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Visit of German Fleet
(Breach of Courtesy)

It is nearly a month now since the German fleet of three war ships came and departed, but the tongues of the naval officers at Mare island are still wagging over what they call an international breach of courtesy on the part of the Teutonic visitors. There is no love lost between Americans and German naval officers, anyhow, ever since the Samoa trouble about two years ago. While the men-of-war from both nations were lying at anchor at Apia one night the hawser of one of our ships, which was fastened to a buoy was mysteriously cut and the vessel was sent adrift. The officers on board of that ship and every American in the fleet had strong reasons to suspect that for some cause the men of the German fleet were responsible for that dastardly act. The suspicion was well founded, but no absolute proof could be obtained, and besides raising much bitter feeling nothing further came of the matter. It is customary when a foreign war vessel enters an American port that it shall be saluted by any American man-of-war which may happen to be in the harbor, by the firing of the regular salute and by the raising of the flag of the visitor’s nation above that of our own country. The incoming ship has to return the salute and is supposed to raise the Stars and Stripes above the flag under which it sails. When the German fleet arrived here the United States steamer Mohican was at anchor in the bay of San Francisco and observed the regulations as laid down by the books bound with red tape, strictly to the letter. But when it became the German flagship’s duty to return the compliment, there was no American flag hoisted, and the German double eagle floated to the breezes all by itself. This is considered a deliberate insult by the American navy officers here, and when Admiral Valois afterward, made the flimsy excuse that his flag officer could not find an American flag when he wanted it, the Mare Island contingent considered it a very weak defense of what they say is an unpardonable offense and a violation of international custom and courtesy. At any rate Admiral Benham, who was still in command of Mare Island at the time the German vessels were here, never called on the Admiral from the Fatherland, and the existing breach between the officers of the two nations has not been narrowed by their visit in San Francisco.

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
July 4, 1891