By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: My Three Years in America
Author: Bernstorff, Johann Heinrich Andreas Hermann Albrecht Graf von
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Three Years in America" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.












It was in my own home, the German Embassy in London, where the
atmosphere was entirely political, that I learned my first steps
in politics. My father did not belong to that class of diplomats,
so prevalent to-day, who treat politics as an occupation to be
pursued only in their spare time. His whole life was consecrated
to the cause of the German nation, and from my earliest childhood
my mind was filled with the same idea, to the exclusion of all

Owing to my father's share in the negotiations which brought about
the marriage of the Emperor Frederick with the Princess Royal of
England, the Imperial couple became closely connected with my parents,
and, as Crown Prince and Princess, frequently resided at the Embassy
in London. It was the entourage of the Emperor Frederick that first
inspired in me those political views, which, during a long diplomatic
career, gradually crystallized into the deep-rooted convictions
of my political outlook. I believed Germany's salvation to lie
in the direction of a liberal development of Unification and
Parliamentary Government, as also in an attitude of consistent
friendliness towards England and the United States of America.
Thus, to use a modern phrase, I was an avowed supporter of the
Western Policy. At the present moment, while we are standing as
mourners at the grave of our national hopes, I am more than ever
convinced, that had this policy been steadily pursued, we should
have been spared the catastrophe that has overtaken us.

On the other hand, I will not deny, that even the Oriental Policy
would have proved a feasible political scheme, if only we had decided
to pursue it in good time. Albeit, I am of opinion that even Bismarck
had already started us in the direction of the Western Policy, when
in 1879 he decided in favor of Austria-Hungary and not Russia.
Despite all that the careworn recluse of Friedrichsruhe may have
written against Caprivi's policy, which was decidedly Western in
tendency, he was himself the founder of the Triple Alliance, which,
without the good-will of England, could not have come into existence.
Had we pursued an Eastern Policy, though it would ultimately have
led to the sacrifice and partition of Austria-Hungary, it would not
have secured us those advantages in the Orient of which Marschall
speaks. Nevertheless, I have always regretted that we sent such a
first-rate man to Constantinople, for him ultimately to become the
able director of the false policy which we pursued there. There
is an Oriental proverb which says: "Never lay your load on a dead
camel's back."

If, as I always used to hope, we had resolved to adopt the Western
Policy, we should in any case have had to be prepared, in certain
circumstances, to venture with England's help upon a war against
Russia. And the experiences of the Five-Years War have taught us that
we should have won such a conflict with ease. I never wanted a war
with Russia, and was never an enemy of that country; but I believed
that our position among the nations of the world would compel us to
decide one way or the other, and I felt, just as Caprivi did, that
we should not very well be able to avoid war. Even if, in the event
of a war between the Triple Alliance and Russia and France, England
had only maintained an attitude of friendly neutrality, this would
have proved very much more favorable for us than the situation which
developed out of the Encirclement Policy (_Einkreisungspolitik_).
Furthermore, had we pursued the Western Policy, we should have had
to reckon with the possibility of England's wishing to moderate,
even in a perfectly friendly manner, our somewhat explosive economic
development. I should not, however, have regarded this altogether as
a disadvantage. For, truth to tell, we grew a little too rapidly.
We ought, as "junior partners" in Britain's world-empire, to have
gathered our strength more slowly. As an example of what I mean, take
the policy which France and Japan have pursued since the beginning
of the present century. If we had done the same, we should, at all
events, have been saved from so seriously overheating the boilers
of our industrial development, we should not have outstripped England
as quickly as we undoubtedly could have done if we had been left to
develop freely, but we should also have escaped the mortal danger
which we drew upon ourselves by provoking universal hostility.

It is impossible now for me to demonstrate retrospectively that we
should have been able to conclude an alliance with England. Prince
Bülow denies that this was ever the case. Maybe that during his tenure
of office this possibility did not offer a sufficient guarantee of
future security to warrant our incurring the hostility of Russia. I
am convinced, however, that an alliance with England would have been
within our power, if we had pursued Caprivi's policy consistently,
and the Kruger telegram had never been dispatched. Unfortunately we
have always had statesmen at the helm in Germany,--Bismarck not
excepted,--the bulk of whose views and knowledge were essentially
continental, and who never felt quite at home with English ways
of thinking. I feel perfectly satisfied on this point, however,
that English commercial jealousy, with which we naturally had to
reckon, would not have proved an insuperable obstacle to a good
understanding with England, provided that we had declared ourselves
ready, if necessary, to fight Russia.

The policy of the free hand, which we pursued until the outbreak
of war, aimed at the highest possible results. Prince Bülow, who
was the inaugurator of this policy, might possibly have known how
to steer us through the "Danger-Zone" without provoking war. And
then in a few years to come, we should have become so strong and
should have left the Danger-Zone so very far behind us, that, as
far as human judgment could tell, we should no longer have had any
need to fear war. German naval construction from the beginning of the
present century certainly made our relationship to England very much
worse, while it also materially increased the danger of our position
from the standpoint of world-politics. The Bülow-Tirpitz notion of
a _Risikoflotte,_[*] may, however, only have been practicable on
condition that our diplomacy were sufficiently skilful to avoid
war, as long as the "risk" idea in England was not able, of itself,
to maintain peace.

[Footnote *: Literally: a fleet for risks or for taking risks; a
fleet to be used at a venture.]

German foreign policy had been ably conducted by Bismarck; but, in
keeping with the times, it had been almost exclusively Continental
and European. At the very moment when Bismarck withdrew from the arena,
Germany's era of world-politics began. It was not the free bloom of
our statesmen's own creative powers; but a bitter necessity, born
of the imperative need of providing Germany's increasing population
with sufficient foodstuffs. But it was not our world-politics, as
such, that brought about our downfall; but the way we set to work
in prosecuting our policy. The Triple Alliance, with its excellent
Reinsurance Treaty, did not constitute a sufficiently powerful
springboard from which to take our plunge into world-politics. The
Reinsurance contract could not be anything but a makeshift, which
merely deferred the inevitable choice which had to be made between
Russia and Austria-Hungary. In the course of time, we should either
have had to decide entirely in favor of Russia, in the manner outlined
above, or we should have had to try to come to an understanding with
England, upon terms which, at all events, we should not have been
at liberty to choose for ourselves. Unfortunately, however, it was
an axiom of post-Bismarckian German politics, that the differences
between Russia and England were irreconcilable, and that the Triple
Alliance would have to constitute the needle-index of the scales
between these two hostile Powers. This proposition was incessantly
contested both verbally and in writing by Herr von Holstein, who
was then the leading spirit at the Foreign Office. He perceived
that its chief flaw was the weak point in the Triple Alliance
itself,--that is to say, the differences between Austria-Hungary
and Italy on the one hand, and Italy's dependence upon England's
superior power in the Mediterranean on the other. Furthermore, he
recognized the prodigious possibility, which was not beyond the
art of English statesmanship, of a compromise between England and
Russia. He did not see, however, how the hostility of the French
to ourselves would serve as a medium for this universal coalition
against us.

In the last Entente Note of the Five-Years War there is the following

"For many years the rulers of Germany, true to the Prussian tradition,
strove for a position of dominance in Europe. They required that they
should be able to dictate and tyrannize to a subservient Europe,
as they dictated and tyrannized over subservient Germany."

We Germans know that this indictment is a lie; but unfortunately
all unprejudiced Germans must acknowledge that for years this lie
has been believed outside Germany. We, for our part, cherished
similar views about our enemies, nor did we make a sufficient effort
to dissipate their prejudices. On the contrary we constantly lent
color to them by means of the extravagant and high-flown speeches,
which formed the accompaniment to our world and naval policy, and
by means of our opposition to pacifism, disarmament, and arbitration
schemes, etc., etc. The extent to which our attitude at the Hague
Conference damaged us in the eyes of the whole world is no longer
a secret to anybody. As Heinrich Friedjung rightly observes:

"At the Hague Conference German diplomacy delivered itself up to
the vengeance of the pacifists, like a culprit."

During my tenure of office in Washington I succeeded on three occasions
in coming to an agreement with the Government there regarding the
terms of an arbitration treaty. All three treaties were, however,
rejected in Berlin, and consequently in America I never ceased from
being questioned reproachfully as to the reason why the United
States had been able to conclude arbitration treaties with every
other State in the world, but not with Germany.

The Entente Note, already quoted above, contained this further

"As soon as their preparations were complete, they encouraged a
subservient ally to declare war against Serbia at forty-eight hours'
notice, knowing full well that a conflict involving the control
of the Balkans could not be localized and almost certainly meant
a general war. In order to make doubly sure, they refused every
attempt at conciliation and conference until it was too late, and
the world war was inevitable for which they had plotted, and for
which alone among the nations they were fully equipped and prepared."

The leaders of the Entente Powers would like to exalt this distortion
of history into a dogma, in order that their various peoples may not
bring any unpleasant charges against them. And yet the historical
truth is already pretty clear to all who look for it honestly and
without prejudice. The German Government believed that the Serbian
propaganda would annihilate Austria-Hungary, and hoped, moreover,
that her last faithful ally would experience a political renaissance
as the result of her chastisement of Serbia. That is why they gave
Count Berchtold a free hand, in the belief that Count Bülow's success
over the Bosnian crisis could be repeated. Meanwhile, however, the
situation had changed. Russia and France, relying upon England's
help, wanted to risk a war. When the German Government saw this
they tried, like a driver of a car about to collide with another
vehicle, to jam on all breaks, and to drive backwards. But it was
then too late. The mistake our Government made was to consent to
Austria-Hungary's making so daring an experiment, at a moment of
such critical tension.

It is not true either that we were thoroughly equipped and prepared
for war. We had neither sufficient supplies of munitions, foodstuffs
and raw materials, nor any plan of campaign for a war with England.
Be this as it may, we should not have been defeated if we had abided
firmly by our defensive policy. The heroic spirit displayed by
the German people surpassed all bounds, and they believed quite
honestly that they were fighting a war of defence. If our policy
had been conducted with corresponding consistency we should have
saved our position in the world. We ought always to have borne in
mind the analogy of the Seven Years War, in order to have been
ready at any moment to extricate ourselves from the hopeless business
with the least possible amount of loss.

After the first battle of the Marne, President Wilson consistently
maintained that a decision was no longer possible by force of arms.
This view, which I also shared, gave us some common ground, upon
which, despite our other differences, we were able to some extent
to work together.

Regarding Dr. Wilson's personality certain doubts have been and
are still entertained by many people. He is the most brilliant
and most eloquent exponent of the American point of view. But he
does not devote the same energy and consistency to the execution
of his various programmes as he does to their formation. There
can be no question that, as a result both of his origin and his
training, the President is very much under the sway of English
thought and ideals. Nevertheless, his ambition to be a Peacemaker
and an _Arbiter Mundi_ certainly suggested the chance of our winning
him over to our side, in the event of our being unable to achieve
a decisive victory with the forces at our disposal. In this case,
Wilson, as the democratic leader of the strongest neutral Power,
was the most suitable person to propose and to bring about a Peace
by arrangement.

After the opening of the U-boat campaign, two alternatives remained
open to us, one of which we were compelled to choose. If the prospects
of a U-boat war promised to secure a victory, it was naturally
incumbent upon us to prosecute it with all possible speed and energy.
If, as I personally believed, the U-boat war did not guarantee a
victory, it ought, owing to the enormous amount of friction to
which it could not help giving rise, under all circumstances to
have been abandoned; for, by creating American hostility, it did
us more harm than good.

I, as the German Ambassador, in the greatest neutral State, with
the evidences of American power all about me, could not help feeling
it my duty to maintain our diplomatic relations with the United
States. I was convinced that we should most certainly lose the
war if America stepped in against us. And thus I realized ever
more and more the supreme importance of preventing this from taking

My communications to the Central Government were framed with a
view to inducing them also to adopt this attitude; but they, of
course, had to form their conclusions, not from one source, but
from all the sources of information they possessed. At all events,
isolated as I was at Washington, I could not confine myself merely
to the task of furnishing my Government with information; but was
compelled on occasion to act on my own initiative, in order to
prevent any premature development in the diplomatic situation from
becoming utterly hopeless.

The policy for which I stood not only promised the negative success
of keeping America out of the war, but it also offered the only
prospect there was of obtaining, with neutral help, a Peace by
arrangement. My belief that such a peace could have been obtained
through Dr. Wilson is, of course, no longer susceptible of proof
to-day. It may perhaps sound improbable in view of the President's
behavior at Versailles. It is my opinion, however, that, previous
to the 31st of January, 1917, Dr. Wilson's attitude towards us
was radically different. I base my assumption that Wilson might
in those days have assisted us in obtaining a Peace by negotiation
upon the following points:

(1) A Peace by mediation was the only way in which the United States
could avoid becoming involved in the war, and this is what the
American public opinion of the day wished above all to prevent.

(2) It is true that even if he had wished to do so, Wilson could
not have declared war on England, neither could he by any exercise
of force have prevented the delivery of munitions to the Allies, or
have compelled England to observe the rights of nations. He could,
however, have obliged England to conclude a Peace by arrangement
with us; not only because in so doing he would have had the support
of American public opinion, but also because such a policy was in
keeping with the best political interests of the United States.

I therefore pursued the policy of Peace with undeviating consistency,
and to this day I still believe it to have been the only right
policy. A thorough prosecution of the U-boat campaign was also a
feasible scheme. But the worst thing that we could possibly do,
was, to steer the zigzag course; for by so doing we were certain
not only to cause constant vexations to America, but, by our half
measures and partial pliancy, also to drive Mr. Wilson even further
and further into the inflexible attitude of a policy of prestige.
Unfortunately, however, it was precisely this zigzag course that
we adopted; and thus, in addition to destroying the prospects which
my policy had offered, according to the view of the Naval people,
we also crippled the effects of the U-boat campaign.

My policy might best be described as that of "a silent resolve to
obtain Peace." It was utterly wrong to publish our readiness for
Peace broadcast. We should have presented a strong front to the
outside world, and we should have increased the powers of resistance
which we actually possessed by emphasizing our strength both to
our people at home and to other States. According to my view, we
ought, after the first battle of the Marne, to have recognized
in our heart of hearts that victory was out of the question, and
consequently we should have striven to conclude a Peace, the relatively
unfavorable terms of which might perhaps have temporarily staggered
public opinion in Germany and created some indignation. It was not
right, however, to allow deference to public opinion to outweigh
other considerations, as it did in our case. The political leaders
of the Empire ought to have kept the High Military Command, which
from its point of view naturally demanded firmer "assurances" than
the general situation warranted, more thoroughly within bounds,
just as Bismarck did. Presumably the High Military Command would
have been able to perform its duties quite as efficiently if it
had been prevented from exercising too much influence on the policy
which aimed at a conclusion of peace.

As a politician I consider that the ultimate cause of our misfortune
was our lack of a uniform policy both before and during the war.
If, at the time of Bismarck's retirement, we had made a timely
and resolute decision either in favor of the Western Policy that
he advocated, or in favor of the Eastern Policy, we should have
prevented the development of a situation in the politics of the
world which ultimately led to our own undoing. If, during the war,
however, we had completely abandoned the U-boat campaign, and had
made every possible effort to come to an understanding with America,
we should, in my opinion, have been able to extricate ourselves
from it satisfactorily. Be this as it may, it is also possible
that if the U-boat campaign had been prosecuted resolutely, and
without any shilly-shallying--a thing I never wished--we should not
have suffered so complete a collapse from the military, economic,
political and moral point of view, as we must otherwise have done.
According to my view it is the hesitating zigzag course that we
pursued which is chiefly to blame for the fact that of all possible
results of the epoch of German world-politics, the unhappiest for
ourselves has come to pass. The Wilhelminian Age perished owing to
the fact that no definite objects were either selected or pursued
in good time, and, above all, because both before and during the
war, two systems in the Government of the country were constantly
at variance with each other and mutually corroding.



Anyone who has lived some time in the United States will feel with
Goethe that "America is better off than our own Continent." Owing to
the almost perfect autarchy existing there, grave economic problems
never really arise. Nowhere else, during the whole course of my
various diplomatic wanderings, have I ever seen a happier people, who
looked more cheerfully into the future. In view of the comparatively
sparse population of the country, intensive agricultural production
has only become necessary in a few isolated districts; there are
always purchasers in plenty for the rich surplus of raw materials
available, and industry has not yet been directed solely towards
export. As a result of these happy conditions, the American citizen
feels but little interest for what goes on in other countries. In
the period preceding the Five-Years War, if the political interests
of the United States ever happened to cross those of Europe, it was
almost exclusively in regard to American questions. As a proof
of this we have only to think of the Spanish-American War, and of
the various incidents relating to Venezuela; whereas it was only
with difficulty that the German Government succeeded in inducing
President Roosevelt's Administration to take part in the Algeciras
Conference, at which the presence of the United States representative
in no way alleviated our task.

