Mr. Dodge to Mr. Hay.

No. 440.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to you that I was informed yesterday by Doctor von Mühlberg, imperial acting secretary of state for foreign affairs, at the usual weekly diplomatic reception, that the Russian ships which had taken refuge at Tsingtau, including the battle ship Cesarevitch and three torpedo boats, had been disarmed by the German authorities and would not be allowed to repair. No reason had been given for this step, contrary to what had been reported in some of the newspapers. Doctor von Mühlberg then said that the position of neutrals in regard to allowing the ships of belligerents to repair in neutral ports was a very difficult one. The principles of international law in regard to this were very difficult of application. Of course it could not be laid clown that Germany would under no circumstances allow belligerent ships to repair in her ports, but in the present case it had been decided not to allow this to be done. He had reason to believe that the British Government would act in a similar case as the German Government had done. In regard to the officers and men belonging to these ships and numbering about 1,000, the Japanese Government had been asked whether it had any objection to their being sent to Russia under proper safeguards.

I am, etc.,

H. Percival Dodge.