MERCHANT SHIPS MAY FIRE ON SIGHT & WITHOUT WARNING
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 100 years ago today, March 10, 1917, a Wilson administration official said...
"If arms are not sufficient to protect American ships from unlawful attacks by German submarines, it will be necessary to adopt more forceful measures."
The "forceful measures" discussed within President Wilson's cabinet included sending American submarines to join Allied forces.
Arthur Sears Henning* wrote in The Chicago Sunday Tribune of March 11th that the President was well aware of the "grave possibility, if not...probability" of war with Germany.
According to Mr. Henning, the proximity of a German submarine to an armed American merchant ship would be considered sufficient to "fire on sight" and "without warning." It would still be a few days until armed American merchant ships would take to the seas.
*Arthur Sears Henning (1876-1966) passed up a college degree to take a position with the Chicago Tribune in 1899. He was assigned to the paper's Washington bureau in 1909 & became head of the bureau in 1914.
ASH covered 24 Republican & Democratic national conventions as well as the Bull Moose convention of 1912. He became friend of 9 US Presidents of which he liked Calvin Coolidge the best but rated TR, Wilson & FDR as outstanding.
ASH retired as bureau chief in 1949 & upon his death was described as one of the great newspaper men of his time, the dean of Washington correspondents.
"Fire On Sight Orders Issued To US Ships," by Arthur Sears Henning, March 11, 1917, The Chicago Sunday Tribune, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/
"Tribune's Arthur Sears Henning Dead at 89," The Chicago Tribune, January 22, 1966, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/