Up to the time of the Five-Years War, the Foreign Policy conducted
from Washington was almost entirely Pan-American, and the Monroe
Doctrine was the beginning and end of it; for even if that versatile
man, President Roosevelt, was fond of extending his activities to
other spheres, as, for instance, when he brought the Russo-Japanese
War to an end by the Peace of Portsmouth, the Panama Canal scheme
remained his favorite child. But in the case of the Russo-Japanese
War, it was home politics, which in America are chiefly responsible
for turning the scales in regard to Foreign Policy, that again
played the principal part. Mr. Roosevelt wished to win over to
his side the very strong pacifist element in America; whereas the
Imperialists--particularly later on--deprecated these successful
attempts at mediation, because they prevented a further weakening
of both of the belligerent parties. Even Roosevelt's Secretary of
State, John Hay, concerned himself actively with the Far East,
and was known in America as the spiritual founder of the policy of
the "Open Door." In this particular matter, the German Government
frequently acted hand in hand with the American, and it was owing
to this circumstance that the Foreign Office at Berlin very much
wished to have the United States represented at the Algeciras
Conference. The German Government believed that the Americans would
also declare themselves in favor of the "Open Door" even in Morocco.
This assumption, however, turned out to be a false one, owing to
the fact that the political and economic interest shown by the
United States for countries on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean
was not sufficiently keen. The Algeciras Conference was a fairly
trustworthy forecast of all that subsequently happened at the Peace
Conference at Versailles. Equally lacking in foundation was also
the assumption, so prevalent in Germany, that, as the result of
their energetic Far-Eastern policy, the Americans would plunge
themselves into a serious conflict with Japan.

The question of the Philippines, which arose out of the Spanish-American
War and the Cuban affair, constitutes a certain contrast to the
customary Pan-American Foreign Policy of the United States. A large
number of Americans--possibly the majority--would like to relinquish
the Philippines as soon as the inhabitants of these islands are in
a position to rule themselves. At its inception, the question of
the Philippines brought us into a conflict with the United States,
which was remembered by Americans for years. Heinrich Friedjung,
referring to this incident, says:

"Quite superfluously it occurred to the German Government to make
our East-Asiatic Squadron, under Admiral Diederichs, appear before
Manila precisely at the moment when, in 1898, the decision was made
regarding the Philippines. This was done simply out of a pointless
consciousness of power, without any intention to cause offence."

This criticism is partly justified. And yet the affair was somewhat
different from the version of it which the American Ambassador,
Andrew White, allowed to filter through; for, seeing that, as the
United States did not intend to retain the Philippines, they could
raise no objection to Germany's wishing to acquire them. Thanks to
his friendly attitude towards Germany, Andrew White had, on his
own initiative, exceeded his instructions and was duly censured
by his Government for his zeal. Nevertheless, a misunderstanding
had occurred, as the result of which the Berlin Foreign Office
had acted in perfect good faith. In the public mind in the United
States, however, the feeling still rankled that Germany had wished
to make a demonstration against their Government; and the English
Press, which at that time was hostile to us, applied the bellows
enthusiastically to the glowing embers of American ill-humor.

The Venezuela affair, in the year 1902, which was a matter of lodging
certain complaints against the Venezuelan Government, ended in a
similar manner. Germany and England together sent their ultimatum
to Venezuela, and when no heed was paid to it, they instituted
a blockade of a number of Venezuelan ports. It was at this time
that I was appointed Secretary to the Embassy in London, where
I had to conduct a good deal of the negotiations regarding the
Venezuela question, with the Foreign Office. The whole affair, as
initiated by ourselves, was, in proportion to the German claims,
much too elaborate. The first suggestion which led to the common
action on the part of the British and ourselves, came from the
English side; but we should have been wiser, from the point of view
of our own advantage, if we had not listened to the suggestion.
It was absolutely clear from the start that the American Government
would raise objections to this sort of procedure, on the part of
European powers, in South America, and that England, true to her
usual custom, would climb down before the United States the moment
she recognized plainly the latter's displeasure. And when public
opinion in America raised a violent protest, and, incidentally,
resolutely assumed that Germany wished to obtain a footing in Venezuela,
the English Press attacked us in the rear by asserting that the
whole affair had been engineered by Germany, in order to embroil
England with the United States. At President Roosevelt's wish the
matter was finally settled with America's help; but in the United
States it left behind the widely prevalent impression that Germany
would infringe the Monroe Doctrine the moment she had the power
to do so.

President Taft, who in the year 1909 took President Roosevelt's
place, endeavored, with his Secretary of State, Philander Knox, to
develop still further the policy of the "Open Door," inaugurated
by John Hay. Both gentlemen felt the keenest interest in the Far
East. The former had been Governor of the Philippines, the latter had
been closely connected with the Pittsburgh iron industry, and knew
the need of extending its sphere of activities. Mr. Knox suggested
the proposal of internationalizing the railways of Manchuria. When,
however, this American notion met with response in Germany, and
apart from its general rejection elsewhere, had the further effect
of drawing Japan and Russia together again, Mr. Knox abandoned his
active Far-Eastern policy, and confined himself to stimulating the
large banks of America into becoming interested in the building of
railways and other economic means of development in China. This policy
was described as "Dollar Diplomacy" by the Democratic Opposition,
and violently opposed. When, therefore, the votes went against the
Republican Party, and President Wilson came to the helm, he let
the Far-Eastern policy drop. High Finance immediately seized this
opportunity in order to extricate itself from Chinese undertakings.
It had only embarked upon "Dollar Diplomacy" at the request of the
Government, and the venture had yielded but little profit, owing
to the fact that Americans are not inclined to invest in foreign

Secretary of State Knox's policy, which was always supported by
us, accounted for the fact that the official relations between
the German and American Governments were never more cordial than
during the years 1909-13, in spite of a short disturbance resulting
from a dispute over our potash exports to the United States. The best
proof of how friendly the official relations of the two Governments
were is shown by the ease with which this quarrel was settled. We
were also successful in concluding a commercial agreement which
was satisfactory to both sides, and overcame the danger of a customs
war as the result of America's new customs tariffs; whereas Taft's
economic plans, which aimed at reciprocity and union with Canada,
came to grief for political reasons, as the result of Canadian
Opposition, and left behind a bitter after-taste both in the United
States, Canada and England.

Official diplomatic communications excepted, however, it must
unfortunately be admitted, that mutual misunderstanding has been
the principal feature of German-American relations. In Germany
there was no understanding for the curious mixture of political
sagacity, commercial acumen, tenacity and sentimentality, which
goes to make up the character of the American people. The power of
the Union was therefore underestimated by us, and the high-spirited
utterances of American youthful strength were more disapproved of
than was necessary, because they were interpreted as mere "bluff"
and arrogance. We never sufficiently allowed for the fact that
the Americans are very "emotional"--that is to say, that they are
easily carried away by their feelings and then become uncertain.
Political surprises in the United States are almost the rule.

On the other hand, Americans never give themselves time to learn
to understand a foreign nation. A knowledge of foreign languages is
by no means general in the United States. The Americans unconsciously
borrow their thoughts and ideas from England, because it is the only
nation whose literature and Press are accessible to them in the
original tongue. Naturally this fact contributed very considerably,
before the Five-Years War, towards making the comprehension of
Germany difficult; because in those days German-English relations
were growing more and more unfavorable every day, and this decline
in friendliness found a powerful echo in the English Press and
other literature. The English language exercises more absolute
power in the United States than even in England itself. For example,
it would never occur to any diplomat in Washington to transact his
business in any other language than English. Whereas, in London,
I never once heard the French Ambassador pronounce one word of
English--even in an after-dinner speech--M. Jusserand in Washington
always spoke English. But, in spite of the claim that the French
make, that their language prevails in diplomatic circles, he could
not have done otherwise; because I have never, during the whole
of the eight years of my official activities in Washington, met
one Secretary of State who had mastered any other language than
English. It is obvious that this state of affairs opens all doors
and avenues to English political and cultural influences.

Thus, before the outbreak of the Five-Years War, the majority of
Americans already looked upon the Germans, however unconsciously,
through the optics of the English Press and English literary
publications. A large number of people in the United States honestly
believed, moreover, in the rumored German scheme to seize the empire
of the world. Our enormous successes in the economic field provoked
unbounded admiration and led, on the one hand, to an over-estimation
of our power, which did not prove favorable to us politically,
while, on the other hand, the Americans who frequently indulged in
generalizations about Germany were prone to judge us according to
the German-American Beer-Philistine, whom they disdainfully called a
"Dutchman." The Americans' view of the German people wavered between
these two extremes; but every year opinion tended to incline more
and more in the direction of the former. The phantom of a German
world-empire, extending from Hamburg to Bagdad, had already taken
possession of the American mind long before the war; and in the
United States it was feared that the next step would be that this
world-empire would infringe the Monroe Doctrine and found colonies in
South America. Professor Baumgarten, in an entertaining book, has
pointed out to what extent the publications of the Pan-German party
contributed towards promoting such conceptions in America.

Our Press was a little too fond of making attacks on the Monroe
Doctrine in particular. I was always of the opinion that we ought,
openly and officially, to have recognized this American article of
faith. As regards the Monroe Doctrine, the question is not one of
Right, but one of Power. We certainly had not the power to infringe
the Monroe Doctrine, even if we had had the intention, which was never
the case. It would, therefore, have been more wise to acknowledge
it, and thus to improve the political attitude, towards ourselves,
of a country on which we were so very much dependent for a number
of our raw-material supplies. I have often wondered whether the
Imperial Government would not have regarded it as its duty to avoid
war at all costs, if our economic dependence upon foreign countries
had been more clearly recognized. German prosperity was based to
a great extent on the Germans overseas, who had settled down in
every corner of the earth, just as in former days the Greeks had
settled all over the Roman Empire. The Germans overseas constituted
a colonial empire, which was a far more precious source of wealth
than many a foreign possession belonging to other Powers. In my
opinion not sufficient allowance was made for this state of affairs.

Finally, a further cause of misunderstandings, as I have already
mentioned in the Introduction, was to be found in the general disfavor
with which American pacifist tendencies were regarded in Germany.
Nine-tenths of the American nation are pacifists, either through their
education and sentimental prepossession in favor of the principle,
or out of a sense of commercial expediency. People in the United
States did not understand that the German people, owing to their
tragic history, are compelled to cultivate and to uphold the martial
spirit of their ancestors. The types of the German officer of the
reserve and of the members of the student corps are particularly
unsympathetic to the American, and, for certain German foibles,
all sign of that understanding that readily forgives, is entirely
absent in the United States, owing to the fact that our historical
development is not realized over there.

Although the Americans are largely and unconsciously swayed by the
influence of English ideas, we must be careful to avoid falling into
the error, so common in Germany, of regarding them as Anglo-Saxons.
The Americans themselves, in their own country, scarcely ever call
themselves Anglo-Saxons. This term is used by the English when
they are anxious to claim their American cousins as their own.
Occasionally, too, an American may use the expression when making
an after-dinner speech at some fraternizing function. As a rule,
however, the Americans insist on being Americans, and nothing else.
On the 11th May, 1914, at a memorial service for the men who fell
at Vera Cruz, President Wilson, in one of his finest speeches,

"Notice how truly these men were of our blood. I mean of our American
blood, which is not drawn from any one country, which is not drawn
from any one stock, which is not drawn from any one language of
the modern world; but free men everywhere have sent their sons
and their brothers and their daughters to this country in order
to make that great compounded nation which consists of all the
sturdy elements and of all the best elements of the whole globe. I
listened again to this list of the dead with a profound interest,
because of the mixture of the names, for the names bear the marks
of the several national stocks from which these men came. But they
are not Irishmen or Germans or Frenchmen or Hebrews or Italians
any more. They were not when they went to Vera Cruz; they were
Americans; every one of them, with no difference in their Americanism
because of the stock from which they came. They were in a peculiar
sense of our blood, and they proved it by showing that they were
of our spirit, that no matter what their derivation, no matter
where their people came from, they thought and wished and did the
things that were American; and the flag under which they served
was a flag in which all the blood of mankind is united to make
a free nation."

The above words of President Wilson are the key to the attitude of
the Americans who are of German origin. True, these people, almost
without exception, still cling to their old home with heartfelt
affection; but they are Americans, like the rest of the nation.
"Germania is our mother, and Columbia is our bride," said Carl
Schurz, and with these words he described the situation in a nutshell.
Just as a man shall "leave his father and his mother, and shall
cleave unto his wife," so the man who is generally styled the
German-American decides in favor of his new home-land, when a conflict
arises between America and Germany. He will, however, do anything
in his power to avoid such a conflict. Even before the war, we in
Germany entirely failed to understand the difficult and delicate
position of the American of German origin. And during the war this
was more than ever the case. The question of the "German-Americans"
has never been dealt with tactfully in Germany. Our greatest mistake
was to expect too much from them. The Americans of German origin
have retained in their new home all the failings and virtues of
the German people. _We_ could not, therefore, blame them if they
showed less interest and less understanding in regard to political
questions than the rest of America; for did they not, on the other
hand, distinguish themselves by their respect for the established
order of things, and by the fidelity and industry with which they
pursued their various callings? The inevitable consequence of these
national qualities was that they did not exercise the political
influence which would have been only in keeping with their numerical
superiority. For instance, I might mention that, on the occasion
when I first visited Milwaukee, I was welcomed by an Irish mayor,
a circumstance which somewhat surprised me, seeing that at the
time the town contained from 300,000 to 400,000 Germans.

In consequence of the state of affairs described above, the principal
object of German policy in the United States before the war was
to try to bring about a more satisfactory understanding between
the two peoples. Prince Henry's journey to America, the exchange
of University professors and school teachers, which took place on
this occasion, the visits of the two fleets, the American Institute
in Berlin, and similar more or less successful undertakings served
the same purpose. German diplomatic representatives were instructed
to promote this policy with all their power. When I was appointed
Ambassador in Washington, the Kaiser's and the Chancellor's principal
injunction, in taking leave of me, was that I should enlighten
public opinion in the United States regarding the peaceful and
friendly intentions of German policy. Prince Bülow also said to me
that I must without fail bring the negotiations about an Arbitration
Treaty with the United States, which had been left unfinished owing
to the death of my predecessor, to a satisfactory conclusion. Despite
these definite instructions, the German Government, as I have already
pointed out, ultimately blundered and stumbled over legal quibbles.
In any case, however, Prince Bülow had meanwhile vacated his office.
The effect upon the American mind of our obstruction of this matter
should not be under-estimated. It helped not a little to convince
public opinion in the United States of the alleged warlike intentions
of the German people.

In accordance with American custom, the semi-official and semi-private
activities concerned with fostering a better understanding between
the two States had to be published to the whole world, and this
had the inevitable disadvantage of provoking opposition, both in
Germany and in the United States, among all those who had reasons
for being hostile. Unfortunately, the official representatives of
Germany in Washington were always a thorn in the side of a certain
section of the German Press, whenever they tried, in consideration
of the American attitude of mind and social customs, to introduce
a warmer feeling into the relations between the two sides. Even
in the time of my predecessor, Speck von Sternburg, the German
Embassy was on such occasions charged with softness and an excessive
desire to become adapted to American ways; and this remained the
case during my tenure of office.

Our Press in general, moreover, never revealed a sufficient amount
of interest or understanding in regard to American affairs. There
were only a very few German newspaper correspondents in the United
States, and those that did happen to be there were too poorly paid
to be able to keep properly in touch with American social life.
About twelve months before the war, the well-known wealthy
German-American, Hermann Sielcken, offered to help me out of this
difficulty by undertaking to pay the salary of a first-rate American
journalist, of German origin, who was to reside in Washington, and
act as the representative there of Wolff's telegraphic bureau.
I immediately took steps to organize this telegraphic service.
Very shortly afterwards, however, I was informed by Berlin, that
the telegrams would be too expensive, as the subject was not of
enough interest, and in this case the Wolff Bureau would only have
had to defray the cost of the actual telegrams. This was the way
the supply of news was organized in a country that imagined it
was practising world-politics.

Mr. Wilson took up his quarters in the White House, Washington,
about a year before the war, and opened his period of office with
several internal reforms. Then came the American-Mexican crisis,
and relations with Europe in general, and Germany in particular,
therefore, fell somewhat into the background.

Woodrow Wilson was a University don and an historian. His works
are distinguished by their brilliant style and the masterly manner
in which he wields the English language--a power which was also
manifested in his political speeches and proclamations. Mr. Wilson
sprang into political and general fame when he was President of the
University of Princeton, and was elected as Governor of the State
of New Jersey. Even in those days he displayed, side by side, on
the one hand, his democratic bias which led him violently to oppose
the aristocratic student-clubs, and on the other, his egocentric and
autocratic leanings which made him inaccessible to any advice from
outside, and constantly embroiled him with the governing council
of the University. As Governor of New Jersey, The Holy Land of
"Trusts," Mr. Wilson opened an extraordinarily sharp campaign against
their dominion. Mr. Roosevelt, it is true, had spoken a good deal
against the trusts, but he had done little. He could not, however,
have achieved much real success, because the Republican Party was
too much bound up with the trusts, and dependent on them. At the
time when Mr. Roosevelt wanted to take action, he also succeeded in
splitting up his party, so that real reform could only be expected
from the Democratic side. The conviction that this was so was the
cause of Mr. Wilson's success in the Presidential election of 1912.

