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of the British authorities clearly subversive of the rights of neutral nations on the high seas. It is, therefore, expected that his Majesty's Government, having considered these possibilities, will take the steps necessary to avoid them, and, in the event that they should unhappily occur, will be prepared to make full reparation for every act which under the rules of international law constitutes a violation of neutral rights.
As stated in its communication of Oct. 22, 1914, "this Government will insist that the rights and duties of the United States and its citizens in the present war be defined by the existing rules of international law and the treaties of the United States, irrespective of the provisions of the Declaration of London, and that this Government reserves to itself the right to enter a protest of demand in each case in which those rights and duties so defined are violated or their free exercise interfered with by the authorities of the British Government.”.
In conclusion, you will reiterate to his Majesty's Government that this statement of the view of the Government of the United States is made in the most friendly spirit, and in accordance with the uniform candor which has characterized the relations of the two Governments in the past, and which has been in large measure the foundation of the peace and amity existing between the two nations without interruption for a century.
PRESIDENT WILSON'S NOTE TO GERMANY, FOLLOWING THE
DESTRUCTION OF THE BRITISH STEAMSHIP LUSITANIA WITH LOSS OF AMERICAN LIVES.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, May 13, 1915.
The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador at Berlin:
Please call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and after reading to him this communication leave with him a copy.
In view of recent acts of the German authorities in violation of American rights on the high seas, which culminated in the torpedoing and sinking of the British steamship Lusitania on May 7, 1915, by which over 100 American citizens lost their lives, it is clearly, wise and desirable that the Government of the United States and the Imperial German Government should come to a clear and full understanding as to the grave situation which has resulted.
The sinking of the British passenger steamer Falaba by a German submarine on March 28, through which Leon C. Thrasher, an American citizen, was drowned; the attack on April 28 on the American vessel Cushing by a German aeroplane; the torpedoing on May 1 of the American vessel Gulflight by a German submarine, as a result of which two or more American citizens met their death; and, finally, the torpedoing and sinking of the steamship Lusitania, constitute a series of events which the Government of the United States has observed with growing concern, distress, and amazement.
Recalling the humane and enlightened attitude hitherto assumed by the Imperial German Government in matters of international right, and particularly with regard to the freedom of the seas; having learned to recognize the German views and the German influence in the field of international obligation as always engaged upon the side of justice and humanity; and having understood the instructions of the Imperial German Government to its naval commanders to be upon the same plane of humane action prescribed by the naval codes of other nations, the Government of the United States was loath to believe - it cannot now bring itself to believe — that these acts, so absolutely contrary to the rules, the practices, and the spirit of modern warfare, could have the countenance or sanction of that great Government. It feels it to be its duty, therefore, to address the Imperial German Government concerning them with the utmost frankness and in the earnest hope that it is not mistaken in expecting action on the part of the Imperial German Government, which will correct the unfortunate impressions which have been created, and vindicate once more the position of that Government with regard to the sacred freedom of the seas.
The Government of the United States has been apprised that the Imperial German Government considered themselves to be obliged by the extraordinary circumstances of the present war and the measures adopted by their adversaries
LAST TRIP OF THE LUSITANIA
The British steamship Lusitania of the Cunard Line, one of the largest oceangoing vessels in the world, and valued at $10,000,000, left New York May I, 1915, for Liverpool, England. May 7th, when off Kinsale, Ireland, she was struck by a torpedo fired by a German undersea boat, which was patroling the war zone declared by Germany to exist around the British Isles.
Besides passengers and crew to the number of 2,159 persons aboard, she carried about 1,500 tons of cargo, valued at $735,579. The principal items of the cargo were for war consumption.
The vessel sank within fifteen minutes after being struck. Of the persons on board only 763 were rescued-462 passengers and 301 of the crew; the number injured was 30 passengers and 17 of crew; of the survivors 45 died from exposure or injuries. The number of Americans lost was 107--23 identified dead and 84 missing and undoubtedly dead.
The upper panel of the illustration on the reverse page shows the Lusitania leaving New York harbor May 1, 1915. In the background are the German ships interned at their docks in Hoboken. The middle view shows the coffins of American victims returned to New York. The lower panel depicts the German submarine U-1 replenishing electric storage batteries by gasoline engine.
in seeking to cut Germany off from all commerce, to adopt methods of retaliation which go much beyond the ordinary methods of warfare at sea, in the proclamation of a war zone from which they have warned neutral ships to keep away. This Government has already taken occasion to inform the Imperial German Government that it cannot admit the adoption of such measures or such a warning of danger to operate as in any degree an abbreviation of the rights of American shipmasters or of American citizens bound on lawful errands as passengers on merchant ships of belligerent nationality, and that it must hold the Imperial German Government to a strict_accountability for any infringement of those rights, intentional or incidental. It does not understand the Imperial German Government to question those rights. It assumes, on the contrary, that the Imperial Government accept, as of course, the rule that the lives of non-combatants, whether they be of neutral citizenship or citizens of one of the nations at war, cannot lawfuly or rightfully be put in jeopardy by the capture or destruction of an unarmed merchantman, and recognize also, as all other nations do, the obligation to take the usual precaution of visit and search to ascertain whether a suspected merchantman is in fact of belligerent nationality or is in fact carrying contraband of war under a neutral flag.
