The Italian yacht “Argo“is captured by the battleship”Bouvet" and brought to Toulon November 10th, 1914. She transported approximately 150 German reservists among whom 120 were interned in Ile Longue.
Report about the Argo, dated November 29th, 1914
"The Italian steamer Argo went on a first crossing from Barcelona to Genoa, sailing off the southern coast of Sardinia, with 150 Germans on board. While staying in Genoa, the Captain of the Argo came to an agreement with our General Consul: between his departure from this city and his next trip from Barcelona to Genoa, he would have to warn our Intelligence agency in Barcelona if he had any German reservists on board. On November 7, during her return crossing from Genoa to Barcelona, the Argo was intercepted and escorted to Toulon, as being highly suspicious.
When in Toulon, the Captain of the Argo made the same proposals regarding the next voyage and agreed with an officer of the Intelligence agency on an address with a false name. The Admiralty in Toulon was informed about it.
Actually, on November 11, the Bouvet captured the Argo and lead it to Port-Vendres. There were 150 German reservists on board.
The Admiralty sent the Minister of the Navy a report about the seizure of the Argo, dated November 14. On November 16, after the report had been delivered, the Maritime Prefect was ordered to release the Argo.
For reasons of discretion, the Admiralty sent the order to release the ship on the 17th. This letter arrived on the morning of the 19th and it was only when some customs formalities had come to an end, that the Argo was allowed to sail away.
On November 17, during this quite long exchange of correspondence, the Captain of the Argo wrote a letter to the President of the Republic:
"Willing to see in the decisions of the Captain of the Argo a mere expression of his good feelings about France; considering that he had operated his vessel so that the capture of 150 German reservists could have been managed successfully, in spite of conditions which might have put him in real danger; taking into account that his release was delayed because of additional precautions ordered by the Maritime Admiralty of Toulon, I think that we should be grateful to him for his contribution to our cruising missions, and I would suggest to forward 2,000 francs to him, through our General Consul in Genoa.
Because of the involvment of the chief engineer of the Argo in the movements of this steamer, I think that it would be relevant to give him a personal reward: 500 francs, for instance.
The Vice-Admiral, general chief of staff of the Navy, signed: Pivet"
Finally, the Captain will get 1.000 francs and the chief engineer, 250.
Sources: Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs (French Foreign Office), political affairs, file “WW1”, article 1149, microfilm P/1253