In regard to external politics, Mr. Wilson was pacifistic, as was
also his party; whereas the Imperialists belonged almost without
exception to the Republican Party. In spite of "Wall Street," and
the influence of English ideas and opinions upon American society,
Pacifist tendencies largely prevailed in the United States before
the outbreak of the Five-Years War; how much more was this the case,
therefore, when Mr. Wilson, in accordance with American custom,
gave the post of Secretary of State to the politician to whose
influence he owed his nomination as candidate for the Presidency
by the Democratic Party. Thus did Mr. William Jennings Bryan attain
to the dignity of Secretary of State after he had thrice stood as
a candidate for the Presidency without success.

In all political questions, Mr. Bryan followed a much more radical
tendency than Mr. Wilson. His opponents call him a dishonest demagogue.
I, on the contrary, would prefer to call Mr. Bryan an honest visionary
and fanatic, whose passionate enthusiasm may go to make an exemplary
speechmaker at large meetings, but not a statesman whose concern is
the world of realities. He who in his enthusiasm believes he will
be able to see his ideal realized in this world next Thursday week
is not necessarily dishonest on that account, even if he overlooks
the fact that things are going very badly indeed.

It was believed in a large number of circles that Mr. Bryan would
not accept the post of Secretary of State, for even at that time
everybody who was in the know was already aware that Mr. Wilson could
only tolerate subordinates and not men with opinions of their own.
Mr. Bryan, however, felt the moral obligation, at least to attempt to
give his radical views a chance of succeeding, and declared, as he
took over the post, that so long as he was Secretary of State the
United States would never go to war. He even wanted this principle
to be generally accepted by the rest of the world, and with this
end in view, submitted to all foreign Governments the draft of
an Arbitration and Peace-Treaty, which was to make war utterly
impossible in the future. As is well known, the German Government,
unlike all the others, refused to fall in with Mr. Bryan's wishes.
The Secretary of State was a little mortified by this, even though
he still hoped that we should ultimately follow the example of
the other Powers. Every time we met, he used to remind me of his
draft Arbitration Treaty, which I had forwarded to Berlin. Later on
I often regretted that we did not fall in with Mr. Bryan's wishes;
who, by the by, during the war, again returned to the question, but
in vain. If the treaty had been signed by us, it would most probably
have facilitated the negotiations about the U-boat campaign.

The diplomatic corps in Washington thus found itself confronted
by an entirely new situation. The Republican Party had been at
the helm for sixteen years, and had now to vacate every one of
the administrative posts. Even our personal intercourse with the
President was governed by different formalities from those which
existed in the days of his predecessors. Mr. Roosevelt liked to
maintain friendly relations with those diplomats whose company
pleased him. He disregarded the old traditional etiquette, according
to which the President was not allowed to visit the Ambassadors
or any private houses in Washington. The friendly relations that
existed between Mr. Roosevelt and Baron Speck von Sternburg are
well known. When in the year 1908, after this gentleman's decease,
I assumed his post at Washington, Mr. Roosevelt invited me to the
White House on the evening after my first audience, to a private
interview, in which every topic of the day was discussed. Invitations
of this kind were of frequent occurrence during the last two months
of Roosevelt's administration, which, at the time of my entering
office, was already drawing to its close. For instance, Mr. Roosevelt
showed me the draft of the speech which after his retirement he
delivered at the University of Berlin.

My dealings with President Taft were on the same footing; for he
also was in favor of an amicable and unconventional relationship.
On one occasion he invited me to join him in his private Pullman on
a journey to his home in Cincinnati, where we attended the musical
festival together. On another occasion, he suddenly appeared, without
formal notice, at the Embassy, while we were holding a ball in
honor of his daughter, and later on he accepted an invitation to
my daughter's wedding.

President Wilson, who by inclination and habit is a recluse and
a lonely worker, does not like company. He re-introduced the old
etiquette and confined himself only to visiting the houses of Cabinet
members, which had been the customary tradition. He also kept himself
aloof from the banquets, which are such a favorite feature of social
life in America, and severely limited the company at the White
House. Thus the New Year Reception was discontinued entirely. This
attitude on the part of the President was the outcome of his tastes
and inclinations. But I certainly do not believe that he simply
developed a theory out of his own peculiar tastes, as so often
happens in life. I am more inclined to believe that Mr. Wilson
regarded the old American tradition as more expedient, on the grounds
that it enabled the President to remain free from all intimacy,
and thus to safeguard the complete impartiality which his high
office demanded. The peculiar friendship which unites Mr. Wilson
with Mr. House is no objection to this theory, for the latter has
to some extent always been in the position of a minister without
portfolio. An adviser of this sort, who incurs no responsibility by
the advice he gives, is more readily accepted by American opinion
than by any other, because the President of the United States is
known to be alone and exclusively responsible, whereas his ministers
are only looked upon as his assistants.

Generally speaking, the political situation in the United States
before the Five-Years War was as follows: On the one hand, owing
to the influence of English ideas, which I have already mentioned,
it was to be expected that a feeling of sympathy with the Entente
would probably preponderate in the public mind; while on the other
hand, owing to the general indifference that prevailed with regard to
all that happened in Europe, and to the strong pacifist tendencies,
no interference in the war was to be expected from America, unless
unforeseen circumstances provoked it. At all events it was to be
feared that the inflammability of the Americans' feelings would
once again be under-estimated in Germany, as it had been already.
It has never been properly understood in our country, despite the
fact that the Manila and Venezuela affairs might have taught us a
lesson in this respect. The juxtaposition in the American people's
character of Pacifism and an impulsive lust of war should have been
known to us, if more sedulous attention had been paid in Germany to
American conditions and characteristics. The American judges affairs
in Europe, partly from the standpoint of his own private sentiment of
justice, and partly under the guidance of merely emotional values;
but not, as was generally supposed in Germany, simply from a cold
and business-like point of view. If this had been reckoned with in
Germany, the terrible effect upon public opinion in America of the
invasion of Belgium and of the sinking of the _Lusitania_--particularly
in view of the influence of English propaganda--would have been
adequately valued from the start.

On May 17th, 1915, in a report addressed to the Imperial Chancellor,
I wrote as follows:

"It is not a bit of good glossing over things. Our best plan, therefore,
is frankly to acknowledge that our propaganda in this country has,
as the result of the _Lusitania_ incident, completely collapsed.
To everyone who is familiar with the American character this could
have been foreseen. I therefore beg leave to point out in time,
that another event like the present one would certainly mean war
with the United States. Side by side in the American character
there lie two apparently completely contradictory traits. The cool,
calculating man of business is not recognizable when he is deeply
moved and excited--that is to say, when he is actuated by what is
here called 'emotion.' At such moments he can be compared only
to an hysterical woman, to whom talking is of no avail. The only
hope is to gain time while the attack passes over. At present it is
impossible to foresee what will be the outcome of the _Lusitania_
incident. I can only hope that we shall survive it without war. Be
this as it may, however, we can only resume our propaganda when
the storm has subsided."

Here I should like to intrude a few of my own views regarding the
importance of public opinion in the United States.

In Europe, where people are constantly hearing about the truly
extraordinary and far-reaching authority of the American President--the
London _Times_ once said that, after the overthrow of the Russian
Czar, the President of the United States was the last remaining
autocrat--it is difficult to form a correct estimate of the power
of public opinion in the Union. In America, just as no mayor can
with impunity ignore the public opinion of his city, and no governor
the public opinion of his state, so the President of the Republic,
despite his far-reaching authority, cannot for long run counter to
the public opinion of his country. The fact has often been emphasized
by Mr. Wilson himself, among others, that the American President
must "keep his ear to the ground"--that is to say, must pay strict
attention to public opinion and act in harmony with it. For the
American statesman, whose highest ambition consists either in being
re-elected, or at least in seeing his party returned to power, any
other course would amount to political suicide; for any attempt
at swimming against the tide will certainly be avenged at the next

It must be remembered that public opinion in the United States
is seldom so homogeneous and unanimous a thing as, for example,
in England. Particularly in questions of foreign politics, public
opinion in the Union, stretching, as it does, over a whole continent,
reacts in widely varying ways in different localities, and to a very
different degree. Thus, in the States bordering on the Atlantic
coast, which are more closely in touch with the Old World, there is,
as a rule, a very definite public opinion on European questions,
while the West remains more or less indifferent. On the other hand,
in the Gulf States a very lively interest is taken by the public in
the Mexican problem, and the Pacific States are closely concerned
with the Japanese question, matters which arouse hardly more than
academic interest in other localities. This is also reflected in
the American Daily Press, which does not produce papers exerting
equal influence over the whole nation, but rather, in accordance
with the customary geographical division of the Union into seven
economic spheres of interest--namely, New York, New England, Middle
Atlantic States, Southern States, Middle West, Western and Pacific
States, comprises seven different daily presses, each of which
gives first place to quite a different problem from the rest. It is
true that the New York Press is certainly the most important mirror
of American public opinion on European questions. Nevertheless,
this importance should not lead to the erroneous assumption that
the American Press and the New York Press are synonymous terms.
The perusal of the latter does not suffice for the formation of
a reliable judgment of American public opinion, with regard to
certain questions which concern the whole nation; rather it is
necessary also to study the leading papers of New England, the
Middle Atlantic States, and particularly the West. The reports of
German and English correspondents on feeling in America, which, as
so often happens, are based purely on the New York Press, frequently
play one false, if one relies on them for an estimate of the public
opinion of the whole nation. The "Associated Press," therefore,
makes it a rule with all questions of national importance, not
only to reproduce extracts from the New York Press, but also to
publish précis of the opinions of at least fifty leading journals
from all parts of the Union.

The American daily papers are more important as a medium for influencing
public opinion than as a mirror for reflecting it. The United States is
the land of propaganda _par excellence!_ Every important enterprise,
of no matter what nature, has its Press agent; the greatest of all
is the propaganda lasting for months, which is carried on before
the biennial elections, and of the magnitude of which it is difficult
for the average European to gain any conception. It is therefore
not surprising that the political leaders of the country make very
wide use of the Press in important questions of foreign politics,
to influence public opinion in favor of the Government policy.
Not only the great news agencies, but also all leading newspapers
of the Union maintain their permanent special correspondents in
Washington, and these are received almost daily by the Secretary of
State, and as a rule once a week by the President. The information
that they receive at these interviews they communicate to their
papers in the greatest detail, without naming the high officials
from whom it has emanated, and in this way they naturally act as
megaphones through which the views of the Government are spread
throughout the whole country. In foreign questions it was often
striking how newspapers would hold back their comments until they
had received in this way a _mot d'ordre_ from Washington.

Of course this possibility for the Government to create opinion on
concrete questions only applies so long as a firm public opinion has
not already set in. As soon as the process of "crystallization," as
it is called, is complete, there is nothing left for the Government
but to follow the preponderating public opinion. Even a man like
Mr. Wilson, who possesses an unusually high degree of self-will,
has always followed public opinion, for the correct interpretation
of which--apart from his own proverbial instinct--he commands the
services of his secretary, Mr. Tumulty, and a large staff, as well
as the organization of the Democratic party, which spreads through
the length and breadth of the country. If, in a few exceptional
cases, the President has set himself in opposition to public opinion,
we might be sure that it would not be long before he again set his
course on theirs.



When I received the news of the murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand,
I was dining with the Spanish Ambassador at the Metropolitan Club
in Washington. Signor Riano and I were not for a moment in doubt as
to the very serious, peace-menacing character of the incident, but
we found little interest in the matter among the Americans in the
club, who, as always, regarded European affairs with indifference.
As to the results of the murder, I received in Washington no
information, either officially or through the Press.

I therefore, on the 7th July, began my usual summer leave, which
had been granted a few weeks before. For the last time I crossed
the ocean on one of the proud German liners, and, indeed, on the
finest of our whole merchant fleet, the _Vaterland_. For the last
time I saw, on my arrival, the port of Hamburg and the lower Elbe
in all their glory. Germans who live at home can hardly imagine
with what love and what pride we foreign ambassadors and exiled
Germans regarded the German shipping-lines.

A few days after I had arrived in my home at Starnberg there began
strong public excitement and uneasiness over the political situation.
However, of late years so many crises had been successfully averted
at the eleventh hour, that this time, too, I hoped up to the last
minute that a change for the better would set in. It seemed as
though the responsibility for a war was too great to be borne by
anyone man--whoever he might be--who would have to make the final

On the wonderful, still summer evening of the 1st August, we heard
across the Starnberger Lake, in all the surrounding villages, the
muffled beat of drums announcing mobilization. The dark forebodings
with which the sound of the drums filled me have fixed that hour
indelibly in my memory.

The following day was devoted to preparations for the journey to
Berlin, where I had to receive instructions before returning with
all possible speed to Washington. The journey from Munich to Berlin,
which could only be made in military trains, occupied forty-eight

In the Wilhelmstrasse I had interviews with the authorities, the
substance of which was instructions to enlighten the Government
and people of the United States on the German standpoint. In doing
so I was to avoid any appearance of aggression towards England,
because an understanding with Great Britain had to be concluded
as soon as possible. The Berlin view on the question of guilt was
even then very much the same as has been set down in the memorandum
of the commission of four of the 27th May, 1919, at Versailles,
namely, that Russia was the originator of the war.

Further, I was informed at the Foreign Office, that in addition
to some other additions to the staff of the Washington Embassy,
the former Secretary of State of the Colonial Office, Dr. Dernburg,
and Privy Councillor Albert, of the Ministry of the Interior, were
to accompany me; the former as representative of the German Red
Cross, the latter as agent of the "Central Purchasing Company."
Dr. Dernburg's chief task, however, was to raise a loan in the
United States, the proceeds of which were to pay for Herr Albert's
purchases for the aforesaid company. For this purpose the Imperial
Treasury supplied us with Treasury notes, which could only be made
negotiable by my signature. This gave rise later to the legend that
Dr. Dernburg was armed with millions for propaganda purposes.

Our journey was wearisome but passed off without incident. In
forty-eight hours we reached Rotterdam, where we boarded the Dutch
steamer _Noordam_. As we went aboard we were all in high spirits,
for we had seen everywhere in Germany a wonderful, self-sacrificing
and noble enthusiasm. On the steamer, however, which incidentally was
badly overloaded, the picture changed. We suddenly found ourselves
surrounded by hostile feeling, and among our fellow-passengers
there were only a few friendly to the German cause. The bitter
daily struggle toward which we were travelling was to begin on the
ship. We plunged straight into it, and tried as far as possible
to influence our fellow passengers.

At Dover the ship was inspected by a British officer; the inspection,
however, passed off without any inconvenience to us, as in those
first days of the war the regulations of international law were
still to some extent respected. We had already made all preparations
to throw the Treasury notes overboard, in case we were searched.
As a curiosity I mention a comic interlude that occurred after we
had left Dover Harbor. A friendly German-American from a Western
State, who did not know who I was, but had recognized me as a German,
accosted me with the remark: "Take care that you don't expose yourself
to annoyance; the people on board think you are the German Ambassador
in Washington." The excellent man was overcome with amazement when
I admitted my identity. We had not had our names entered on the
passengers' list, but apart from this made no secret of our journey,
as it was already known in Rotterdam.

After an eleven days' voyage, we landed in New York on the 23rd
August. Our arrival was a relief, as during the journey we had
been overwhelmed exclusively with enemy wireless reports of French
victories. Every day we had received news of the annihilation of a
fresh German Army Corps. In comparison with this mental torture,
the cross-fire of questions from countless American Pressmen, not
altogether friendly towards Germany, was comparatively easy to

As is known, American public opinion at that time had been given a
one-sided view of the causes and course of the war, for England, who,
immediately after the declaration of war, had cut our Transatlantic
cable, held the whole of the Transatlantic news apparatus in her hands.
Apart from this, however, our enemies found from the beginning very
important Allies in a number of leading American newspapers, which,
in their daily issue of from three to six editions, did all they could
to spread anti-German feeling. In New York the bitterest attacks
on Germany were made by the _Herald_ and the _Evening Telegram_,
which were in close touch with France, as well as the _Tribune_ and
_Times_, which followed in England's wake; somewhat more moderate
were the _Sun_ and the _Globe_; the only neutrals were the _Evening
Post_ and the _American_. Outside New York the Press raged against
us, particularly in New England and the Middle-Atlantic States.
In the South and West we were also baited by the Press, but with
considerably less intensity. The only papers which could be called
neutral were those of the Hearst Press, which took up an outspoken
National-American standpoint, and, in addition, the _Chicago Tribune_,
the _Washington Post_, and a few minor newspapers. It was already
very significant that papers like the _Boston Transcript_, the
_Brooklyn Eagle_, the _Baltimore Sun_, and a few others opened
their letter-boxes to anti-German articles, which, it is true,
they condemned with fair regularity in their leading articles or
editorial notes. Against this campaign, fed systematically and
daily with British propaganda information--especially on the subject
of German atrocities in Belgium--the small number of papers in the
German language, which, moreover, were little heeded by public
opinion, and at the head of which stood the old _New Yorker
Staatszeitung_ and the courageous weekly _Fatherland_, founded
shortly after the outbreak of war by the young German-American,
G. S. Vierick, could make but little headway.

