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STORY OF LA BASSEE

BATTLE FOR WARSAW.

- "WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST."…

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GERMANY GIVES US OFFICIAL…

USE OF NEUTRAL FLAGS.I

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USE OF NEUTRAL FLAGS. STATEMENT BY THE FOREIGN OFFICE I On the question of the use of neutral flags by merchant ships, a statement has been issued by the Foreign Office. It provides an effective answer to the German allega- tion that British merchantmen have re- ceived a secret order to use the flags of neutral states. The statement is as follows: The use of the neutral flag is, with cer- tain limitations, well established in practice as a "ruse de guerre." The only effect in the case of a merchant- man of wearing a flac, other than her national flag is to compel the enemy to follow the ordinary obligations of naval warfare, and to satisfy himself as to the nationality of the vessel and of the charac- ter of her cargo by examination before cap- turing her and taking her into a Prize Court for adjudication. The British Government has always con- sidered the use of British colours by a foreign vessel legitimate for the purpose of escaping capture. Such a practice not only involves no breach of international law, but is specifically recognised by the law of this country. In the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, it is enacted (Sec. 69 (1)) as follows: "If a person uses the British flag and assumes the British national character on board a ship owned in whole or in part by any persens not qualified to own a British ship, for the purpose of making the ship apnear to be a British ship, the ship shall be subject to forfeiture under this Act, un- less the assumption has been made for the purpose of escaping capture by an enemy or by a foreign ship of war in the exercise of some belligerent right." And in the instruc- tions to British Consuls, 1914, it is stated "a ship is liable to capture if British cha- racter is improperly assumed except for the purpose of escaping capture." As we have in practice not objected to foreign merchant vessels using the British merchant flag as a ruse for the purpose of evading capture at sea at the hands of a belligerent, so we should maintain that in the converse case a British merchant vessel committed no breach of international law in assuming neutral colours for a similar purpose, if she thought fit to do so. By the rules of international law, the customs of war, and the dictates of humanity, it is obligatory upon a belli- gerent to ascertain the character of a mer- chant vessel and of her cargo before cap- ture. Germany has no right to disregard this obligation. To destroy ship, non-com- batant crew, and cargo, as Germany has announced her irftention of doing, is nothing less than an act of piracy on the high seas.

ITHE FIRST VICTIMS.I

SOLDIER WEEPS IN COURT.I

KILLED BY A SCRATCH. I

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RUSSIA'S TASK. RUSSIA'S TASK.…

FINANCING THE WAR.I .......…

I LIFEBOAT CAPSIZES IN GALE.…

WILL DECLARED VOID. I

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BIG TURKISH FORCE REPULSED.

TURKISH PRISONERS' STORIES.