The Government of the United States, therefore, desires to call the attention of the Imperial German Government with the utmost earnestness to the fact that the objection to their present method of attack against the trade of their enemies lies in the practical impossibility of employing submarines in the destruction of commerce without disregarding those, rules of fairness, reason, justice and humanity which all modern opinion regards as imperative. It is practically impossible for the officers of a submarine to visit a merchantman at sea and examine her papers and cargo. It is practically impossible for them to make a prize of her; and, if they cannot put a prize crew on board of her, they cannot sink her without leaving her crew and all on board of her to the mercy of the sea in her small boats. These facts it is understood the Imperial German Government frankly admit. We are informed that in the instances of which we have spoken time enough for even that poor measure of safety was not given, and in at least two of the cases cited not so much as a warning was received. Manifestly, submarines cannot be used against merchantmen, as the last few weeks have shown, without an inevitable violation of many sacred principles of justice and humanity.
American citizens act within their indisputable rights in taking their ships and in traveling wherever their legitimate business calls them upon the high seas, and exercise those rights in what should be the well-justified confidence that their lives will not be endangered by acts done in clear violation of universally acknowledged international obligations, and certainly in the confidence of their own Government will sustain them in the exercise of their rights.
There was recently published in the newspapers of the United States, I regret to inform the Imperial German Government, a formal warning, purporting to come from the Imperial German Embassy at Washington, addressed to the people of the United States, and stating, in effect, that any citizen of the United States who exercised his right of free travel upon the seas would do so at his peril if his journey should take him within the zone of waters within which the Imperial German Navy was using submarines against the commerce of Great Britain and France, notwithstanding the respectful but very earnest protest of this Government, the Government of the United States. I do not refer to this for the purpose of calling the attention of the Imperial German Government at this time to_the surprising irregularity of a communication from the Imperial German Embassy at Washington addressed to the people of the United States through the newspapers, but only for the purpose of pointing out that no warning that an unlawful and inhumane act will be committed can possibly be accepted as an excuse or palliation for that act or as an abatement of the responsibility for its commission.
Long acquainted as this Government has been with the character of the Imperial Government, and with the high principles of equity by which they have in the past been actuated and guided, the Government of the United States cannot believe that the commanders of the vessels which committed these acts of lawlessness did so except under a misapprehension of the orders issued by the Imperial German naval authorities. It takes it for granted that, at least within the practical possibilities of every such case, the commanders even of submarines were expected to do nothing that would involve the lives of non-combatants or the safety of neutral ships, even at the cost of failing of their object of capture or destruction. It confidently expects, therefore, that the Imperial German Government will disavow the acts of which the Government of the United States complains; that they will make reparation so far as reparation is possible for injuries which are without measure, and that they will take immediate steps to prevent the recurrence of anything so obviously subversive of the principles of warfare for which the Imperial German Government have in the past so wisely and so firmly contended.
The Government and people of the United States look to the Imperial German Government for just, prompt, and enlightened action in this vital matter with the greater confidence, because the United States and Germany are bound together not only by special ties of friendship, but also by the explicit stipulations of the Treaty of 1828, between the United States and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Expressions of regret and offers of reparation in case of the destruction of neutral ships sunk by mistake, while they may satisfy international obligations, if no loss of life results, cannot justify or excuse a practice the natural and necessary effect of which is to subject neutral nations and neutral persons to new and immeasurable risks.
The Imperial German Government will not expect the Government of the United States to omit any word or any act necessary to the performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise and enjoyment.
A PROCLAMATION (Exposition to Commemorate the Achievements of the Negro Race During
Fifty Years of Freedom.] A national exposition in commemoration of the achievements of the negro race during the last fifty years will be held in Richmond, Virginia, July fifth to twenty-fifth, 1915. The occasion has been recognized as of national importance by Congress through an appropriation of $55,000 to aid in its promotion and consummation. This sum is being expended by the terms of the appropriation under the direction of the Governor of Virginia. The exposition is under the auspices of the Negro Historical and Industrial Association. The action of Congress in this matter indicates very happily the desire of the nation, as well as of the people of Virginia, to encourage the Negro in his efforts to solve his industrial problem. The National Negro Exposition is designed to demonstrate his progress in the last fifty years and to emphasize his opportunities. As President of the United States, I bespeak the active interest of the nation in the exposition and trust that every facility will be extended to the leaders whose earnest work has made the undertaking possible.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington this first day of July in the year
of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifteen and (SEAL.] of the independence of the United States of America the
one hundred and thirty-ninth. By the President:
WOODROW WILSON. ROBERT LANSING, Secretary of State.