On my arrival in New York, and during the next few weeks, I made
an honest effort by daily interviews of the representatives of
the leading daily newspapers to explain the German standpoint to
the American public. I soon noticed, however, that these efforts
were not only practically fruitless but that they were even fraught
with certain dangers for me. The daily struggle with the Press was
threatening to undermine my official position and to compromise
my relations with the Washington Government so seriously that I
should not have been in a position to carry through with success
the diplomatic negotiations which were likely to be called for.
I therefore considered it as my duty to the German people to give
up, as far as I personally was concerned, all propaganda in favor
of the German cause. Certainly I have had a good deal further to
do with American journalists until the final rupture; but I
categorically refused to grant interviews or to receive newspaper
correspondents who were not prepared to treat my statements purely
as confidential, private information.

I should like to take this opportunity to remark that the American
journalist is far better than the reputation he enjoys in Europe.
In spite of the hostile atmosphere which surrounded me in America
I have never had to complain of an indiscretion. True, many minor
New York reporters whom I did not receive invented statements which
I had never made; but such experiences are common to all politicians
in America. Moreover, the results of these journalistic tricks were
almost always local and were easily contradicted. In Washington
such things never occurred. The journalists there were quite
extraordinarily capable and trustworthy men, who always behaved
like "gentlemen." My relations with them remained very friendly
to the last. In so far as I was not forced to keep silence for
political reasons I have always told them the real truth. Of course,
I was as little capable as the American journalists of foreseeing
that the policy I was representing was doomed to ultimate failure.

Just at the time when I gave up personal propaganda in order to
devote myself to my political and diplomatic activities in Washington,
the financial mission of Secretary of State Dr. Dernburg had failed.
President Wilson had stated clearly that it would be an unneutral
act for loans to be raised in the Union by the combatant States.
Our friends in high financial circles in New York regarded this
decision as favorable to Germany, for they foresaw--what actually
happened--that for every million received by us, our enemies would
raise a hundred millions. As a result of this decision of the President,
Privy Councillor Albert had to finance his purchases as far as
possible privately, while Dr. Dernburg, whose time was not fully
occupied by his duties as delegate of the Red Cross, which had
meanwhile been organized by Geheim Oberregierungrat Meyer Gerhardt
and Rittmeister Hecker, would have left America if there had remained
any possibility of doing so. There was not, however, as the English
inspected all neutral ships shortly after they left the American
ports and--in flagrant contravention of international law, which
only allows the arrest of persons who are already enrolled in the
fighting forces--summarily arrested and interned every German capable
of bearing arms. As Dr. Dernburg was thus an unwilling prisoner
in New York he began to write articles on the world-war for the
daily Press. He had a gift for explaining the causes of the war
in a quiet, interesting manner, and particularly for setting out
the German standpoint in a conciliatory form. His propaganda work
therefore met with extraordinary success. The editors of newspapers
and periodicals pressed him to contribute to their columns, and
the whole New York Press readily printed all the articles he sent
in to contradict the statements of the anti-Germans.

Out of this activity developed, in co-operation with the Foreign
Office, Dr. Dernburg's New York Press Bureau, a solution of the
propaganda question which was exceedingly welcome to me. As a private
person Dr. Dernburg could say and write much that could not be said
officially and therefore could not come from me. Consequently I
took it for granted that--in spite of certain suggestions to the
contrary--Dr. Dernburg would not be attached to the Embassy, which
would only hamper his work, and also that the Press Bureau would
retain its independent and unofficial character. I may take it as a
well-known fact that Washington is the political, and New York the
economic, capital of the United States, which has always resulted
in a certain geographical division of the corresponding diplomatic
duties. It naturally had its disadvantages that there should be,
apart from the Consulate-General, four other independent German
establishments in New York, namely, the offices of Dr. Dernburg,
Privy Councillor Albert, the military attaché Captain von Papen
and the naval attaché Commander Boy-Ed. In order to keep, to some
extent, in touch with these gentlemen, I occasionally travelled to
New York and interviewed them together in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel,
where I usually stayed and in which Dr. Dernburg lived; for their
offices, scattered as they were over the lower town, and which,
moreover, I never entered, were unsuitable for the purpose. Our
mutual personal relations were always of the best. On the other hand,
it was naturally difficult to make any headway with our official
business, since each received independent instructions from Berlin.
This was least the case with Dr. Dernburg, because his responsible
authority as far as propaganda was concerned was partly the Foreign
Office itself and partly the semi-official "Central Office for
Foreign Service." The other three gentlemen, however, were all
responsible to home departments other than mine. Captain von Papen
and Commander Boy-Ed frequently held back from me the instructions
they had received from Berlin in order not to embarrass the Embassy
by passing on military or naval information. Financially, too,
the four officials were completely independent and had their own
banking accounts, for which they had to account individually to
their respective departments at home. Only Privy Councillor Albert
had, for the purchase on a large scale of raw material, definite
funds which were in any event under my control. Concerning the
activities of these four gentlemen, countless legends have been
spread in America and in part have found their way to Germany. In
spite of all the reproaches levelled against them, and indirectly
against myself, with regard to propaganda--I shall speak of the
so-called conspiracies in Chapter V.--nothing has reached my ears
of which these gentlemen need in any way be ashamed. Individual
mistakes we have, of course, all made; in view of the ferocity and
protraction of the struggle they were inevitable. But in general
the German propaganda in America in no way deserves the abuse with
which it has been covered, in part, too, at home. If it had really
been so clumsy or ineffective as the enemy Press afterwards claimed,
the Entente and their American partisans would not have set in
motion such gigantic machinery to combat it. One need only read
G. Lechartier's book, "Intrigues et Diplomaties à Washington," to
see what importance was attached to our propaganda by the enemy.
In spite of all the bitterness which the author infuses into his
fictitious narration, admiration for the German activity in the
United States shines through the whole book. Further, at the end
of 1918 a Commission of the Senate appointed to investigate German
propaganda, as a result of the publication of protocols on this
subject, repeatedly stated that its work had in no way been in
vain, but rather its after effects had made themselves strongly
felt "like poison gas" long after America's entry into the war.
One may well venture to say that, had it not been for the serious
crisis caused by the submarine war, it would probably in time have
succeeded in completely neutralizing the anti-German campaign.

As regards our justification for openly championing the German cause
before the people of the United States by written and spoken word,
this is self-evident in a country which recognizes the principles of
freedom of the Press and free speech. Apart from this, however,
the American Government have themselves provided a precedent in
this connection during the civil war, when President Lincoln in
1863 sent to England the famous preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, whose
sympathies were strongly on the side of the Federals. Through his
speeches, afterwards published as "Patriotic Addresses," he did
much towards swaying public opinion in favor of the Northern States.
In this war, too, America, after abandoning her neutrality, has
carried out vigorous propaganda in neutral countries, as is shown by
the mission of the well-known New York supporter of woman suffrage,
Mrs. Norman Whitehouse, under the auspices of the official Press
Bureau and with the special approval of Secretary of State Lansing.
Moreover our justification has been expressly upheld by a statement
of Commissioner Bruce Bielaski of the American Law Department, who
appeared as chief witness against us before the above mentioned
Commission of Inquiry. He declared that there was no law in the
United States which, before her entry into the war, rendered illegal
German or any other foreign propaganda. Why all this noise then?--it
is reasonable to ask. Why, then, has the suggestion persisted at
home and abroad, almost from the appearance of Dr. Dernburg until
the present day, that we had, with our propaganda campaign, made
ourselves guilty of treachery to the United States?

From the moral point of view, too, no exception can be taken to
the German propaganda. The United States was neutral and wished to
remain so. The German propaganda was working for the same end. I
have never heard of a single case of bribery by our representatives.
If money was spent on our side, it was purely for the purpose of
spreading articles and pamphlets pleading United States neutrality.
Applications were frequently made to us by writers and editors who
from inner conviction were ready to write and circulate articles
of this kind, but were not financially in a position to do so. The
leaders of German propaganda would surely have been neglectful
of their duty if in such cases they had not provided the necessary
funds. All Governments in the world have always proceeded in a
similar way, and in particular that of the United States since
their entry into the war, as is shown by the case of the _Freie
Zeitung_ of Bern--therefore equally in a neutral country. These
facts must throw a strange light on the inquiry of the American
Senate into German propaganda, delayed as it was until last winter
and carried through with such elaborate machinery. It is obvious
that beneath it all there lay--what irony!--a purely propagandist
purpose, namely, that of humiliating Germany in the person of her
late official representative accredited to the United States, and to
make her appear contemptible in the eyes of the uncritical public!

Whereas in the first months of the war no one in America had thought
of connecting "German Propaganda" with anything shocking, our opponents
afterwards succeeded in disseminating the idea that a few offences
against the law committed by Imperial and American Germans represented
an important, even the most important, part of the German propaganda
work. So it was brought about that even in the time before America's
entry into the war, everyone who openly stood up for Germany's
cause was stamped by the expression "German Propagandist" as a
person of doubtful integrity. The gradual official perpetuation
of this admittedly misleading identification of our absolutely
unexceptionable propaganda with a few regrettable offences against
the American penal code--this and no other was the object of that
inquiry by the Senate. The prejudicial headlines under which the
published articles were printed, such as "Brewery and Brandy Interests"
and "German-Bolshevist Propaganda," themselves sufficed to indicate
that our propaganda was to be crucified between two "malefactors";
for to the average American citizen there is nothing more horrifying
than the distillery on the one hand and Bolshevism on the other. In
this connection I must not omit to mention that the great majority
of the documents laid before the Commission had been secured by
means of bribery or theft. It is also worth while to remind the
reader of the significant words of Senator Reed, a member of the
Commission, who said at one point in the examination: "I am interested
in trying to distil some truth from a mass of statements which are
so manifestly unfair and distorted that it is hard to characterize
them in parliamentary language."

As for the fantastic figures with which the Americans have undertaken
to estimate the cost of our propaganda, they rest--in so far as
they are not simply the fruit of a malicious imagination--on the,
to say the least of it, superficial hypothesis that all the money
paid out by the different German offices from the outbreak of war
until the breaking off of diplomatic relations between Germany and
America, the amount of which has been arrived at on the strength
of a minute scrutiny of the books of all the banks with which these
offices have done business, were used for purposes of propaganda.
As a matter of fact, of course, far the greater part of this outlay
went to finance the very extensive purchases of Privy Councillor
Albert as well as certain business transactions concluded by Captain
von Papen, which will be discussed later. In comparison with this
the sum we devoted to propaganda work was quite small. The Press
Bureau was frequently very appreciably hampered by the fact that
even for quite minor expenditure outside the fixed budget, previous
sanction had to be obtained from Berlin. Consequently much useful
work would have had to remain undone if, particularly in the first
months of the war, self-sacrificing German-Americans to whom it
was only of the slightest interest that the German point of view
should be accurately and emphatically explained, had not placed
small sums at the disposal of the leaders of our propaganda. In the
two and a half years between the outbreak of war and the rupture
between Germany and America the sums paid out from official funds
for propaganda work in the Union--including minor contributions
for other countries, as, for example, the pictures distributed
from New York over South America and Eastern Asia--do not, all
told, exceed a million dollars. That is surely only a small fraction
of what England and France have expended during the war in order,
in spite of very thorough preparation in peace time, to win over
American public opinion to their cause. It is actually only a sixth
of what, according to the _Chicago Tribune_ on the 1st November,
1919, the official American Press Bureau of Mr. George Creel has
spent in order to "cement enthusiasm for the war" during the eighteen
months between America's entry into the war and the conclusion of
the Armistice. The thirty-five to fifty million dollars which,
according to the statements of our enemies, were swallowed up by
German propaganda in the United States belong, therefore, to the
realms of fable.

In this connection I must mention yet another, far more malicious
legend, namely, the slander widely spread in America last year,
that the funds collected in America for the German Red Cross were
used to finance German propaganda. It is a fact that every dollar
that went to the German Red Cross Delegation in New York was remitted
to the home organization for which it was intended. Of course these
funds were in the first place paid into the various New York banking
accounts from which Dr. Dernburg drew the funds for the Press Bureau.
But, as Captain Hecker has most definitely stated, their equivalent
was remitted to Germany through the bank, regardless of the changes
in the exchange.

Dr. Dernburg, in organizing the Press Bureau, availed himself of
the assistance he found in New York. The suggestion, widely current
in America and repeated by a member of the American Secret Service
before the Senatorial inquiry, that this Press Bureau had formed,
as it were, a part of the German mobilization, and that, therefore,
the most skilled propaganda experts from Europe and the Far East
had been gathered together in New York in order that, after a
preliminary run there, they might be let loose on the American
world, is a ridiculous invention. Just as Dr. Dernburg himself
became a propagandist without any premeditation, so it was also
the case with his colleagues. At first his only assistants were
the New York Press Agent of the Hamburg-Amerika line, Herr M. B.
Claussen, and after the entry of Japan into the war a Government
official from that country who was unable to continue his journey
to Germany, because the passport across the Atlantic granted him
through the instrumentality of the State Department was rejected
by the British authorities. This official, Dr. Alexander Fuehr,
the interpreter of the Consulate-General in Yokohama, who had great
experience in Press matters and possessed an intimate knowledge
of American affairs, assisted by quite a small staff of assistants
engaged in New York, issued the daily bulletins of the "German
Information Service," which appeared for a year and consisted of
translations of the substance of the German newspapers, comments on
daily events and occasional interviews with people who had returned
from Europe. It was Herr Claussens's duty to circulate the bulletins,
the arrival of which was in no way kept secret, among the American
Press, and to see to it that they should be reproduced as fully
as possible, which was done, especially in the provincial Press.

Later, when the propaganda movement had developed to the extent of
publishing and circulating leaflets, brochures and longer pamphlets,
Dr. Dernburg decided to employ in the Press Bureau a well-known
American publicist in the person of Mr. William Bayard Hale, who
had already done good work, by speaking and writing, towards an
unbiassed appreciation of the German point of view, and he was
assisted by two younger New York journalists. Later, when the bureau
took up war-picture and war-film propaganda, these were joined by
two more young German Government officials, Dr. Mechlenburg and
Herr Plage, who also were held up in America on their way from
Japan. More than a dozen persons, including messengers, have never
been employed by the Press Bureau at a time. Of the thirty-one
trained propagandists imported from Germany who, according to Captain
Lester's evidence before the Senatorial Commission, were supposed
to have worked in the Press Bureau, in so far as their names were
given in the protocols of the inquiry, we are assured by Herr Fuehr
that not one was employed there!

In addition to his direction of the Press Bureau Dr. Dernburg,
who continued with inexhaustible energy to write articles for the
periodicals and instructive letters for the daily Press, was responsible
for keeping in touch with the directors of the American Press.
He also availed himself of invitations to speak in American and
German circles, and sometimes in other places than New York. As far
as I know he never founded any societies for propaganda purposes.
On the other hand, when such societies which had arisen, without
his influence turned to him, he of course supported them by word
and deed.

For all questions of propaganda Dr. Dernburg had the assistance of
a small committee nominated by himself and consisting, in addition
to Herren Albert, Meyer Gerhardt and Fuehr, of a few American
journalists and business men. It was his custom to confer with
this committee once or twice a month, when the general situation,
the prevailing fluctuations of public opinion and the probable
influence of the propaganda material about to be published, were
discussed in detail.

With this entirely improvised and, as will be seen, very modest
machinery, Dr. Dernburg began his campaign. The enemy statement
that the German propaganda in the United States had been actually
organized many years before the war, so that in 1914 we might have
ready at our disposal an organization with branches in every part
of the country, is unfortunately devoid of any foundation. It is
a regrettable fact that, in spite of my repeated warnings to the
authorities, nothing was ever done on the German side before the
war. It is well known that at that time the power of public opinion
in democratic countries was very little understood in Germany. It was
thought at home--which is typical of the objective, matter-of-fact
German national character--that it was much more important that the
right should be done than that it should be recognized as right by
the public. Added to this was the under-estimation of the influence
of the United States on the development of world politics.

Before the war no one in Germany had thought it possible that the
Union would have to be reckoned with as a factor, much less a decisive
factor, in a European war. This was a mistake, the effect of which
unfortunately was felt until well into 1917--the result was that
there was never enough money available to keep in touch and co-operate
with the American Press. As a matter of fact I had, in the course
of my activities in Washington, personally entered into certain
social relations with the proprietors of a few great American
newspapers. But from Berlin no advances were made. Even with the
German-American papers there was no organized connection, and they
themselves did not work together in any way. It is true that for
years there had been a business connection between the greatest
American news-agency, the Associated Press, and the Wolff Telegraphic
Bureau; as, however, the agency was not served direct with Berlin
Wolff-telegrams, but by its own representatives there, this did
not amount to much. England, on the other hand--quite apart from
the close relationship resulting from a common language--had for
years maintained and systematically cultivated the closest contact
with the American Press. It followed, then, that on the outbreak of
war the English influence on the American daily Press was enormous.
It did not rest as exclusively as has been assumed in Germany on
direct proprietary rights. I do not think that, with the exception
of a single newspaper in one of the smaller cities any great American
paper was directly bought by England. Here and there considerable
blocks of American newspaper shares may have been in English hands
and influenced the tendency of certain papers. If, however, it is
true--as was credibly stated in Irish-American quarters during
the first year of the war--that Lord Northcliffe boasted a year
or two before the war of "controlling" seventeen American papers,
it is difficult to believe that this influence of the English
press-magnates was based on hard cash. Rather is it the case that
certain newspapers received their otherwise very costly private
news-service from England on very advantageous terms. To others,
English writers of leading articles are said to have been attached,
without cost to the newspaper--a scheme of which I have often heard in
America, but which is difficult to prove, as all American newspapers
maintain the strictest secrecy as to the origin of their leading
articles. It is, however, common knowledge that with regard to
European affairs the American news service was swayed by this entirely
English organization. Until the outbreak of the war the American
news agencies drew exclusively from English sources. Moreover,
those newspapers which in the United States play a very important
part, inasmuch as they are the fount of most of the new ideas by
which the tone of the Press in influenced, were in a very considerable
degree served from England. On the other hand, the wide field of
cinematographic production was strongly influenced by the French
film. In this way our enemies in the United States had, at the
outbreak of war, a boundless and excellently prepared field for
the propagation of their news, and the representation of their
point of view, but more particularly for their attack on the German
cause. In spite of this, however, they immediately inundated the
Union with propagandist literature, particularly through the agents
of the English shipping lines, who were scattered all over the
country, and the well-known author and politician, Sir Gilbert
Parker, sent from London tons of this matter to well-known American
business men, professors and politicians.

