilege has been permitted on condition that they travel as individuals and not as organized, uniformed, or armed bodies. The German Embassy has advised the department that it would not be likely to avail itself of the privilege, but Germany's ally, AustriaHungary, did so.
Only one case raising the question of the transit of war material owned by a belligerent across United States territory has come to the department's notice. This was a request on the part of the Canadian Government for permission to ship equipment across Alaska to the sea. The request was refused.
(17) Treatment and final internment of German steamship "Geier" and the collier "Locksun" at Honolulu.
The Geier entered Honolulu on October 15 in an unseaworthy condition. The commanding officer reported the necessity of extensive repairs which would require an indefinite period for completion. The vessel was allowed the generous period of three weeks to November 7 to make repairs and leave the port, or, failing to do so, to be interned. A longer period would have been contrary to international practice, which does not permit a vessel to remain for a long time in a neutral port for the purpose of repairing a generally run-down condition due to long sea service. Soon after the German cruiser arrived at Honolulu a Japanese cruiser appeared off the port and the commander of the Geier chose to intern the vessel rather than to depart from the harbor.
Shortly after the Geier entered the port of Honolulu the steamer Locksun arrived. It was found that this vessel had delivered coal to the Geier en route and had accompanied her toward Hawaii. As she had thus constituted herself a tender or collier to the Geier she was accorded the same treatment and interned on November 7.
(18) Unfairness to Germany in rules relative to coaling of warships in Panama Canal Zone.
By proclamation of November 13, 1914, certain special restrictions were placed on the coaling of warships or their tenders or colliers in the Canal Zone. These regulations were framed through the collaboration of the State, Navy, and War Departments and without the slightest reference to favoritism to the belligerents. Before these regulations were proclaimed, war vessels could procure coal of the Panama Railway in the zone ports, but no belligerent vessels are known to have done so. Under the proclamation fuel may be taken on by belligerent warships only with the consent of the canal authorities and in such amounts as will enable them to reach the nearest accessible neutral port; and the amount so taken on shall be deducted from the amount procurable in United States ports within three months thereafter. Now, it is charged the United States has shown partiality because Great Britain and not Germany happens to have colonies in the near vicinity where British ships may coal, while Germany has no such coaling facilities. Thus, it is intimated the United States should balance the inequalities of geographical position by refusing to allow any warships of belligerents to coal in the canal until the war is over. As no German warship has sought to obtain coal in the Canal Zone the charge of discrimination rests upon a possibility which during several months of warfare has failed to materialize.
(19) Failure to protest against the modifications of the Declaration of London by the British Government.
The German Foreign Office presented to the diplomats in Berlin a memorandum dated October 10, calling attention to violations of and changes in the Declaration of London by the British Government and inquiring as to the attitude of the United States toward such action on the part of the allies. The substance of the memorandum was forthwith telegraphed to the department on October 22 and was replied to shortly thereafter to the effect that the United States had withdrawn its suggestion, made early in the war, that for the sake of uniformity the Declaration of London should be adopted as a temporary code of naval warfare during the present war, owing to the unwillingness of the belligerents to accept the declaration without changes and modifications, and that thenceforth the United States would insist that the rights of the United States and its citizens in the war should be governed by the existing rules of international law.
As this Government is not now interested in the adoption of the Declaration of London by the belligerents, the modifications by the belligerents in that code of naval warfare are of no concern to it except as they adversely affect the rights of the United States and those of its citizens as defined by international law. In so far as those rights have been infringed the department has made every effort to obtain redress for the losses sustained.
(20) General unfriendly attitude of Government toward Germany and Austria.
If any American citizens, partisans of Germany and Austria-Hungary, feel that this administration is acting in a way injurious to the cause of those countries, this feeling results from the fact that on the high seas the German and Austro-Hungarian naval power is thus far inferior to the British. It is the business of a belligerent operating on the high seas, not the duty of a neutral, to prevent contraband from reaching an enemy. Those in this country who sympathize with Germany and Austria-Hungary appear to assume that some obligation rests upon this Government in the performance of its neutral duty to prevent all trade in contraband, and thus to equalize the difference due to the relative naval strength of the belligerents. No such obligation exists; it would be an unneutral act, an act of partiality on the part of this Government to adopt such a policy if the Executive had the power to do so. If Germany and Austria-Hungary cannot import contraband from this country it is not, because of that fact, the duty of the United States to close its markets to the allies. The markets of this country are open upon equal terms to all the world, to every nation, belligerent or neutral.
The foregoing categorical replies to specific complaints is sufficient answer to the charge of unfriendliness to Germany and Austria-Hungary. I am, my dear Senator,
Very sincerely, yours,
Hon. William J. Stone, W- J- Bryan.
Chairman Committee on Foreign Relations,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
SEIZURE AND DETENTION OF NEUTRAL CARGOES—VISIT AND SEARCH—
A striking feature of the European war, from the standpoint of the application of the principles of international naval law, is the inability or disinclination of some of the belligerents to exercise the right of visit and search in the manner in which it has heretofore usually been exercised, their failure to draw the well-recognized distinction between absolute and conditional contraband in applying the doctrine of continuous voyage, and the detention and requisition of neutral cargoes to which the preceding doctrines have been applied in the past in lieu of their release or condemnation. The closing of the North Sea has in addition given neutral vessels which desire to follow the route via the north of Ireland and Scotland the choice of running the risk of being sunk by a mine by pursuing that course or going through the English Channel, and thus practically to visit the numerous cruisers stationed there.
On December 26, 1914, the State Department of the United States sent a note to Great Britain protesting against the frequent seizures and detentions of American cargoes destined to neutral European ports, a policy which the Secretary of State said exceeds "the manifest necessity of a belligerent and constitutes restrictions upon the rights of American citizens on the high seas which are not justified by the rules of international law or required under the principle of self-preservation." Waiving for the time being objections to the inclusion of certain articles in the lists of absolute and conditional contraband, the United States protested against the seizure and detention of articles listed as absolute contraband shipped from the United States to neutral countries on the ground that those countries do not prohibit the exportation of such articles. Furthermore, attention was called to the inconsistency in the British practice with reference to shipments of copper to Italy, which were seized in spite of the fact that Italy had by decree prohibited the export of copper. The United States objected also to the seizure and detention of American cargoes of foodstuffs and other articles of conditional contraband, destined to neutral territory, without any evidence to show that the shipments had in reality a " belligerent destination." It was further alleged that cargoes of this character have been seized for fear that they would ultimately reach enemy territory, although not so intended by the shippers. These acts, it was stated, greatly impaired the legitimate trade and commerce of the United States, which admitted Great Britain's right as a belligerent to visit and search on the high seas the vessels of American citizens or other neutral vessels carrying American cargoes, and to detain them "when there is sufficient evidence to justify a belief that contraband articles are in their cargoes." But "this Government can not without protest permit American ships or American cargoes to be taken into British ports and there detained for the purpose of searching generally for evidence of contraband, or upon presumptions created by special municipal enactments which are clearly at variance with international law and practice."