“Finally, I am anxious to assure you that it is not and it has never been the intention of the Government of the republic to extend the action of its cruisers against enemy merchandise beyond the European seas, the Mediterranean included.”
British Order in Council
Declaring a Blockade of German Ports
LONDON, March 15.—The British Order in Council decreeing retaliatory measures on the part of the Government to meet the declaration of the Germans that the waters surrounding the United Kingdom are a military area, was made public today. The text of the order follows:
Whereas, the German Government has issued certain orders which, in violation of the usages of war, purport to declare that the waters surrounding the United Kingdom are a military area in which all British and allied merchant vessels will be destroyed irrespective of the safety and the lives of the passengers and the crews, and in which neutral shipping will be exposed to similar danger in view of the uncertainties of naval warfare, and
Whereas, in the memorandum accompanying the said orders, neutrals are warned against intrusting crews, passengers, or goods to British or allied ships, and
Whereas, such attempts on the part of the enemy give to his Majesty an unquestionable right of retaliation; and
Whereas, his Majesty has therefore decided to adopt further measures in order to prevent commodities of any kind from reaching or leaving Germany, although such measures will be enforced without risk to neutral ships or to neutral or non-combatant life and in strict observance of the dictates of humanity; and
Whereas, the allies of his Majesty are associated with him in the steps now to be announced for restricting further the commerce of Germany, his Majesty is therefore pleased by and with the advice of his Privy Council to order, and it is hereby ordered, as follows:
First—No merchant vessel which sailed from her port of departure after March 1, 1915, shall be allowed to proceed on her voyage to any German port. Unless this vessel receives a pass enabling her to proceed to some neutral or allied port to be named in the pass, the goods on board any such vessel must be discharged in a British port and placed in custody of the Marshal of the prize court. Goods so discharged, if not contraband of war, shall, if not requisitioned for the use of his Majesty, be restored by order of the court and upon such terms as the court may in the circumstances deem to be just to the person entitled thereto.
Second—No merchant vessel which sailed from any German port after March 1, 1915, shall be allowed to proceed on her voyage with any goods on board laden at such port. All goods laden at such port must be discharged in a British or allied port. Goods so discharged in a British port shall be placed in the custody of the Marshal of the prize court, and if not requisitioned for the use of his Majesty shall be detained or sold under the direction of the prize court.