On our side, it is true, and I should like to emphasize this to their
credit, that on the outbreak of war the German-American newspapers
took up our cause unhesitatingly and as one man. Further, they
have, until America's entry into the war, honestly striven to win
full justice for the American point of view, and to combat the
unneutral leanings of the majority of the Americans and the slanderous
attacks of our enemies. As, however, they are not accessible to the
general public, who do not know German, and in particular scarcely
ever come into the hands of the authoritative American political
circles, their support remained more or less academic. Very valuable
services were rendered to the German cause by the already-mentioned
weekly paper _Fatherland_, which was printed in English; in view,
however, of its reputation as a partisan journal, it naturally
could not exert so deep an influence as the local daily papers,
which carried on the English propaganda without allowing it to
become too conspicuous. For telegraphic communication from Germany
to America we had to rely solely on the two German wireless stations
at Sayville and Tuckerton, erected shortly before the outbreak of
war, and we soon succeeded, subject to American censorship, in
getting a regular Press-service, which was spread, not only over
the whole of the United States, but was also passed on to South
America and East Asia. But in the first place, in spite of repeated
extension and strengthening, these two stations were quite inadequate;
in the second place, the Press-service never succeeded in adapting
itself thoroughly to American requirements. The same may be said
of most of the German propaganda literature which reached America
in fairly large quantities since the third month of the war, partly
in German and partly in not always irreproachable English. This,
like the Press telegrams, showed a complete lack of understanding
of American national psychology. The American character, I should
like to repeat here, is by no means so dry and calculating as the
German picture of an American business man usually represents.
The outstanding characteristic of the average American is rather
a great, even though superficial, sentimentality. There is no news
for which a way cannot be guaranteed through the whole country,
if clothed in a sentimental form. Our enemies have exploited this
circumstance with the greatest refinement in the case of the German
invasion of "poor little Belgium," the shooting of the "heroic
nurse," Edith Cavell, and other incidents. Those who had charge
of the Berlin propaganda, on the other hand, made very little of
such occurrences on the enemy side, e.g., the violation of Greece,
the bombing of the Corpus Christi procession in Karlsruhe, etc. One
thing that would have exerted a tremendous influence in America,
if its publicity had been handled with only average skill, was
the sufferings of our children, women and old people as a result
of the British hunger blockade--that they have made no attempt
to bring to the notice of the world.

On the other hand they put themselves to the greatest possible
trouble to lay "The Truth About the War" before American public
opinion. This, however, fell on unfavorable ground, for the American
does not care to be instructed. He had no interest in learning
the "truth" which the German Press communications and explanatory
pamphlets were so anxious to impress upon him. The American likes
to form his own opinions and so only requires facts. The possibility
of exerting influence therefore lies rather in the choice of the
facts and the way in which they are presented, than in logical
and convincing argument. It is all the easier to influence him by
the well-timed transmission of skilfully disposed facts, since his
usually very limited general knowledge and his complete ignorance of
European affairs deprive him of the simplest premises for a critical
judgment of the facts presented to him from the enemy side. It is
quite incredible what the American public will swallow in the way
of lies if they are only repeated often enough and properly served
up. It all turns on which side gets the news in first; for the first
impression sticks. Corrections are generally vain, especially as
they appear as a rule in small print and in inconspicuous places.
When, for example, the American Press got the first news of the
"destruction" of Rheims cathedral from London and in the English
version, no German correction, however well-founded, would succeed
in removing the first impression.

Particularly ineffective in their influence on American public
opinion--as may be said here in anticipation--have been the majority
of our official Notes. In view of the subsequent ever-increasing
interruption of the news service from Germany, they were the last
and only means by which the German standpoint could be brought
before the American people. Their effectiveness depended entirely
on the impression that they made on American public opinion and
not on the Washington Government; yet they were nearly always drawn
up in Berlin in the form of juristic précis, propagandist but quite

All these factors must be taken into consideration in attempting
to estimate the success of our propaganda in the United States.
They show that on the one hand the prevailing conditions of American
public opinion were extraordinarily unfavorable to our propaganda,
and that the support it received from home, with a few exceptions,
was misguided.

Dr. Dernburg, then, had not a chance during the eight months of his
activity in America of transforming her into a pro-German country,
and it is certain that no one else could have done it in his place.
But he succeeded to a great extent, and within a comparatively short
time, in more or less crippling the enemy propaganda, and at least
in gradually rendering ineffective the grossest misrepresentations
of our enemies. By his own writings and other methods of spreading
the truth, and particularly by the numerous brochures and books,
which at his suggestion were written by American supporters of the
German cause and distributed in thousands directly or indirectly by
the Press Bureau with the help of a skilfully compiled address-book,
he succeeded in exerting very considerable influence. By keeping
in touch with American journalists and other influential persons
he did much good work, particularly in the first months of the
war. His connection with Irish leaders laid the foundation for a
co-operation which in the following year was of great importance
to our position in the United States, and which, with a somewhat
more intelligent backing by our Government departments at home,
might have been more fruitful still.

One branch of our propaganda which was also initiated under Dr.
Dernburg, but was chiefly developed after his departure, was the
moving-picture propaganda, for which a very efficient company was
floated by Privy Councillor Albert. At first it was intended to be
an agency for the circulation of films from Germany. As, however,
suitable material for the American market could not be obtained
there, the "American Correspondent Film Co." decided to send its
own agents to Germany and Austria with a view to making suitable
films for their purpose. In this way several important film-dramas
were produced which have had great success in hundreds of American
cinemas. In spite of this the company had finally to be liquidated,
chiefly owing to lack of support from the military authorities at

With the sinking of the _Lusitania_ our propaganda of enlightenment
in the United States substantially came to an end. Henceforward
the principal aim of its activity, which, after Dr. Dernburg's
departure, came under the direction of Privy Councillor Albert,
was to keep the United States out of the war. Side by side with
this, an attempt was made to influence public feeling against the
export of arms and ammunition and against the Anglo-French loan,
and to demonstrate the increasingly prejudiced effect wrought by
England on American economic interests. In November, 1915, I urged,
as I cabled at the time to Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, the complete
suppression of propaganda. The Press Bureau in New York continued
under the direction of Dr. Fuehr, until the breaking off of relations
between America and Germany. It concerned itself, however, apart
from certain regular literary contributions to certain journals,
less with propaganda work than with keeping an eye on the American
Press and the development of the news service to and from Germany
as well as to South America and Eastern Asia.



As I mentioned in the first chapter, it was to be expected that
public opinion in America would range itself overwhelmingly on
the side of the Entente. As a result of the violation of Belgian
neutrality, this happened far in excess of expectation. The violence
of the statements of the anti-German party called forth strong
replies from those who desired a strict neutrality on the part of
the United States. The adherents of the latter party were always
stigmatized as pro-Germans, although even the German-Americans never
called for anything more than an unconditional neutrality. This also
was the aim for which the German policy was working through its
representatives in America. We never hoped for anything further.

The waves of excitement ran so high that even the private relations
of the adherents of both parties contending suffered. President
Wilson, therefore, on the 18th August, 1914, issued a proclamation
to the American people which is of special interest because it
lays down in a definite form the policy to which he logically and
unwaveringly adhered until the rupture.

In this proclamation the following sentences occur: "Every man
who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of
neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and
friendliness to all concerned." And further: "The people of the
United States ... may be divided in camps of hostile opinion....
Such divisions among us would be fatal to our peace of mind and
might seriously stand in the way of the proper performance of our
duty as the one great nation at peace, the one people holding itself
ready to play a part of impartial mediation and speak the counsels
of peace and accommodation, not as a partisan, but as a friend."

The policy outlined in these quotations from Mr. Wilson's proclamation
won the approval of an overwhelming majority of the American people,
for even among the supporters of the Entente there was only a small
minority who desired an active participation in the war by the
United States. Apart from the fact that the traditional American
policy seemed to preclude any such intervention in European affairs,
it was to the interest of the United States to play with unimpaired
power the rôle of _Arbiter mundi_, when the States of ancient Europe,
tired of tearing one another to pieces, at last longed for peace
again. America could not but hope that neither of the two warring
parties would come out of the war in a dominating position. There
is, therefore, a certain modicum of truth in the view frequently
expressed in Germany that the United States would in any case finally
have entered the war to prevent the so-called "German Peace." But
the question is whether such a peace was possible in face of the
superior strength of our enemies. If we had won the first battle
of the Marne and had then been prepared to restore Belgium and
conclude a moderate peace, it is conceivable that we might have
come to terms with England on the basis of a kind of Treaty of
Amiens. After the loss of the battle of the Marne a "German Peace"
was out of the question. The possibility of such a peace has never
recurred. It was therefore necessary for the German policy to strive
for a peace by understanding on the basis of the _status quo_.
Just as Frederick the Great defended Prussia's newly won position
as a great Power against overwhelming odds, so we were fighting
under similar conditions for the maintenance of Germany's position
in the world.

Our Government had declared _urbi et orbi_ that they were waging a
defensive war, and were therefore obliged to regulate their policy
accordingly. If we had desired a peace like that of Hubertusburg we
should have won. It is often contended in Germany to-day that it
would still have been possible to attain this end. I have struggled
for it in America for two and a half years and am as convinced
to-day as I was then, that by acquiescing in the policy of the
United States we should have obtained a peace which would have
met the needs of the German people, if only those who desired the
same thing at home had been in a position to carry their wishes

In Germany it is also alleged, contrary to my own opinion, that the
German people could not have held out if they had not been driven
on by the "Will to conquer." I regard this view as an injustice to
the German nation. If our home propaganda, instead of continually
awakening vain hopes, had insisted on telling the real truth, the
German people would have faced danger to the last. We ought to
have repeated constantly that our situation was very serious, but
that we must clench our teeth, and our Government must be ready
to seize the first opportunity to end the defensive war by a
corresponding peace.

The controversy about the "German peace" or "peace by negotiation"
must be touched on here because it formed the nucleus of the diplomatic
struggle in Washington. At the beginning of the war these catchwords
had not yet been invented, but their substance even then controlled
the situation. The attitude of the American Government and public
opinion towards us depended in the first place on whether they
thought that we were striving for world-mastery or were waging a
defensive war.

Immediately after my return from Europe I called on President Wilson,
who had taken the opportunity of the war and the death of his first
wife, to withdraw even more than ever from the outer world. He was
generally known as the recluse of the White House. He only received
people with whom he had political business to settle. Particularly
from diplomats and other foreigners Mr. Wilson kept very aloof,
because he was anxious to avoid the appearance of preference or

After the disillusionment of Versailles it is difficult for a German
to form an unbiassed judgment of Mr. Wilson. We must not forget,
however, that no serious attempt has ever been made in Germany
to get an unprejudiced estimate of Mr. Wilson's personality. In
the course of the war he has come to be regarded more and more
as unneutral and anti-German, whereas, to the average American
public opinion, he appeared in quite a different light. Later,
after the defeat of our arms, we hailed Mr. Wilson as the Messiah
who was to save Germany and the whole world from dire distress.
When, therefore, at Versailles, the President, instead of unfolding
and carrying through a far-reaching programme for the general
reconstruction of the world, approved all the ultra-chauvinistic
and nationalistic mistakes of the European statesmen and proclaimed
as the aim of the peace the punishment of Germany, Mr. Wilson was
set down in Germany without more ado as a hypocrite.

I think that through all the phases of the war the German opinion of
Mr. Wilson has suffered from sheer exaggeration. The chief mistake lay
in separating Wilson's personality from public opinion in the United
States. In spite of his strong will and his autocratic leanings, Mr.
Wilson is still, in the first place, a perfect type of the American
politician. In his speeches he always tries to voice public opinion,
and in his policy to follow its wishes.

He certainly tries to direct and influence public opinion. But he
changes his front at once if he notices that he has strayed from
the way that the _aura popularis_ would have him follow. In order
to form a correct judgment of Mr. Wilson's actions and speeches
it is always necessary to ask oneself, in the first place, what
end he has in view for his own political position and that of his
party in America. He proclaims in a most dazzling way the ideals
of the American people. But their realization always depends on
his own actual political interests and those of the Democratic
party. Mr. Wilson's attitude has always been synonymous with that
of his party, because the latter can produce no other personality
capable of competing with the President. Therefore, Mr. Wilson
always met with little or no opposition within the Democratic party,
and he was able to follow for a long time his own inclination to
adopt a quite independent policy.

Socially the President is very congenial when once he has made up
his mind to emerge from his narrow circle. He has not the reputation
of being a loyal friend, and is accused of ingratitude by many of
his former colleagues and enthusiastic adherents. In any case,
however, Mr. Wilson is an implacable enemy when once he feels himself
personally attacked or slighted. As a result of his sensitiveness
he has a strong tendency to make the mistake of regarding political
differences of opinion as personal antipathy. The President has
never forgiven the German Government for having caused the failure
of his peace-policy of 1916-17, which was supported by public opinion
in America. In Germany his later speeches, in which he drew a
distinction between the German people and the Imperial Government,
were regarded as hypocrisy. Such a differentiation was at that
time based on American public feeling, which held autocracy and
militarism responsible for the disasters which had been brought
upon the world. The question has, however, never been answered
why this distinction was abandoned by Mr. Wilson at Versailles.
Without wishing in any way either to accuse or defend him I consider
the answer to this riddle to be that the President allowed himself to
be convinced of the complicity of the German people by the statesmen
of the Entente. He was at the time in a mood with regard to us which
predisposed him to such influences. Mr. Wilson was by origin,
up-bringing and training a pacifist. When it is remembered that
with us and in neutral countries it was the pacifists themselves
who were the most indignant at the Peace of Versailles, that they
were the very people who for the most part advised against the
signature of this peace, one can imagine the feelings aroused in
a disillusioned pacifist like Wilson by those whom he regards as
responsible for having thwarted the possibility of an ideal pacifist

Apart from this, Mr. Wilson at Versailles no longer dominated American
public opinion, and his political power consequently collapsed. In
the United States the old indifference to European affairs regained
the upper hand. Men were satisfied with having brought about a
victory over autocracy and militarism. They wanted nothing further.
The American troops were crowding home, and, finally, feeling in
the United States was still so strongly against us that no one
would have understood the President if he had caused a rupture with
his Allies on our behalf.

At Versailles, too, an outstanding peculiarity of Mr. Wilson's may
have played a part which even during the earlier negotiations had
been of great importance. He is a man who is slow to make up his
mind, and likes to postpone decisions until they are inevitable. He
is always ready to wait and see whether the situation may not improve
or some unexpected event occur. How often during the Washington
negotiations did, first I and then our enemies, believe that we had
set President Wilson on a definite course. But again and again
the requisite decision would be postponed. In Washington it was
generally taken under the strong pressure of public opinion. In
Versailles the Entente statesmen may well have forced a decision
by displaying a stronger will and a wider knowledge of European
affairs. Mr. Wilson was at Versailles in the position of the giant
Antæus, who drew his strength from his native soil. Once away from
American ground Hercules (Clemenceau) was able to crush him.

At the time I am now describing the circumstances were quite different,
because at that time Mr. Wilson had a reliable support for his
policy in American public opinion. In Germany, at the very beginning
of the war, great resentment was felt against Mr. Wilson for the
cold negative in his reply to the Emperor's telegram in which Mr.
Wilson was asked to condemn the atrocities perpetrated by the Belgian
population and _francs-tireurs_. It was not, however, noticed in
Germany that the President at the same time likewise refused to
receive a Belgian deputation which came to America to beg for his

During my conversation with the President already mentioned, he
made a statement on the lines of his proclamation of neutrality
of which I have already given the substance. My reply that the
American neutrality seemed to us to be tinged with sympathy for
our enemies Mr. Wilson contradicted emphatically. He thought that
this appearance was the result of England's naval power, which
he could do nothing to alter. In this connection the President
made the following remark, which struck me very forcibly at the

"The United States must remain neutral, because otherwise the fact
that her population is drawn from so many European countries would
give rise to serious domestic difficulties."

