The statement appearing in some newspapers that the Lusitania was armed is wholly false.
In THE NEW YORK TIMES of May 9, 1915, the following report appeared:
Dudley Field Malone, Collector of the Port, gave an official denial yesterday to the German charge that the Lusitania had guns mounted when the left this port on Saturday, May 1. He said:
“This report is not correct. The Lusitania was inspected before sailing, as is customary.
“No guns were found, mounted or unmounted, and the vessel sailed without any armament. No merchant ship would be allowed to arm in this port and leave the harbor.”
This statement was given out by the Collector yesterday morning at his home, 270 Riverside Drive.
Herman Winter, Assistant Manager of the Cunard Line, 22 State Street, who was on the Lusitania for three hours before she sailed for Liverpool, denied the report that she ever carried any guns.
“It is true,” Mr. Winter said, “that she had aboard 4,200 cases of cartridges, but they were cartridges for small arms, packed in separate cases, and could not have injured the vessel by exploding. They certainly do not come under the classification of ammunition. The United States authorities would not permit us to carry ammunition, classified as such by the military authorities, on a passenger liner. For years we have been sending small-arms cartridges abroad on the Lusitania.”
[Illustration: SIR ROBERT BORDEN, K.C.M.G.
Prime Minister of Canada]
[Illustration: H.R.H. FIELD MARSHAL THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT
Uncle of George V. and Governor General of Canada
(Photo from P.S. Rogers.)]
“The Lusitania had 1,250 steel shrapnel cases, but they were empty. There was no explosive of any sort aboard. As to the report that the Lusitania had guns aboard, I cannot assert too strongly that it is positively untrue. There were no guns whatever aboard. The Lusitania was an unarmed passenger steamer. Furthermore she never has been armed, and never carried an unmounted gun or rifle out of port in times of war or peace.”
“Then you unqualifiedly declare that the Lusitania was not armed against submarines?” he was asked.
“The ship,” Mr Winter replied, “was as defenseless against undersea and underhanded attack as a Hoboken ferryboat in the North River would be against one of the United States battleships.”
Captain D.J. Roberts, Marine Superintendent of the Cunard Line, said yesterday that he was prepared to testify under oath in any court and from his personal knowledge that the Lusitania did not carry any guns when she sailed from New York at 12:28 P.M. on May 1 for Liverpool.
“It is my invariable custom to go through the passenger ships every day they are in port,” he said, “and I made my last inspection of the Lusitania on sailing day at 7 A.M. There were no guns or plates or mountings where guns could be fitted on the Lusitania, nor have there been since she has been in the service. The ship has never carried troops or been chartered by the British Government for any purpose whatsoever.