Skip to main content

United States Chargé d’Affaires at Bergen, Norway, Hans Frederick A. Schoenfeld, to United States Embassy at London

              Sept 29                

              September 29 <28>, 1918.

To:       American Embassy,London.

From:          American Legation,Christiania,signed ‘SCHOENFELD’

Dated:    September 28, 9 p.m.

Received: September 29, 9:50 a.m.

No:       199.


Following telegram to Department sent for your information:-

          1185,dated 28th September,9 p.m.

          See my cable of today’s date No.1184.1

          Translated text of Norwegian Government’s instructions to its Legations at London,Paris and Berlin follows:-

          Title Page.

          The decision of this Government to mine Norwegian territorial waters in order that their violation by belligerent submarines be prevented:

          “I request the Legation to make a verbal announcement to the foreign office concerned while referring to your 2 previous (see my telegrams of August 19th and 28th)2 to the following effect.

          The Norwegian Government has noted the answer which,in reply to its former representations,it has received from the British Government,to the effect that it had been established that a British submarine had violated the Norwegian resolution of January 30,1917,in respect of which violation the Norwegian Government has logged <lodged> the most definite protest. In regard to the other instances complained of assurances have been received from the American,British,and French Governments that no submarines belonging to these countries have violated the above mentioned resolution. The Norwegian Government is still without a reply from the German Government to its former representations. The Norwegian Government has previously given warning that it will be obliged to take special military measures in the areas affected in order to maintain its rights. Up to the present the Norwegian Government has delayed taking such special measures except that she has caused to be extinguished certain lights on the West Coast of Norway which was done amongst other reasons owing to the violation of the resolution. The Government as a matter of fact before taking steps towards a more effective measure desired to give all the belligerents concerned an Opportunity to furnish it with the fullest possible information as it could not of course in advance be considered precluded that there might in individual cases at least to a certain extent be extenuating circumstances. With the passing of time however the Norwegian Government’s anxiety has increased as it has not been able to close its eyes to the risk that the numerous cases which have already been observed with certainty might at any time be swelled by others. The Norwegian Government therefore finds that it must now proceed to lay mines in certain areas.3 In so doing the Norwegian Government will take care that peaceful commercial navigation will not be stopped in their traffic along the Norwegian Coast.

          The present circular telegram send to Legation Berlin,London,Paris,Washington.” London advised.



Source Note: CyS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifiers “28-3-1” and 1/2/A/J” appear in the top-right corner.

Footnote 2: These telegrams have not been found.

Footnote 3: On the following day, the Norwegian press reported that minelaying in Norwegian waters would begin and commercial ships would be barred from designated areas beginning 7 October. See: Edward B. Robinette to William S. Sims, 29 September 1918.

Related Content