My remark about the benevolence of the United States' neutrality
towards our enemies was at the time chiefly prompted by the differences
that had arisen with regard to the wireless stations.

The fact that this question arose gives yet another proof of how
little we were prepared for war. By German enterprise two wireless
stations had been erected on the east coast of the United States
as a means of direct communication with Europe, one at Sayville
(Long Island), the other at Tuckerton (New Jersey). Both were partly
financed by American and French capital. As at the beginning of the
war the cable fell entirely into English hands and was destroyed by
them, we had no telegraphic communication with home at our disposal.
We had to fall back exclusively on the wireless stations, when, as
frequently happened, we were unable to make use of the circuitous
routes via neutral countries. Unfortunately it appeared that the
legal position with regard to the proprietorship of the two stations
was not clear. Actions were immediately brought on the French side,
and the closing of the stations by decree of the courts demanded.
Under these circumstances it was fortunate for us that the American
Government, after tedious negotiations with me, took over possession
of both stations. Otherwise they would have been closed and we
should have been unable to use them.

Our satisfaction at this decision was modified by the establishment
of a censorship of radio-telegrams on the part of the American
Government on the strength of the Hague Convention, which prohibits
the communication by wireless from a neutral country with the military
or naval forces of a combatant. If the stations had been publicly
used before the war we should have stood on firm legal ground, for
such cases are excepted by the Hague Convention. Unfortunately the
stations were in 1914 only partially completed, and the application
of the clauses in question was therefore doubtful. It is true that
the stations were ready for immediate use, but as a result of the
French protest the American Government held strictly to the legal
standpoint. In these negotiations we had to content ourselves with
pointing out that whereas our enemies could pass on military information
to their Governments by means of coded cablegrams, we should be
confined to the use of the wireless stations. Finally we came to
an agreement with the American Government that they should have
a copy of the code which we used for the wireless telegrams. In
this way their contents were kept secret from the enemy, but not
from the Washington Government. This course we only agreed to as
a last resource as it was not suitable for handling negotiations
in which the American Government was concerned.

The course of this controversy was typical of the fate of German
interests in America throughout the whole period of American neutrality.
Unfortunately we had absolutely no means at hand for putting any
pressure on America in our own favor. In comparison with the public
opinion in the Eastern States, which followed in the wake of the
Entente, and with the authoritative circles of New York, Wilson's
Administration without question strove for an honorable neutrality.
In spite of this most of their decisions were materially unfavorable
to us, so that a German observer from a distance might, not without
reason, obtain the impression that the neutrality of the American
Government was mere hypocrisy and that all kinds of pretexts were
found for helping England.

This was not the chief impression made on a near observer. In politics
the Americans are first and foremost jurists, and indeed in a narrower
and more literal sense than the English Imperialists, with whom,
according to their old traditions, justice only serves as a cloak
for their political ambitions. I cannot judge how far the Americans
have become full-blooded Imperialists since their entry into the
war, i.e., since about 1917. At the time of which I speak this was
far from being the case. If, moreover, it is a fact that the majority
of the decisions of the United States turned out unfavorably to us,
the question of the American motives should have been carefully
differentiated from the other question as to what inferences may be
drawn from the state of affairs. Even if we had had just reason
to complain of unfair treatment it was for us to be as indulgent
towards America as was compatible with our final aim not to lose
the war. The question is not whether we had cause for resentment
and retaliation, but simply what benefit could be extracted for
Germany out of the existing situation.

At this visit to the White House, the only question that was acute
was that of the wireless stations. This and the negotiations which
I shall mention later, dealing with the coaling of our ships of war
and the American export of arms and ammunition, I discussed with
Secretary of State Bryan. The first time I visited this gentleman he
exclaimed with great warmth: "Now you see I was right when I kept
repeating that preparation for war was the best way of bringing
war about. All the European Powers were armed to the teeth and
always maintained that this heavy armament was necessary to protect
them from war. Now the fallacy is obvious. We alone live in peace
because we are unarmed."

Mr. Bryan has always been a genuine pacifist, and later sacrificed
his Ministerial appointment to his convictions. So long as he remained
in office he continued to influence the American Government to
maintain neutrality and constantly strove to bring about peace.

A first attempt in this direction was made from Washington immediately
after the outbreak of the war, but met with no response from the
combatant Powers. At the beginning of September, Mr. Bryan repeated
the offer of American mediation.

At that time a vigorous agitation had begun in New York for the
restoration of peace. Mr. William Randolph Hearst, the well-known
editor of widely circulated newspapers, and other well-known
personalities, called together great meetings at which America's
historical mission was said to be the stopping of the wholesale
murder that was going on in Europe. At this time I was, together
with several other gentlemen, staying with James Speyer, the banker,
at his country house. The host and the majority of the guests,
among whom was the late ambassador in Constantinople, Oscar Straus,
were supporters of the prevailing pacific movement. The question
of American mediation was eagerly discussed at the dinner table.
Mr. Straus was an extremely warm adherent of this idea. He turned
particularly to me because the German Government were regarded as
opponents of the pacifist ideas. I said that we had not desired the
war and would certainly be ready at the first suitable opportunity
for a peace by understanding. Thereupon Mr. Straus declared that
he would at once travel to Washington and repeat my words to Mr.
Bryan. Immediately after dinner he went to the station and on the
following day I received a wire from the Secretary of State, asking
me to return to Washington as soon as I could to discuss the matter
with him. There we had a long interview in his private residence,
with the result that an American offer of mediation was sent to
the Imperial Chancellor. Meanwhile Mr. Straus had gone to the
ambassadors of the other combatant Powers, who all more or less
rejected the proposal. The friendly reply of the German Government
coincided in principle with what I had said, but added that Mr.
Bryan should first address himself to the enemy, as the further
course of the negotiations depended on their attitude, which was not
yet known. The American Government never returned to the question
and I had no reason to urge them to do so. Any importunity on our
side would have given an impression of weakness. Nevertheless this
interlude was so far favorable to us that it contrasted our readiness
for negotiation with the enemy's refusal.

In consequence of the failure of their first attempt to intervene the
American Government thought it necessary to exercise more restraint.
In spite of this, however, President Wilson, before the end of
the winter of 1914-15, sent his intimate friend, Colonel Edward
M. House, to London, Paris and Berlin, in order to ascertain
semi-officially whether there were any possibilities of peace.

Mr. House, who lived in an unpretentious abode in New York, occupied
a peculiar and very influential position at the White House. Bound
to the President by intimate friendship, he has always refused
to accept any Ministerial appointment, either at home or abroad,
although he was only possessed of modest means and could certainly
have had any post in the Cabinet or as an ambassador that he had
liked to choose. In this way he remained entirely independent, and
since President Wilson's entry into office, was his confidential
adviser in domestic, and particularly in foreign politics. As such
Colonel House had a position that is without precedent in American
history. During his stay in London, at this time, he is said to
have described himself to the wife of an English Cabinet Minister,
herself not favorably disposed towards America, as the "eyes and
ears of the President." I know from my own experience how thoroughly
and effectively he was able to inform his friend on the European
situation, and how perfectly correctly, on the other hand, he
interpreted Mr. Wilson's views.

It was not easy to become more closely acquainted with Colonel
House, whose almost proverbial economy of speech might be compared
with the taciturnity of old Moltke.

Unlike the majority of his fellow-nationals, and particularly his
immediate fellow-countrymen of the Southern States, Colonel House,
while possessing great personal charm and the courtesy that is
characteristic of the Southern States, is reserved and retiring.
It took a considerable time before I got to know this able and
interesting man at all intimately. I did not become intimate with
him until the time of the journey to Berlin already mentioned.
Even then it was the earnest wish of Colonel House to obtain for
his great friend the chief credit of being the founder of peace.
Colonel House was particularly well fitted to be the champion of the
President's ideas. I have never known a more upright and honorable
pacifist than he. He had a horror of war because he regarded it as
the contradiction of his ideals of the nobility of the human race.
He often spoke with indignation of the people who were enriching
themselves out of the war, and added that he would never touch the
profits of war industry. He afterwards repeatedly told me that
he had spoken as energetically in London against the blockade,
which was a breach of international law, as against the submarine
war in Berlin. Both these types of warfare were repugnant to the
warm, sympathetic heart of Colonel House. He could not understand
why women and children should die of hunger or drowning in order
that the aims of an imperialist policy, which he condemned, might
be attained. At the same time he was convinced that neither of
these types could decide the war, but would only serve to rouse
in both the combatant countries a boundless hatred which would
certainly stand in the way of future co-operation in the work of
restoring peace. In many of his remarks at that time, Colonel House
proved to be right, since the war was decided mainly by the entry
of America and the consequent overwhelming superiority in men,
money and material.

Meanwhile, as a result of the traffic in munitions, feeling in
Germany had turned sharply against the United States. Our position
with regard to this question was very unfavorable as we had no legal
basis for complaint. The clause of the Hague Convention which permitted
such traffic had been included in the second Hague Convention at our
own suggestion. Nevertheless it was natural that the one-sided support
of our enemies by the rapidly growing American war industry roused
strong feeling in Germany. As a result there began a controversy
with the American Government similar to that with England during the
war of 1870-71. Even in the United States there was a considerable
minority which disapproved of the munitions traffic, though on moral
rather than political or international grounds. It goes without
saying that the agitation of this minority was supported in every
way by the German representatives. There was no law in America
to prohibit such support, which could not, moreover, be regarded
as a breach of American neutrality. It is true that in this way a
few Germans got themselves into an awkward position because they
were suspected of stirring up the German-Americans, who together
with the Irish played a leading part in the agitation against the
Government. In particular, Dr. Dernburg became unpopular in America,
since he began to address meetings in addition to his journalistic
work. The Washington Government regarded him as the leader of the
"hyphenated Americans" who were opposing the policy of the President's
Administration, because the latter took up the strict legal standpoint
that the traffic in munitions was permissible, and that it would
therefore be a breach of neutrality in our favor if such traffic
were forbidden after the outbreak of hostilities. President Wilson
himself even had an idea of nationalizing the munition factories,
which would have rendered traffic with the combatant Powers a breach
of international law. When, however, he sounded Congress on this
matter, it became evident that a majority could not be obtained
for such a step. The United States had already brought forward
a similar proposal at the Hague Conference with the intention of
conceding one of the chief demands of the pacifists. It was in
wide circles in America an axiom that the munitions factories were
the chief incentives to war. As during the first winter of the
war there were very few such factories in America the President's
plan was not merely Utopian but meant in all seriousness, in which
connection it should be noted that American industrial circles were
among Mr. Wilson's bitterest opponents. If Mr. Wilson's proposal
had been known to German public opinion he would have been more
favorably judged.

The negotiations which I had to carry out on this question of the
munitions traffic concerned themselves also with the question of
the coaling of our ships of war. This was based on an agreement
between the American Government and the Hamburg-Amerika line. The
port authorities had at first shown themselves agreeable. As a
result of the English protest the attitude of the American Government
became increasingly strict. With the actual coaling I had nothing
to do. That came within the sphere of the Naval Attaché, who, for
obvious reasons connected with the conduct of the war at sea, kept
his actions strictly secret. My first connection with this question
was when I was instructed to hand over to the American Government
the following memorandum, dated 15th December, 1914:

"According to the provisions of general international law, there is
nothing to prevent neutral States from allowing contraband of war
to reach the enemies of Germany through or out of their territory.
This is also permitted by Article VII. of the Hague Convention of the
19th October, 1907, dealing with the rights and duties of neutrals
in the case of land or sea war. If a State uses this freedom to the
advantage of our enemies, that State, according to a generally
recognized provision of international law, which is confirmed in
Article IX. of the two aforesaid Conventions, may not hamper Germany's
military power with regard to contraband through or out of its

"The declaration of neutrality of the United States takes this
view fully into account since the furnishing of contraband of war
to all combatants is likewise permitted: 'All persons may lawfully
and without restriction by reason of the aforesaid state of war,
manufacture and sell within the United States, arms and ammunitions
of war and other articles ordinarily known as contraband of war.'

"This principle has been accepted in the widest sense by the public
declaration of the American State Department of the 15th October,
1914, with regard to neutrality and contraband.

"Nevertheless different port authorities in the United States have
refused to supply the necessary fuel to merchant vessels in which
it might be carried to German ships of war on the high seas or in
other neutral ports. According to the principles of international
law already mentioned, there is no need for a neutral State to
prevent the transport of fuel in this way; such a State then ought
not to hold up merchant ships loaded in this way nor interfere with
their freedom of movement, once it has countenanced the supply
of contraband to the enemy. The only case in which it would be the
duty of such a nation to hamper the movements of these ships in
this one-sided fashion would be one in which such traffic might
be turning the ports into German naval bases. This might perhaps
have been the case if German coal depots had been situated at these
ports, or if the ships used them for a regular calling port on
their way to the German naval forces. It is, however, unnecessary
to urge that the occasional sailing of a merchant ship with coal
for German ships of war does not make a port into a base for German
naval enterprises out of keeping with neutrality.

"Our enemies are obtaining contraband of war from the United States,
in particular rifles, to the value of many milliards of marks; this
is within their rights. But toleration becomes serious injustice
if the United States refuses to allow the occasional provisioning of
our ships of war from her ports. This would mean unequal treatment
of the combatants and a recognized rule of neutrality would be
infringed to our disadvantages."

This memorandum played an important part in the subsequent negotiations,
because Mr. Flood, the president of the Committee for Foreign Affairs
of the American House of Representatives, interpreted it as amounting
to a German agreement to the supply of arms and ammunition to her

In view of the situation in the United States, it was to our interest
to leave the struggle for a prohibition of the munitions traffic to
our American friends. The efforts of Senator Stone in this direction
are well known, and have been recently quoted before the Commission of
the German National Assembly. If a considerable number of influential
Americans took up the case for the prohibition there was far more
hope of bringing it about than if it was apparent that the American
Government were surrendering to German pressure. The pacifist Mr.
Bryan was very sensitive on this point and visited me frequently
to assert his neutrality.

I therefore advised the Imperial Government in this matter not to
send an official Note for the moment, so that the American agitation
in favor of the prohibition of munition traffic might have full freedom
for development. As, however, our enemies continually harked back
to the idea that the Imperial Government did not take exception
to the supply of munitions, I was forced, as the result of continual
pressure from our American friends, to alter my attitude, and,
after receiving permission from Berlin, to hand to the Washington
Government on 4th April, 1915, a memorandum, of which I give the
most important part here.

"Further I should like to refer to the attitude of the United States
towards the question of the export of arms. The Imperial Government
is convinced that the Government of the United States agree with
them on this point, that questions of neutrality should be dealt
with not merely with regard to the strict letter, but the spirit
also must be taken into consideration, in which neutrality is carried

"The situation arising out of the present war cannot be compared
with that in any previous war. For this reason no reference to
supplies of arms from Germany in such wars is justified; for then
the question was not whether the combatants should be supplied
with material but which of the competing States should secure the

"In the present war all the nations which possess a war-industry of
any importance are either themselves involved in the war, or occupied
with completing their own armament, and therefore have prohibited
the export of war material. The United States are accordingly the
only neutral State in a position to supply war-material. The idea
of neutrality has, therefore, assumed a new significance, which
is quite independent of the strict letter of the laws that have
hitherto prevailed. On the other hand the United States are founding
a gigantic war industry in the broadest sense, and they are not
only working the existing plant but are straining every nerve to
develop it and to erect new factories. The international agreement
for the protection of the rights of neutrals certainly arose from
the necessity of protecting the existing branches of industry in
neutral countries as far as possible against an encroachment upon
their prerogatives. But it can in no way accord with the spirit of
honorable neutrality, if advantage is taken of such international
agreements to found a new industry in a neutral State, such as
appears in the development in the United States of an arms-industry,
the output of which can, in view of the existing situation, be
solely to the advantage of the combatant powers.

"This industry is at present only delivering its wares to the enemies
of Germany. The readiness, in theory, to do the same for Germany,
even if the transport were possible, does not alter the case. If
it is the desire of the American people to maintain an honorable
neutrality, the United States will find the means to stop this
one-sided traffic in arms, or at least to use it for the purpose
of protecting legitimate commerce with Germany, particularly in
respect of foodstuffs. This conception of neutrality should appeal
all the more to the United States in view of the fact that they
have allowed themselves to be influenced by the same standpoint
in their policy in regard to Mexico. On the 4th February, 1914,
President Wilson, according to a statement of a member of Congress
on 30th December, 1914, before the commission for foreign affairs
with regard to the withdrawal of the prohibition of the export of
arms to Mexico, said: 'We shall be observing true neutrality by
taking into consideration the accompanying circumstances of the
case.... He then took up the following point of view: 'Carranza, in
contrast to Huerta, has no ports at his disposal for the importation
of war-material, so in his case we are bound, as a State, to treat
Carranza and Huerta alike, if we are to be true to the real spirit
of neutrality and not mere paper neutrality.'

"This point of view, applied to the present case, indicates prohibition
of the export of arms."

