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the enterprise was to stop shipments of arms and ammunitions to the Allies. The disabling of ships, said Fay, was the sole aim, without destruction of life. To this end he had been experimenting for several months on a waterproof mine and a detonating device that would operate by the swinging of a rudder, to which the mine would be attached, controlled by a clock timed to cause the explosion on the high seas. The German secret service, both Fay and Scholz said, had provided them with funds to pursue their object. Fay's admission to the police contained these statements:
“I saw Captain Boy-Ed and Captain von Papen on my arrival in this country. Captain Boy-Ed told me that I was doing a dangerous thing. He said that political complications would result and he most assuredly could not approve of my plans. When I came to this country, however, I had letters of introduction to both those gentlemen. Both men warned me not to do anything of the kind I had in mind. Captain von Papen strictly forbade me to attach any of the mines to any of the ships leaving the harbors of the United States. But anyone who wishes to, can read between the lines.
“The plan on which I worked was to place a mine on the rudder post so that when it exploded it would destroy the rudder and leave the ship helpless. There was no danger of any person being killed. But by this explosion I would render the ship useless and make the shipment of munitions so difficult that the owners of ships would be intimidated and cause insurance rates to go so high that the shipment of ammunition would be seriously affected, if not stopped.”
The Federal officials questioned the statement that Fay's design was merely to cripple munition ships. Captain Harold C. Woodward of the Corps of Engineers, a Government specialist on explosives, held that if the amount of explosive, either trinitrotoluol, or an explosive made from chlorate of potash and benzol, required by the mine caskets found in Fay's possession, was fired against a ship's rudder, it would tear open the stern and destroy the entire ship, if not its passengers and crew, so devastating would be the explosive force. A mine of the size Fay used, three
feet long and ten inches by ten inches, he said, would contain over two cubic feet:
"If the mine was filled with trinitrotoluol the weight of the high explosive would be about 180 pounds. If it was filled with a mixture of chlorate of potash and benzol the weight would be probably 110 pounds. Either charge if exploded on the rudder post would blow a hole in the ship.
"The amount of high explosive put into a torpedo or a submarine mine is only about 200 pounds. It must not be forgotten that water is practically noncompressible, and that even if the explosion did not take place against the ship the effect would be practically the same. Oftentimes a ship is sunk by the explosion of a torpedo or a mine several feet from the hull.
“Furthermore, if the ship loaded with dynamite or high explosive, and the detonating wave of the first explosion reaches that cargo, the cargo also would explode. In high explosives the detonating wave in the percussion cap explodes the charge in much the same manner in which a chord struck on a piano will make a picture wire on the wall vibrate if both the wire and the piano string are tuned alike.
“Accordingly, if a ship carrying tons of high explosive is attacked from the outside by a mine containing 100 pounds of similar explosive, the whole cargo would go up and nothing would remain of either ship or cargo."
Therefore the charge made against Fay and Scholz, and four other men later arrested, Daeche, Kienzie, Bronkhorst, and Breitung, namely, conspiracy to "destroy a ship," meant that and all the consequences to the lives of those on board. Breitung was a nephew of Edward N. Breitung, the purchaser of the ship Dacia from German ownership, which was seized by the French on the suspicion that its transfer to American registry was not bona fide.
The plot was viewed as the most serious yet bared. Fay and his confederates were credited with having spent some $30,000 on their experiments and preparations, and rumor credited them with having larger sums of money at their command.
The press generally doubted if they could have conducted their operations without such financial support being extended them in the United States. A design therefore was seen in Fay's state ment that he was financed from Germany to screen the source of this aid by transferring the higher responsibility in toto to official persons in Germany who were beyond the reach of American justice. These and other insinuations directed at the German Embassy produced a statement from that quarter repudiating all knowledge of the Fay conspiracy, and explaining that its attachés were frequently approached by “fanatics” who wanted to sink ships or destroy buildings in which munitions were made.
