Limitation of Liability Hearings

Chief Clerk
Hydrographic Office

Washington, D.C.




produced as a witness on behalf of the claimants, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Mr. Betts:

Q. Mr. Ballentine, what is your official connection with the Hydrographic Office of the Navy Department of the United States at Washington?
- At the present time?

Q. Yes.
- Chief Clerk.

Q. What position did you occupy in April, 1912?
- Acting Chief Clerk.

Q. Were you at that time performing the duties of the office of Chief Clerk?
- I was.

Q. Was it a part of your duties to receive and open the mail and telegrams that arrived at the Hydrographic Office?
- I do not open the envelopes. The envelopes are slit and the mail placed on my desk. I read it and refer it to the proper parties.

Q. Did you, on the morning of April 15, 1912, receive a certain telegram with reference to icebergs in the north Atlantic?

Mr. Burlingham:
That is objected to as too indefinite, and as immaterial and irrelevant.

- I did, according to the record.

By Mr. Betts:

Q. At what time on April 15 was that telegram received at the office?

Mr. Burlingham:
I make the same objection.

- At the opening of the office, 9 a. m., I have it recorded.

Q. Did you make any note on the telegram at the time you received it?
- Simply just the hour of receipt.

Q. Have you the telegram here?
- I have. (Producing telegram.)I forgot of to say that I put the stamp of the office on it, the time and the hour received.

(The telegram referred to was handed to Mr. Wells.)

By Mr. Betts:

Q. Has that telegram been preserved among your records since, Mr. Ballentine?
- It has.

Mr. Betts:
I offer that telegram in evidence, and will ask that it be copied in the record.

Mr. Burlingham:
I object, on the ground that there is no proof that it was received by the commander of the Titanic, or brought to the knowledge of any of the navigating officers, and on the further ground that it is not proper evidence of the facts stated therein, but is merely a hearsay report.

By Mr. Betts:

Q. Can that be taken away from the office?
- No, sir.

Mr. Burlingham:
It is stipulated that, subject to the foregoing objections, the telegram may be copied in the record.

(The telegram referred to is copied in the record in full, as follows:)

Received at Postal Telegraph
Building, 1345 Pennsylvania Ave.   
  Delivery No.
Washington, D. C.    
280 N. Y. Rn. 22      
S S Amerika via S S Titanic and Cape Race N. F. April, 14, 1912.

Hydrographic office, Washington, D. C.
Amerika passed two large icebergs in 41 27N 50 8W on the 14th of April.
  Knutp, 10;51 p. 


62496 Hydrographic office
Filed with  ) Recd Apr.15, 1912
2995 ) Enclosures


By Mr. Betts:

Q. What are the pencil initials "McM" on the right-hand lower corner?
- That stands for "McManus."

Q. Who is he?
- He is in the division of pilot charts, and such work as that comes directly under him.

Q. I also notice in the lower left hand corner written in pencil, "Telegraphed  BHO             N Y         April 15, 1912. PC."
- That would indicate the action taken on the telegram.

Q. By whom?
- By the office.

Q. By the Hydrographic Office?
- Yes.

Q. Was this one of the telegrams that was produced in evidence on the Senate hearing before Senator Smith?
- I have never read that hearing, but that must be the telegram.

Q. So far as you know, in your connection with the office have you ever heard it disputed in any way that this telegram was actually sent and received as it indicates?

Mr. Burlingham:
That is objected to.

- No.

By Mr. Betts:

Q. Is your office in the habit of receiving telegrams, and letters with reference to ice in the in the Atlantic from various vessels?
- Yes, sir, frequently.

Q. Does your office request vessels to report any ice conditions in the Atlantic to your office?
- Yes.

Mr. Betts:

Mr. Burlingham:

(The witness was excused.)

Henry L. Ballentine (sig)