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The German Government is convinced that the continual violation of neutral trade by England will everywhere place the British protest in its true light. The German Government is satisfied that for its part, in taking the measures required by military exigency, it has reduced as far as possible risk or injury to neutral shipping, and has strictly followed the rules hitherto applied by civilized nations to maritime warfare. On the other hand, the infringement of vital neutral interests by England is capable of justification by no military exigency, since it has no connection with any military operations and is merely intended to strike at the economic system of the adversary by crippling legitimate neutral trade. This fundamental disregard of the very freedom of the seas which it has invoked deprives the British Government of any right to appear as the advocate of this freedom in the question of the laying of mines, which is far less injurious to neutrals.
BERLIN, November 7, 1914.
Ambassador Gerard to the Secretary of State.
AMERICAN EMBASSY, Berlin, November 17, 1914.
SIR: With reference to your cable No. 5981 of November 9, 1914, and my reply No. 8502 of November 16, I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a copy in translation of a communication received from the Imperial Foreign Office, dated November 14, 1914, relative to the regulations for navigation in the German bay of the North Sea. Two copies of the publication, entitled Nachrichten für Seefahrer, in which these regulations are printed, are likewise enclosed.
I have, etc.,
JAMES W. GERARD.
Nr. II U 4970-89541.
The Foreign Office has the honor to inform the Embassy of the United States of America in reply to the Note Verbale of 12th instant,
1 Not printed.
2 Not printed; gives substance of inclosure herewith.
F. O. No. 1078, that the following are the material regulations, governing navigation in the German Bay of the North Sea:
1. Steamships are permitted to make for the German coast, to enter or leave the mouths of rivers only from sunrise to sunset, and in clear weather. Ships attempting to point for the coast in the dark, in foggy or thick weather, run the risk of being shot at.
2. All commercial steamers bound for the Eider, Elbe, Weser, and Jade must first point for the Listertief-Buoy; those bound for the Ems should make directly for its mouth.
3. In the interest of the safety of the ships, a pilot is obligatory from the Listertief-Buoy.
4. If ships can not obtain pilots, on account of bad weather or for other reasons, they must either anchor or put out to sea again.
The approximate location of the Listertief-Buoy is 55° 34' North, 8° 172' East.
For the rest reference made to issue No. 59 of the Nachrichten für Seefahrer of 4th instant, pages 1006 and 1007, two copies of which are attached.1
American shipping interests can obtain any further information from the Nachrichten für Seefahrer which is accessible to them. BERLIN, November 14, 1914.
The Secretary of State to Ambassador Gerard.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 8, 1914.
SIR: In further acknowledgment of your despatch No. 261, of November 13, 1914, transmitting a copy in translation of the reply of the German Government to the protest of the British Government against the laying of German mines, you are informed that a copy thereof has been forwarded to the American Ambassador at London for transmission to the British Foreign Office without comment. For the Secretary of State: ROBERT LANSING.
I am, etc.,
1 Not printed; see correspondence in cases of the Evelyn and Carib, pp. 52-73.
Consul General Skinner to the Secretary of State.
AMERICAN CONSULATE GENERAL,
London, December 11, 1914.
SIR: I have the honor to enclose herewith a full copy of a circular which I have received from the Admiralty in regard to the navigation of the North Sea and English Channel.
I have, etc.,
ROBERT P. SKINNER.
NAVIGATION IN THE NORTH SEA AND ENGLISH CHANNEL.
It is requested that Shipowners on receiving these instructions will use their utmost endeavour to communicate them as confidentially as possible to the Masters of their vessels, impressing upon them the necessity for preventing the information from reaching the enemy. These instructions should not be allowed to come into the hands of any persons who are not directly affected by them.
The previous Notice on Navigation in the North Sea (dated the 14th October, 1914) is canceled.
A. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS.
1. Local Naval or Military Authorities may, at any time when they consider it necessary, close a port during certain hours without previous warning.
2. Attention is called to the notice on the inside cover of all Admiralty Sailing Directions and their Supplements, and to the following Admiralty Notices to Mariners of 1914:
No. 1 of 1st January.
