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Rear Admiral William F. Fullam, Commander, Division Two, Pacific Fleet, Division Two, to Commanding Officers, Diuvision Two, Pacific Fleet




No. 698-IMG:N3:WM       30 April 1918.



To:  Commanding Officers, All Ships, Division Two, U.S. Pacific


Subject:  Policy and General Instructions for Mexican Patrol


     1.   In reply to a request from Division Commander, the Secretary of the Navy1 has forwarded the following general instructions for Commanding Officers on the Mexican Patrol:

  A. “To cultivate the friendship and good will of local officials, pointing out to each that the Navy is in Mexican Waters only as the friend of the constituted  authorities and desires to do nothing beyond assisting them in preventing the use of their waters as a base for hostilities against the United States.”

  B. “It is not the policy of the Department to attempt at this time any extension of the privileges already accorded by Mexico to our Forces in Pacific waters.”

  C. “As Pichilinque is already in use as a coaling station, there seems to be no objection to landing there a supply of gasoline or lubricating oil. Permission has already been granted by Honduras for the landing of a supply of gasoline at Amapala. Gasoline may be landed at Corinto but no marine guard will be placed there until the necessity therefor has been proven by experience.”2

     2.   The following will govern action to be taken against enemy aliens found on merchant vessels:


  No enemy alien shall be removed from a neutral vessel unless he is actually embodied in the military service of the enemy;-That is, the United States view of International Law “forbids the removal, by a belligerent from a neutral vessel on the high seas, of any person not a naval or military person in service of the enemy.”

          In accordance with this, “it is manifest that an enemy alien merely as such, may not properly be taken off a neutral vessel by a belligerent on the high seas.[”]

          However, “if in any case arising, the attendant facts are such as to warrant positive conviction, or at the least, strong presumption, that the persons in question are enemy aliens who are actually embodied in the armed forces of the enemy, even tho they may conceal this relation, then and only then, may they reightfully be seized and removed from a neutral vessel on the high seas.”

          But it is stated that “an enemy alien on the high seas en route to engage in any hostile expedition, or any hostile service against the United States,” cannot be considered as “actually embodied in the military service of the enemy,” and a vessel carrying him is not liable to capture, although the charterer, master, or owner may be thoroughly cognizant of the above facts. By “actually embodied in the military service of the ENEMY” is meant “embodied in the armed force of the enemy.”


          “An enemy alien may, on the high seas, be removed from a United States vessel without capture of the vessel in cases where there is no evidence of the vessel knowingly acting in the service of the enemy.” In accordance with this, ships of Pacific Fleet, Division Two, on the Southern Patrol will remove every enemy alien found on the high seas on United States Merchant Vessels.


          “The same action as in the case of United States Merchant Vessels may be taken, but only at the request of the home government of the ship, upon which the enemy alien is embarked.”

          In accordance with this, ships of Pacific Fleet, Division Two, on the Southern Patrol will endeavor to remove every alien enemy found on high seas in “ships of Friendly Belligerents”. If any master fails to make a “request” for the removal of such aliens, immediate full radio report will be made to the Division Commander, and, in case of ships en route to the South Atlantic, to the British Admiralty, Callao – address “Dryness”, via Navy Radio, Balboa.

     3.   Commanding Officers will be guided by the limitations imposed by the foregoing. The Department relies on the Division Commander and Commanding Officers to take such action as may be necessary to maintain the patrol and curtail enemy activity in Mexican Waters.

W. F. Fullam


Certified to be true copy, stamped


1 Copy to Operations.

1 Copy to B.O. Intelligence, San Francisco.

2 Copies to Intelligence.

1 Copy Commdr. British South Pacific Patrol,

     Care of British Naval Vice-Consul, Canal Zone

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Fullam Papers, Box 5. This document is printed on stationary for the United States Pacific Fleet Division Two. As a part of this, on either side of the heading printed in the document above appears the following contact information: “Cable And Telegraph/“FULLAM”/San Diego, Cal.” and “Mail Address/Municipal Dock, San Diego, Cal.” Each page of the document is also stamped “SECRET”.

Footnote 1: Josephus Daniels.

Footnote 2: Pichilinque is a port city located on the Bay of La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Amapala is the main Honduran port on the Pacific Ocean. Corinto is Nicaragua’s largest import and export port located on the country’s Pacific coastline.

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