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ernment 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 noncombatants, whether they be of neutral citizenship or citizens of one of the nations at war, can not lawfully 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 can not put a prize crew on board of her, they can not 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 can not 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 that 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 his 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 ad. dressed 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 German 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 can not 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 noncombatants 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 the 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, can not 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.
VERDICT OF CORONER'S JURY IN THE
The Cunard line steamship Lusitania, having a tonnage of 32,500, a length of 785 feet and a speed of nearly twenty-five knots an hour, making it one of the largest and swiftest passenger vessels ever launched, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the southeastern coast of Ireland May 7, 1915, with a loss of 1,198 lives. Of the victims 102 were Americans; the remainder were British or other foreign subjects.
A coroner's inquest was held at Kinsale, Ireland, on May 10, on some of the bodies brought ashore in small boats, and the verdict of the jury was as follows:
“We find that the deceased met death from prolonged immersion and exhaustion in the sea eight miles southsouthwest of Old Head of Kinsale Friday, May 7, 1915, owing to the sinking of the Lusitania by torpedoes fired by a German submarine.
“We find that this appalling crime was committed contrary to international law and the conventions of all civilized nations.
“We also charge the officers of said submarine and the Emperor and Government of Germany, under whose orders they acted, with the crime of wholesale murder before the tribunal of the civilized world.
“We desire to express sincere condolences and sympathy with the relatives of the deceased, the Cunard Company and the United States, many of whose citizens perished in this murderous attack on an unarmed liner."
GERMAN STATEMENT ON THE LUSI.
The following message issued by the German Foreign Office in Berlin May 10 was delivered by the German Ambassador, Count von Bernstorff, to William J. Bryan, Secretary of State, in Washington, May 11:
“Please communicate the following to the State Department:
“The German Government desires to express its deepest sympathy at the loss of lives on board the Lusitania. The responsibility rests, however, with the British Government, which through its plan of starving the civilian population of Germany has forced Germany to resort to retaliatory measures.
“In spite of the German offer to stop the submarine war in case the starvation plan was given up, British merchant vessels are being generally armed with guns and have repeatedly tried to ram submarines, so that a previous search was impossible.
“They cannot, therefore, be treated as ordinary merchant vessels. A recent declaration made to the British Parliament by the Parliamentary Secretary in answer to a question by Lord Charles Beresford said that at the