§ 7. Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the repeated attacks without warning by German submarines on our merchant ships trading to American ports; and, in view of the unexampled nature of these attacks, whether he can state if the United States was one of the neutral countries which has been approached with a request to allow their ports to be used by merchant ships carrying a gun in the stern; and, if so, whether the permission was granted?
Could the right hon. Gentleman, at the same time, say when the document issued on 20th September by the State Department in reference to this matter could be made public?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I am afraid I could not without notice. As to the question on the Paper, the answer to the first part is in the affirmative. As regards the second and third parts, the United States Government have issued certain rules which permit of defensively armed merchant ships trading to United States ports. The rules require an independent official investigation in each case and indicate the nature of the evidence which must be produced in order to establish the fact that the armament is solely for defence and will not be used offensively.