A similar conspiracy, but embracing the destruction of rail. road bridges as well as munition ships and factories, was later revealed on the Pacific Coast. Evidence on which indictments were made against the men Crowley, Von Brincken, and a woman confederate aforementioned, named Captain von Papen, the German military attaché, as the director of the plot. The accused were also said to have had the cooperation of the German Consul General at San Francisco. The indictments charged them, inter alia, with using the mails to incite arson, murder, and assassination. Among the evidence the Government unearthed was a letter referring to "P," which, the Federal officials said, meant Captain von Papen. The letter, which related to a price to be paid for the destruction of a powder plant at Pinole, Cal., explained how the price named had been referred to others "higher up." It read:
“Dear Sir: Your last letter with clipping to-day, and note what you have to say. I have taken it up with them and 'B' (which the Federal officials said stood for Franz Bopp, German Consul at San Francisco] is awaiting decision of 'P' [said to stand for Captain von Papen in New York), so cannot advise you yet, and will do so as soon as I get word from you. You might size up the situation in the meantime."
The indictments charged that the defendants planned to destroy munition plants at Aetna and Gary, Ind., at Ishpeming, Mich., and at other places. The Government's chief witness, named Van Koolbergen, told of being employed by Baron von Brincken, of the German Consulate at San Francisco, to make and use clockwork bombs to destroy the commerce of neutral nations. For each bomb he received $100 and a bonus for each ship damaged or destroyed. For destroying a railway trestle in Canada over which supply trains for the Allies passed, he said he received first $250, and $300 further from a representative of the German Government, the second payment being made upon his producing newspaper clippings recording the bridge's destruction. It appeared that Van Koolbergen divulged the plot to the Canadian Government.
The three defendants and Van Koolbergen were later named in another indictment found by a San Francisco Federal Grand Jury, involving in all sixty persons, including the German Consul General in that city, Franz Bopp, the Vice Consul, Baron Eckhardt, H. von Schack, Maurice Hall, Consul for Turkey, and a number of men identified with shipping and commercial interests.
The case was the first in which the United States Government had asked for indictments against the official representatives of any of the belligerents. The warrants charged a conspiracy to violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Law by attempting to damage plants manufacturing munitions for the Allies, thus interfering with legitimate commerce, and with setting on foot military expeditions against a friendly nation in connection with plans to destroy Canadian railway tunnels.
The vice consul, Von Schack, was also indicted with twenty-six of the defendants on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States by sending supplies to German warships in the earlier stages of the war, the supplies having been sent from New York to the German Consulate in San Francisco. The charges related to the outfitting of five vessels. One of the latter, the Sacramento, now interned in a Chilean port, cleared from San Francisco, and when out to sea, the Government ascertained, was taken in command by the wireless operator, who was really a German naval reserve officer. Off the western coast of South America the Sacramento was supposed to have got into wireless communication with German cruisers then operating in the Pacific. There she joined the squadron under a show of compulsion, as though held up and captured. In this guise the war
vessels seemingly convoyed the Sacramento to an island in the Pacific, where her cargo of food, coal, and munitions were transferred to her supposed captors. The Sacramento then proceeded to a Chilean port where her commanding officer reported that he had been captured by German warships and deprived of his cargo. The Chilean authorities doubted the story and ordered the vessel to be interned.
Far more extensive were unlawful operations in this direction conducted by officials of the Hamburg-American line, as revealed at their trial in New York City in November, 1915. The indictments charged fraud against the United States by false clearances and manifests for vessels chartered to provision, from American ports, German cruisers engaged in commerce destroying. The prosecution proceeded on the belief that the HamburgAmerican activities were merely part of a general plan devised by German and Austrian diplomatic and consular officers to use American ports, directly and indirectly, as war bases for supplies. The testimony in the case involved Captain Boy-Ed, the German naval attaché, who was named as having directed the distribution of a fund of at least $750,000 for purposes described as "riding roughshod over the laws of the United States." The defense freely admitted chartering ships to supply German cruisers at sea, and in fact named a list of twelve vessels, so outfitted, showing the amount spent for coal, provisions, and charter expenses to have been over $1,400,000; but of this outlay only $20,000 worth of supplies reached the German vessels. The connection of Captain Boy-Ed with the case suggested the defense that the implicated officials consulted with him as the only representative in the United States of the German navy, and were really acting on direct orders from the German Government, and not under the direction of the naval attaché. Military necessity was also a feasible ground for pleading justification in concealing the fact that the ships cleared to deliver their cargoes to German war vessels instead of to the ports named in their papers. These ports were professed to be their ultimate destinations if the vessels failed to meet the German cruisers. Had any other course been pursued, the primary destinations