Although during the war all Notes were at once made public, the
American Government were very annoyed at my publishing this memorandum,
which in any case would have met with no success. The agitation for
the prohibition of the export of arms and munitions was vigorously
pressed, and in spite of the "_Lusitania_ incident" never completely
subsided. But the American Government held to their point of view,
which they explained to me on the 21st April, as follows:

"In the third place, I note with sincere regret that, in discussing
the sale and exportation of arms by citizens of the United States
to the enemies of Germany, Your Excellency seems to be under the
impression that it was within the choice of the Government of the
United States, notwithstanding its professed neutrality and its
diligent efforts to maintain it in other particulars, to inhibit
this trade, and that its failure to do so manifested an unfair
attitude toward Germany. This Government holds, as I believe Your
Excellency is aware, and as it is constrained to hold in view of
the present indisputable doctrines of accepted international law,
that any change in its own laws of neutrality during the progress
of a war which would affect unequally the relations of the United
States with the nations at war would be an unjustifiable departure
from the principle of strict neutrality by which it has consistently
sought to direct its actions, and I respectfully submit that none
of the circumstances urged in Your Excellency's memorandum alters
the principle involved. The placing of an embargo on the trade
in arms at the present time would constitute such a change and
be a direct violation of the neutrality of the United States. It
will, I feel assured, be clear to Your Excellency that, holding
this view and considering itself in honor bound by it, it is out
of the question for this Government to consider such a course."

In the meantime, Colonel House returned from Europe without having
met with any success, but he had opened useful personal relations.
The Governments of all the combatant Powers then held the opinion
that the time had not yet come when they could welcome the mediation
of President Wilson. Colonel House, however, did not allow the
lack of success of his first mission to deter him from further
efforts, and remained to the last the keenest supporter of American
mediation. Since this journey Colonel House and I became on very
friendly and intimate terms, which should have helped to bring
about such a peace.



In the preceding chapter I mentioned that Dr. Dernburg's plan for
raising a loan in the United States had failed. Later the direction
of all our economic and financial affairs passed into the hands of
Geheimrat Albert. His original task was to organize in New York
extensive shipments of foodstuffs, particular wheat and fats, which
were to be exported through the New York office of the Hamburg-Amerika
line. This depended, in the first place, on the possibility of
raising the necessary funds, and in the second, on the possibility
that England, out of regard for the neutrals, and particularly the
United States, would be compelled to abide by the codified principles
of international law. Neither of these premises materialized.

As the necessary means for carrying through the scheme could not be
raised it might have been possible to finance it if the Government
had taken over the not inconsiderable funds of the German banks and
the great industrial enterprises, e.g., the chemical factories in
the United States, and used them for the shipments. The suggestions
we made to this effect were not answered until the end of August,
when we arrived in New York and had already lost many weeks in
trying to negotiate the loan. One organ, which immediately after
the war had taken up these questions on its own initiative, failed,
and so nothing was done in the whole wide sphere of credit, supply
of raw materials and foodstuffs and shipping until my arrival with
the other gentlemen, so that the most favorable opportunity was lost.
Remittances from Germany did not arrive until long afterwards, and
then only to a very modest extent. Consequently the whole economic
scheme was considerably narrowed and hampered from the beginning.

The second assumption, that the United States, in consideration
of her great commercial connections with Germany, would maintain
her rights as a neutral State to unrestricted sea trade within the
provisions of international law, proved to be unfounded. The United
States, at any rate according to the view of some very distinguished
Americans, as, for example, in the journal _New Republic_, violated
the spirit of neutrality when she allowed commerce of the neutrals
one with another to be strangled by England. To the interest in
traffic with the neutral States, and indirectly with Germany, was
opposed the interest in the still greater trade with our enemies,
to which was added, and indeed to a rapidly increasing extent,
the supply of war material. The United States did not realize the
extent of their economic power in respect of England, as the
inexperienced, newly-appointed Democratic Government had no statistics
to which to refer, and from a military point of view were defenceless
for want of an army or fleet. So England was able, slowly and
cautiously, but surely, to cut off the Central Powers from the
American market. In view of this state of things the important
thing was to pass all shipments off as neutral. The exporter had
to be an American or a subject of neutral Europe. The financing
had also to be European, at any rate outwardly. The destination
could only be a port in Holland, Scandinavia, Spain or--at that
time--Italy. Consequently it was not long before the consignments
could no longer be made through the New York representative of
the Hamburg-Amerika line, but were taken in hand by Herr Albert
himself, who merely availed himself of the professional advice
of the Hamburg-Amerika line.

All decisions therefore could emanate from the same source, which
prevented loss of time, especially as the financial responsibility
also rested with Herr Albert. The most important thing, however,
was that attention was distracted from the shipping, as for a long
time Herr Albert remained unknown, whereas the Hamburg-Amerika line
from the first was kept under the closest observation by England. On
the other hand, this arrangement exposed the cargoes to condemnation
by the English prize courts as they were now State-owned. But Herr
Albert could assume--and, as it turned out, rightly--that so long
as the English respected neutral property, it would be difficult
as a rule to trace the shipments back to him. Otherwise there would
have been no security for a German private undertaking.

In carrying out his task, Herr Albert at first shipped the purchased
goods by the usual lines (Scandinavia-American line). Soon, however,
difficulties arose, because these lines, in order to avoid being
held up in English ports, would no longer accept cargoes which
were intended, if possible, for Germany, so a special line was
formed sailing under the American flag. The direction of this line
was in the hands of an American firm who represented themselves
as the owners, whereas, in reality, the ships were chartered by
Herr Albert. As, at the beginning of the war, the American flag
was more respected by the English than those of the other neutrals,
a number of these ships got through without much delay. Later this
method of shipping also became impossible. Then single ships were
chartered--mostly under the American flag--and when the owners, from
fear of loss, refused the charter, or when outrageous conditions
made chartering impossible, they were bought outright. The ships
were consigned as blockade runners to a neutral port, and later
either made direct for Germany or were taken in by a German ship
of war. As the most important examples I may mention the _Eir,
Maumee, Winneconne, Duneyre, Andrew, Welch_ and _Prince Waldemar_.

With the tightening up of the English measures and blockade these
undertakings became increasingly difficult, and finally had to be
abandoned. Moreover the cost and the trouble of preparation grew
out of all proportion to the results. Every individual shipment
had to be prepared long beforehand. Out of ten attempts often only
one would succeed. Very often an attempt which had cost weeks of
work would fall through at the last moment owing to the refusal
of credit by the banks, particularly when the political position
was strained, or to an indiscretion, or English watchfulness, or
difficulties with the American port authorities.

The English surveillance had assumed dimensions that would not
have been possible without the tacit connivance, which at times
became active support, of the American authorities. Not only did
the English consuls demand that in each individual case the bills
of lading should be submitted to them, but in addition to this an
efficient surveillance and spy service was organized, partly by
American detective bureaus and partly by a separate and wide-reaching
service. The English had confidential agents in all the shipping
offices, whose services had for the most part been acquired by
bribery. At various times attempts were made to break into Herr
Albert's office, to learn the combination for opening his safe, to
get hold of papers through the charwomen and other employees, and
even to rob him personally of papers. The control of the American
port authorities was within the letter of the law, but in practice
it worked very unfavorably to us. The regulation was that ship
and cargo must be consigned to a definite port. This regulation
was drawn up purely for purposes of statistics, and consequently
no importance was attached to it before the war. As a rule the
bills of lading were filled in by subordinate employees of the
exporter. Soon after the outbreak of the war a special "neutrality
squad" was attached to the "Collector of the Port of New York"
whose duty it was to maintain strict neutrality by seeing that
the said laws were properly observed. This led, in cases where
there was a suspicion that the cargo was not intended for the given
port of destination, but for Germany, to an exhaustive inquiry. This
measure could not fail to act as a deterrent, and even Herr Albert
was seriously hampered in his enterprises. The whole system amounted
to a complement of the English blockade. When Herr Albert finally
succeeded in coming to an agreement with the Customs authorities in
this matter a great number of opportunities had been missed and
the shipments had been made practically impossible by the tightening
of the English blockade.

There was no question of entrusting the shipping to American exporters
who had had long experience of German trade. Herr Albert from the
first considered it advisable to interfere as little as possible
with the existing business relations between the two countries,
and he left it to the firms trading with Germany to carry through
their commissions as best they could. This method of supplying
Germany with food, however, completely failed. The fault also lies
partly with the importers in Germany. In these circles it was for a
long time hoped, but in vain, to obtain consignments from American
firms. Further, they clung too long to the business methods of peace,
demanded estimates, bargained about prices, and, most important of
all, did not realize that the risk to the exporter as a result of
the English blockade made special compensation or payment necessary.
In consequence the valuable time at the beginning of the war was
lost. Very soon, however, the American exporters withdrew completely,
because those who had had previous business relations with Germany
were known to the English, and so were suspected and finally placed
on the black list. A shipment by one of these firms would then at
once have been marked down as destined for Germany, and would have
run risk of capture. Herr Albert, therefore, made use of special
agencies. At first, in addition to employing Danish firms, he founded
several new American export companies. These new organizations
were of course only available for a short time, and, as soon as
they came under English suspicion and were consequently rendered
useless, had to be replaced by others.

The reproach that has been made from time to time that these enterprises
were confined to a small clique of confidential persons and firms
seems to be unjustified by the facts. The circumstances demanded the
closest possible secrecy, for otherwise the origin and destination
of the cargoes would have been discovered by the English secret
service before they left New York. This would have involved the
complete loss of the cargo as a result of the English embargo.
That firms already engaged, even though for a short time, in
German-American commerce could not be considered is obvious. Not only
were they known to the English, but in some cases their German names
already laid them open to suspicion. Accordingly, their occasional
requests that they should carry through enterprises of this nature
were consistently refused. This criticism is only made by a small
circle of German-American firms grouped round the German Union and
the so-called German-American Chamber of Commerce, and originated
in an anxiety, understandable but based on an inadequate knowledge
of the facts, to participate in the undertakings.

Although the export of raw material did not actually come within
the scope of Herr Albert's original commission, it often became
necessary, at special request or from the nature of the case, to
lend a helping hand in the export of raw material, particularly
wool and cotton. In this way, in the autumn of 1914, the American
steamer _Luckenbach_ was successfully run through direct to Germany
with several million pounds of wool on board. With regard to cotton,
Herr Albert, also in the autumn of 1914, by negotiations which he
carried on through me with the State Department and the Foreign
Trade Adviser, succeeded in obtaining English recognition that
cotton should not be regarded as contraband of war. Even after
this recognition, England made the export of cotton practically
impossible by intimidating the cotton exporters in every possible
way, among others by spreading the rumor that the ships would be
captured nevertheless, and by prohibiting English insurance companies
from underwriting such cargoes. Here Herr Albert intervened by
effecting the insurance through German insurance companies, and
proved by the loading and arming of cotton ships, e.g., the American
ship _Carolyn_, that the threat of capture was not to be taken
seriously but was simply an attempt at intimidation on the part
of the English. In this way, confidence was so far restored that
in the autumn of 1914 and the beginning of 1915 a large number
of other firms joined in the business. When, later, cotton was
made unconditional contraband of war, Herr Albert made attempts
to fit out blockade runners--which ended with the arrival at a
German port of the _Eir_ with 10,000 bales of cotton.

The various attempts to export copper, rubber and other raw materials
which were unconditional contraband, apart from the cases already
mentioned of wool and cotton, proved impossible, in spite of repeated,
extensive and very cautious preparation. A very ambitious scheme
of this kind with the S.S. _Atlantic_ had to be abandoned at the
last moment owing to difficulties with the port authorities.

All these enterprises, the purchase, sale and shipment of foodstuffs
and raw material, the chartering, buying and selling of ships, the
founding of shipping lines, new companies, etc., as well as the
financial business had their political as well as their purely
business side. They were either intended to serve as precedents in
the definite phases of development of international maritime law
or to exert influence on American public opinion from an economic
point of view.

When the result of these shipping enterprises is weighed after
the event, it will be seen that they did not play a decisive part
in the supply of Germany with foodstuffs and raw material. Germany
would during the first year of war have managed to get along even
without the few hundred thousand tons which in this way were brought
in via neutral countries. Nevertheless, in conjunction with the
imports from neutral countries, they several times served to relieve
the situation. Very important in this respect was the successful
struggle for the free import of cotton at the end of 1914 and the
beginning of 1915, quite apart from our own shipments. Without
this we should have come to an end of our supplies considerably

The question of war and marine insurance very soon called for particular
attention to the interests of our own shipping. The American insurance
market was dominated by the English companies. The latter not only
conducted about two-thirds of the whole insurance business of the
country, but also exerted a decisive influence on the American
companies. In addition to this, they held an authoritative position
as holding a share of the capital. England very soon gave instructions
that English insurance companies should not participate in any
business in which German interests were in any way involved.
Consequently in making shipments to neutral countries, we were
faced with great difficulties, for the power of the German insurance
companies and the few American companies that were independent of
England did not suffice.

The two most important German companies with branches in New York,
the _Norddeutsche Versicherungsgesellschaft_ and the _Mannheimer
Versicherungsgesellschaft_, which was excellently, actively, and
very loyally represented in New York by the firm F. Hermann & Co.,
at first offered an insurance limit of about 75,000 dollars, that
is 150,000 dollars together, which in any case was insufficient.
At first they had no authority to undertake war insurance.

The economic importance of the insurance question is obvious on the
face of it. No marine insurance was possible without war insurance.
In particular the American Government bureau for war insurance made
the covering of the marine insurance an essential condition. This
example was followed by all the American insurance companies. A
satisfactory settlement of the insurance--both war and marine--on
the other hand was a necessary condition for the financing of the
shipments. The shippers only obtained credit from the bank on handing
over the insurance policies. In addition to this it came about later
that the few American shipping lines which remained independent
of England, and so were on the black list, were no longer in a
position to cover the "Hull Insurance," i.e., the insurance of the
ship herself, and therefore the solution of the insurance question
became a necessary condition for obtaining freight space. Here
too, then, it was to our interest to come to the rescue, because
otherwise the lines in question would have been forced to come to
an understanding with the English firms, which would have placed
their tonnage at the service of our enemies.

To begin with, Herr Albert himself undertook the insurance in cases
of exceptional importance. It was at most a question of a small
balance, by the furnishing of which an immediate risk or a dangerous
delay in shipment was avoided. Our chief efforts were directed
towards raising the insurance limit of the German companies. As
a result a pool of German insurance companies was formed whose
limit for marine and war insurance was gradually raised more and
more. In this way it was possible to carry through a number of
shipments to European countries, to keep a not inconsiderable
tonnage--about 30,000 tons--out of the hands of the Allies, as well
as to enable a number of important German firms in South America
to carry on extensive trade between North and South America, and
so to maintain their business activity in spite of the measures
adopted by the English.

About our propaganda I have already spoken in detail in the second
chapter. It may be mentioned again here that the centre of gravity
of our active propaganda lay in the economic question, which was
to a certain extent the key to the understanding of our American
policy during the war.

Though the vast and rapid development of American export trade
through the trade in war material, and the change in position from
debtor to creditor, was only effected gradually, and the loss of
the German market at first made itself adversely felt both actively
and passively, the size of the contracts from the Allies and the
consequent profits at once acted like a narcotic on public opinion.
This was all the more the case as a result of the extraordinarily
skilful way in which the English handled the question. They always
proceeded cautiously and gradually. For instance, they at first
accepted the Declaration of London in principle, but made several
alterations which to the public, who did not realize the extent of
their effect, seemed unimportant and which yet formed the basis for
the gradual throwing overboard of the Declaration of London. After
public opinion had grown accustomed to the English encroachments and
the interests affected had been pacified by the Allied contracts,
the blockade was introduced after careful preparation in the Press;
it was not at first described as a blockade, but was gradually
and systematically tightened. Among other things, the export of
cotton to Germany was expressly agreed to at the end of 1914, but
was afterwards hampered in practice by various measures, as, for
example, the holding up of individual ships, and the refusal of
marine insurance, and finally brought to an end by the declaration
of cotton as unconditional contraband. It is characteristic that
the declaration of cotton as unconditional contraband was made
public on the very day on which the whole American Press was in
a state of great excitement over the _Arabic_ case, so that this
comparatively unimportant incident filled the front pages and leading
articles of the newspapers, while the extremely important economic
measure was published in a place where it would hardly be noticed.