No. 1528 of 14th September, Thames Approaches.
No. 1727 of 7th November, River Mersey.
In the Notice to Mariners, No. 1752 of 16th November, the position of the Pilotage station of the River Humber to be established by the 27th November should read "7 miles E. S. E. (magnetic) from Spurn Point."
3. All lights may be extinguished and other aids to navigation removed or altered at any time without previous warning.
4. So far as is known at present there are, in addition to the minefields mentioned in Admiralty Notice to Mariners, No. 1752 of 1914, the following principal mined areas:
(a) Off the Tyne.
(b) Off Flamborough Head.
(c) Off Southwold (southern limit 51° 54′ N.).
(d) British minefield within Lat. 51° 15' N. and 51° 40′ N., Long. 1° 35' E. and 3° E.
C. SPECIAL INFORMATION AS TO ENGLISH CHANNEL AND DOWNS.
5. On and after the 10th December lights, buoys, and fog signals in the English Channel and the Downs eastward of a line joining Selsey Bill and Cape Barfleur and south of the parallel 51° 20′ N., will be liable to extinction or alteration without further notice.
Trinity House pilot stations will be established as follows by the 10th December:
St. Helens, Isle of Wight: Where ships proceeding up Channel can obtain pilots capable of piloting as far as Great Yarmouth.
Great Yarmouth: Where ships from the North Sea bound for the English Channel or intermediate ports can obtain pilots capable of piloting as far as the Isle of Wight.
Dover: Where ships from French Channel Ports, but no other, can obtain pilots for the North Sea.
The Sunk Light Vessel: Where ships crossing the North Sea between the parallels 51° 40′ N. and 51° 54′ N., but no others, can obtain pilots for the English Channel.
Pilots also can be obtained at London for the Channel and the North Sea.
6. Both before and after the above date (10th December, 1914) all vessels entering the North Sea from the Channel, or vice versa, must pass through the Downs, where they will be given directions as to their route.
7. On and after 10th December, 1914, vessels proceeding up or down Channel eastward of the Isle of Wight are very strongly advised to take pilots, as navigation will be exceedingly dangerous without their aid (see paragraph 5).
8. Vessels proceeding up or down the East Coast should keep
within 3 miles of the coast when consistent with safe navigation. only exception to this is when passing the mouth of the Tyne. Here all vessels should pass not less than 4 miles but not more than 8 miles from the coast between Sunderland and Blyth. Vessels bound to the Tyne must take a pilot off one of the above ports, as stated in Admiralty Notice to Mariners, No. 1752 of 1914.
E. PARTICULAR PASSAGES.
(NOTE.-In each case return voyages should be made on same routes.)
9. East Coast Ports to French Ports: See paragraphs 5, 6, and 8. 10. East Coast Ports to Dutch Ports: Proceed as directed in paragraphs 5 and 8. Leave the English coast between the parallels of 51° 40' N. and 51° 45' N.; proceed between these parallels as far as long. 3° E., shape course thence to destination. Vessels using this route (which passes between the British and German mine fields) must clearly understand that they do so entirely at their own risk.
11. East Coast Ports to Scandinavian or Danish Ports: Proceed as directed in paragraphs 5 and 8 as far as Farn Island; then steer for the vicinity of Lindesnaes, and thence to destination, keeping in territorial waters.
12. From Atlantic and Irish Ports or Ports on the South or West Coasts of Great Britain to Scandinavian or Danish Ports: Proceed via English Channel, being guided by paragraphs 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11.
13. Sailing vessels bound to Scandinavian or Danish Ports: Pass to Westward of Ireland and of St. Kilda. Then make the Faroe Islands, and proceed from thence to destination, keeping 50 miles to the north of the Shetland Islands.
14. All vessels bound from East Coast Ports to West Coast Ports in the United Kingdom, and vice versa, must pass through the English Channel, and not round the north of Scotland.
By direction of my Government I have the honor to communicate
the following to Your Excellency.