27 OCTOBER 1939, Page 1

The 'City of Flint '

From our own point of view the most serious aspect of the seizure of the American liner ' City of Flint' by a German warship is the revelation (doubtless no revelation to the Admiralty) that a German warship, and that the pocket-battleship ' Deutschland.' is at large in the Atlantic. Regarding the seizure of the ' City of Flint,' a vessel of 5,000 tons, some obscurity still prevails. The ship was bound from New York to British ports with a cargo some part of which could be regarded as sufficiently of the nature of contraband to justify adjudication by a Prize Court. The ' City of Flint,' in charge of a prize crew under the Nazi flag, put in at Tromsoe, in the north of Norway, for water and was then taken on to Kola Bay, near Murmansk. There the Russian authorities have " temporarily " detained the ship and interned the German crew but subsequently released the crew on the ground that the ship had only put in for repairs to her machinery. The American crew of the ship is still on board her. International law on the issues involved is not entirely clear, but it is generally agreed that the fact that a belligerent warship could not, for military reasons, take her prize to one of her own ports does not warrant her in trying to use a neutral port for the purpose. The normal course would be for Russia to release the ' City of Flint' and intern the German prize crew. Her apparent decision not to do that appears to throw some light on her relations with Germany.