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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 7, 1903

France,   pp. 406-410 PDF (1.8 MB)

Page 409

Bay, Mexico, and was, in the afternoon of that date, directly in the usual
track of the American mail steamer, bound from San Francisco to Acapulco,
by which the commander in chief of the squadron expected an important mail.
At 5.10 p. m. the smoke of a steamer was sighted somewhat on the port bow
of the flagship New York, and course was changed to meet the coming ship,
as no doubt was entertained that the approaching vessel was the American
steamer then due, from her scheduled time, at that point on her route. Finding
that the course of the steamer would take her some distance from the squadron,
at the speed under which the vessels were cruising, the commander in chief
directed the Boston to proceed under full speed, intercept the ship, obtain
the mail and rejoin the flag. Before the Boston was at all near the steamer
it became dark, and as no signals could be made to or seen from the ship,
a gun was fired from the Boston to attract attention and show the Boston's
desire tO communicate; not as a peremptory demand to heave to. At no time
was it possible to see the colors of the steamer, if she displayed any, and
her nationality was unknown until a boat from the Boston was alongside. The
boarding officer explained that the object of his visit was to obtain mail
for the squadron if she had any, apologized for the delay caused, and promptly
withdrew. This was at 8.05 p. m. 
 At the request of the ship's master the United States boarding officer made
an entry of the occurrence on the ship's log, and the explanation given of
the reason for the stoppage of the vessel was satisfactory to the master.
 It should be added that about half an hour after the French vessel had proceeded
on her way, the Pacific mail steamer looked for was sighted and the mail
 The commander in chief of the squadron and the commander of the Boston had
no intention of stopping a foreign vessel and did not claim to have any right
of that character. 
 Hoping that this explanation will be deemed satisfactory to the Government
of France, I avail myself, etc. 
~3fr. Jusserand to 3fr. Hay. 
Pfanchester, Ififass., September 5, 1903. 
 Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
excellency's note of September 1, relative to the stoppage at sea of the
steamship Amiral Fouriehon. 
 I shall not fail to acquaint the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic
with the results of the investigation conducted by the Navy Department, which
you have been so good as to communicate to me, and I have no doubt that my
Government will appreciate the exceptional and fortuitous character of the
circnmstances under which the incident took place. 
 Be pleased to accept, etc. 

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