We made vigorous efforts to oppose this English step. We got into
touch with the importers of German goods, who formed an association
and forwarded a protest to Washington. Without attracting attention,
we gave the association the assistance of a firm of solicitors,
whose services were at our disposal, as legal advisers. Relations
were entered into with the cotton interest, which, through the
political pressure of the Southern States, exerted great influence
on public opinion and in Congress. Various projects for buying
cotton on a large scale for Germany were considered, discussed
with the cotton interest and tested by small purchases. In the same
way negotiations were entered upon with the great meat companies,
the copper interest and others by systematic explanation and emphasis
of the interests with regard to the German market. The result, partly
for the reasons given, partly owing to the political development of
the general relations between Germany and the United States, was
small. This, however, can hardly be taken as an argument against
the expediency of the steps taken as at that time. No one could
foresee the later development of the war and particularly the length
of time it was going to last; whereas had the war been shorter
there is no doubt that these measures would have attained their

An important part of the economic propaganda was the institution of
the so-called "Issues," i.e., the attempt by carefully construing
individual incidents to make clear to public opinion the fundamental
injustice of the English encroachments and their far-reaching
consequences in practice. The most important case in this direction
is that of the _Wilhelmina_. According to the prevailing principles
of international law, foodstuffs were only conditional contraband.
They might be imported into Germany if they were intended for the
exclusive use of the civil population. As, however, England succeeded
in restraining the exporters from any attempt to consign foodstuffs
to Germany, especially as in view of the enormous supplies that
were being forwarded to our enemies they had little interest in
such shipment, the question never reached a clear issue. Herr Albert
therefore induced an American firm to ship foodstuffs for the civil
population of Germany on the American steamer _Wilhelmina_, bound
for Hamburg, by himself undertaking the whole risk from behind the
scenes. This was arranged in such a way as to preserve in appearance
the good faith of the American firm, and to make the shipment seem
purely American in the eyes of the American Government and the

The _Wilhelmina_ was taken by the English into Falmouth and detained
on the grounds that Hamburg was a fortified town, and that, according
to the measures adopted by Germany for supplying the civil population
with food--requisitioning, centralization of distribution, etc.--there
was no longer any distinction between the supply of the military
and the civil population. While the negotiations on this question
were still in the air, and seemed to be progressing favorably for
us, England resorted to a general blockade. Consequently the case
lost its interest, both practical and as a question of principle,
especially as England declared her readiness to pay for the goods
at Hamburg prices. As, on the other hand, insistence on the purely
theoretical claims would give rise to the danger that the English
or American secret service might in the end succeed in proving
the German origin of the undertaking, Herr Albert accepted the
proffered payment of the English Government, and received as
compensation a sum which covered all the expenses.

Such incidents could have been construed in several ways. One of
the most important, and also the most popular, was the shipment of
cotton to Germany for the civilian population between the autumn of
1915 and the middle of 1916. The declaration of cotton as absolute
contraband was at first only on paper, as no American exporters had
hitherto ventured to ship cotton. Consequently, detailed discussions
took place as to whether such an undertaking should be entered upon
in the full light of publicity. Great excitement among the cotton
growers proved the extremely keen and widespread interest. England
would have been forced to act on her declaration at a time when the
American Government could not afford to ignore the interests of the
cotton industry, with its influence on domestic politics. The full
effect of the meagreness of the crops, and on the other hand the
increase of consumption in the United States, and consequent rise
in price, was not yet realized by the public, nor even in cotton
circles. The cotton industry viewed with anxiety the increased
difficulty of finding a market, and were anxious for a reopening
of that of the Central Powers.

Certainly a shipment of cotton to Germany would only have been
justified in conjunction with comprehensive other measures, particularly
purchases on the American cotton market on German account. As a
result of detailed discussion with American interested parties,
who repeatedly urged us to such a step, we forwarded proposals
to Berlin on these lines. Their general purport was that about
a million bales of cotton should be bought outright on behalf of
Germany, and that in addition options should be secured on a further
million or two million bales on the understanding that the taking up
of the options should be dependent on the possibility of shipment
to Germany. On the strength of these measures the shipment of one
big consignment should have been undertaken. The plan had sound
prospects of success. In any case there would have been no risk
worth mentioning, as, to the initiated, there was no doubt as to
the rise of prices. In view of the new bank legislation (Federal
Reserve Act), no insuperable difficulties would have stood in the
way of financing the shipment. The indirect political pressure
on the American Government and public opinion, with its reaction
on England, would have been considerable.

Unfortunately the plan was frustrated by the taking up of the matter
in America direct from Germany, without regard to the shipment
difficulty, without going into the question of the options and
without knowledge of the political or economic situation. Bremen
actually placed a contract in New York for one million bales to be
delivered in Bremen at a fixed price. It was, however, clear from
the first to anyone acquainted with the circumstances that such a
step was bound to be futile. The whole thing turned on the question
of shipping. The American Press, again under English influence, at
once pointed the finger of scorn, saying that the contract was
not meant seriously, but was merely a piece of bluff for purposes
of German propaganda.

After this had brought about the collapse of the more ambitious
plan, the shipment of a single cargo still continued to be discussed
and detailed preparations were made. The idea had, however, to be
abandoned, because the difficulties of passing off the shipment as
a purely American enterprise were practically insuperable without
the background of great economic measures, which placed the cost
out of all proportion to the chances of success. The whole cost,
as in the "_Wilhelmina_ case" would have to be guaranteed from
Germany, and would of course have been lost if the English secret
service succeeded in establishing the German connection.

The propaganda for preventing and hampering the supply of war material
to our enemies turned at first on the question of principle whether
such supplies were reconcilable with neutrality. The attempt was
made--as has been briefly mentioned already--with the special support
of the German-American circles, to impress upon the American people
the immorality and essentially unneutral nature of the supplies,
especially in view of the vast scale they were assuming. It is
well known that these attempts, which extended to a strictly legal
exertion of influence on Congress, failed. The lack of unity and
limited political experience of the German-Americans contributed
to this result, but the economic interest of the nation in the
supplies, in which the whole American Administration and industry
were finally concerned, formed the decisive factor.

Attempts too were very soon made to hamper the supplies in a practical
way. In August, 1914, it might perhaps have been possible to buy up
the Bethlehem Steel Works, if the outlay of the necessary capital
had been promptly decided upon. At that time the Americans themselves
did not foresee what a gigantic proportion these supplies were
to assume. The purchase of these works would have deprived the
whole munition industry of its main support. Similar proposals have
repeatedly been worked out by us, as, for example, the proposal
to amalgamate the whole shrapnel industry of the United States.
The fear, well grounded in itself, that such an arrangement was
scarcely within the bounds of practical politics and could have
been got round, could be ignored. In case of disputes as to the
validity of such a step we should have gained more by the publicity
than we stood to lose. At that time, however, the Berlin Government
took up a negative attitude, and did not interest itself in the
question until the beginning of 1915, when the vast supplies of
material from America began to make themselves felt and the
concentration of German industry on the production of munitions
was not yet complete. The Military Attaché received instructions
to do everything possible to hamper the fulfilment of the great
outstanding French and Russian contracts for shrapnel, which was
at that time still the chief shell used by the Allies. This was
done successfully, if on a small scale, by founding an undertaking
of our own, called the Bridgeport Projectile Company, and entering
into contracts to establish the most important machinery for the
manufacture of powder and shrapnel. Through this company, which
originally passed as entirely American, the special machinery required
for the manufacture of shrapnel was bought on a scale which seriously
affected the American output, and in particular hindered the acceptance
and carrying through of further contracts from the Allies for a
considerable time. Herr Albert assisted and advised the Military
Attaché in making these contracts, arranged the financing of the
enterprise later on, and worked at its development after Herr von
Papen's departure.

Still more successful were the efforts to remove from the market
the surplus benzol, which is the raw product for the production
of picric acid. The benzol was bought up by a company specially
formed for the purpose, who sent it to a chemical works under German
management to be manufactured into salicylic preparations. These
products were sold for the most part for the American market, and
also, with the approval of the Ministry for War, exported to neutral
countries. The undertaking was eventually closed down after making
considerable profits for the Imperial Treasury. In the same way,
for some time, all the bromine coming on to the market, the products
of which were used to manufacture and increase the density of gas,
were bought up.

To these efforts to hamper and delay the supply of war material
belonged also the much-discussed agreement with the Bosch Magneto
Company, the American branch of the Stuttgart firm. The substance
of the arrangement was that this company, which was under German
direction, should not immediately refuse Allied contracts for fuses,
but should appear to accept them and delay their fulfilment, and, to
complete the deception, even occasionally deliver small quantities,
and finally, at the last moment, refuse to complete the contract. This
procedure was attacked at the time by a German-American journalist,
von Skal. On the strength of short notices which Herr von Skal
published in the German Press, in ignorance of the real state of
the case, public opinion in Germany turned against the parent firm,
the Bosch works in Stuttgart. The question then became the subject of
my reports, and was submitted to an inquiry by the home authorities
and the courts. I still hold to my opinion that the whole affair was
unnecessarily exaggerated by German public opinion, and that the
detailed investigation into its legality by the home authorities
and courts was unnecessary, as the managing director of the American
branch and the directors of the German company had acted in perfect
good faith in an attempt to advance the interests of the German
cause. It was merely a question of the result. If their policy
of procrastination had succeeded in delaying the contracts and
had kept our enemies for a considerable time from building their
own factory for fuses and aeroplane magnetoes, their action would
have been justified; in the contrary event it would have been vain,
but blameless from a moral and legal point of view. The fact that at
the beginning the English relied on the possibility of the production
and supply of such fuses from America, and only later gradually
came to a decision to build and fit out their own factories,
consequently under much more difficult circumstances, offered an
opening for this procedure. That difficulties were caused to the
enemy in this respect until quite recently is unmistakably shown
by the messages that reached America from England.

As a result of the extensive purchases of the Allies, there came
about a gradual change in the attitude of the American Government
to the question of issuing loans. At the end of March, 1915, we
succeeded, acting on instructions from Berlin, in raising a small
loan. It involved an unusual amount of trouble. The American financial
world was already completely dominated by the Morgan trust. This
domination resulted from the fact that the Allied commissions were
concentrated in English hands and were placed by England in the
hands of J. P. Morgan & Co., who acted as the agents of the English
Government. As these commissions finally included every sphere of
economic life, all the great American banks and bankers were called
upon, and so drawn into the Morgan circle. The result was that
no big firm could be induced to undertake a German loan. However,
several trust companies of repute, who already had or wished to
have business relations with Germany, declared their readiness
to become partners in a syndicate if we succeeded in finding a
"Syndicate Manager." A certain New York firm which afterwards made
a name for itself, but at that time was comparatively unknown, seemed
suited for this position. When all the preparations and preliminary
agreements had been carried through, the trust companies, under
the pressure of the Morgan influence, declared that their names
must not be associated with the syndicate. Meanwhile the matter
had gone so far that withdrawal would have meant a moral surrender
which would have been dangerous for our credit. Consequently, we
had to make up our minds to negotiate the loan under the signature
of this one firm, which was naturally undesirable for the general

Looking back, I am of the opinion that we should have done better not
to consider a loan in the United States, but to remit the necessary
funds from Berlin. This had to be done later to redeem the loan,
and at a time when the rate of exchange was much more unfavorable.
When the loan was raised we had certainly no idea that it would
have to be redeemed during the war, as we had reckoned on a shorter
duration of hostilities. On the other hand there is no truth in the
statement that this loan in some way cleared the way for further
Allied loans. These loans, which were the natural result of the
great supplies of material to the Allies, would have come in any
case. We did, however, deprive ourselves by this loan of an argument
to prove the defective neutrality of the United States.

In 1916 we succeeded in getting hold of some five millions in Treasury
notes without formal loan negotiations.

Another economic question which occupied my attention was connected
with the export of German dye-stuffs to the United States. In Berlin
it was held that German dye-stuffs should be withheld from the
United States as a lever for inducing them to protest against the
English blockade, and possibly have it raised. The same point of
view was adopted with regard to other goods which were necessities
for the United States, as, for example, potassic salt, sugar beetroot
seed and other commodities. A change of view did not occur until
the spring of 1916 at my suggestion. It is my belief that the
withholding of these goods proved a serious mistake. The political
aim of bringing pressure to bear on England with a view to the raising
of the blockade was not realized. The American industry partly got over
the difficulty by obtaining dye-stuffs in other ways--importation of
German dyes from China, where they had been systematically bought,
smuggling of German dyes via neutral countries, importation of Swiss
dyes, introduction of natural dyes and dye-substitutes--but more
especially by the foundation of a dye industry of their own. In the
case of potash, they had simply to do with what little they could
get; which was all the easier as the American manure manufacturers
and dealers had already in their own interests begun a systematic
propaganda to prove that potash was not indispensable, but could
be replaced by their own products. It might be observed as a
generalization that ultimately no individual product has proved
to be really indispensable. The result of holding back our exports
was therefore simply--apart from a quite unnecessary straining of
political relations, since England succeeded in diverting all the
odium on to us--a scarcity of important German commodities in the
United States and the substitution of their own production.

In negotiating the German loan, the chief difficulty was that grasping
speculators got hold of the market, discredited the war loan by
underbidding one another and in part by direct dishonorable dealing,
and also that owing to the impossibility of producing ready money,
interest in the war loan flagged. Early on I suggested the issue
of bills _ad interim_. The scheme, however, failed, because the
representative of the Deutsche Bank opposed it, and because the
natural opposition of two great institutions, who were making a
profitable business out of the sale of war loans and the speculations
on the value of the mark, which were closely connected with it, could
not be overcome. I am still of the opinion that with well-timed
organization the sum raised by the war loan could have been increased
by several millions.



Immediately after the outbreak of war, our cruisers in foreign
waters were cut off from their base of operations, and the German
Reservists in North and South America were prevented from returning
home owing to the British Command of the Sea. Measures to assist them
were therefore taken by the German Nationals and German Americans
in the United States, which although not in themselves aimed at the
Union, certainly transgressed its laws. Moreover during the year
1915 and succeeding years, several deeds of violence against the
enemies of Germany, or preparations for such deeds, were discovered,
involving more or less serious offences against the laws of America.
Both kinds of activity, comprised under the suggestive term "German
Conspiracies" or "German Plots against American Neutrality," were
skilfully used by our enemies to discredit us, and these agitations
did considerable harm to the German cause, besides being a serious
obstacle in the way of my policy.

Among the measures for assisting the German fleet may be mentioned,
in the first place, the case of the Hamburg-Amerika Line, which has
already been noticed. The New York branch, acting in accordance
with the instructions of their head offices in Hamburg, dispatched
about a dozen chartered vessels, laden with coal and provisions,
to the squadron of German cruisers and auxiliary cruisers then
on the high seas. This cargo was declared in the ships' clearing
papers to be consigned to ports beyond the area of open sea where
the German cruisers were known to be. When it came out later that
the New York branch of the Hamburg-Amerika Line had made use of
this device for coaling German men-of-war the chief officials were
brought up on the charge of deliberately making false declarations
in their clearing papers, and their chief, Dr. Bünz, a man of the
highest character, with three of his subordinates, was condemned,
in December, 1915, to eighteen months' imprisonment in the first

The severity of the penalty thus inflicted on a man so universally
respected, who had, during his long tenure of the office of
Consul-General in Chicago and New York, gained the warm affection
of many Americans, was regarded merely as a manifestation for the
benefit of the outside world of the American Government's intention
to preserve a strict neutrality. No one supposed that the aged Dr.
Bünz would really have to undergo his sentence, and as a matter
of fact he remained at liberty for some time even after America's
declaration of war. In the summer of 1917 a violent press-campaign
broke out against him, whereupon, despite his ill health he offered
of his own accord to serve his sentence and was removed to the
State prison at Atlanta, where he died in 1918. All honor to his

Considering that his offence was nothing more than a technical
violation of the letter of the American Customs regulations and
was actuated by no base motive, nor by hostility to the United
States, the punishment inflicted was excessively harsh. It was
pleaded on his behalf in the speech for the defence that America
during the war against Spain had acted in exactly the same way,
when ships were dispatched from the neutral harbor of Hong Kong
to coal Admiral Dewey's fleet before Manila and their cargo was
declared as being scrap-iron consigned to Macao. An indication of
the state of public opinion in the Eastern States of America at
the end of 1915 may be found in the fact that the heavy sentence
on this "German Conspirator" met with general approval apart from
a few emphatic protests on the part of the German-American papers.

A number of German Reserve officers domiciled in America succeeded,
despite the close watch maintained by England on the seas, in effecting
their return to the Fatherland, thanks to a secret bureau in New
York, organized by German-Americans, which provided them with false
or forged American passports. This bureau was closed by the American
police consequent on the discovery in January, 1915, of four German
Reservists, with such papers in their possession, on board a Norwegian
ship in New York harbor. The organizer had apparently fled from
New York some time before, but finally fell into the hands of the
British, and was drowned in a torpedoed transport. The Reservists
were discharged on payment of heavy fines. One, however, was sentenced
to three years' penal servitude. In estimating this affair, it
must be remembered that according to the recognized conventions
of international law, British men-of-war were not justified in
making prisoners of individual unarmed Germans returning to their
homes in neutral vessels. The American Government itself explicitly
affirmed as much when a ship flying the Stars and Stripes was held
up in mid-ocean for examination. As a rule, however, neutral Powers
were too weak to stand up for their rights against British violations
of international law, and so all Germans who were discovered by the
British on their homeward voyage were made prisoners of war. Our
countrymen, therefore, if they wished to do their duty by going to the
defence of their Fatherland, were compelled, in face of this flagrant
violation of the Law of Nations, to provide themselves with false
passports. They had thus to choose between two conflicting duties,
a dilemma all too common in life and one which the individual must
solve according to his lights. The bearers of such false passports
certainly risked heavy penalties, but shrank still more from incurring
any suspicion of skulking or cowardice.

It would seem, moreover, that there is little to choose, from the
moral point of view, between their "sailing under false flags,"
for the purpose of evading the British guardians of the sea, and
the hoisting of neutral ensigns by British ships to escape from
German submarines.

There can, at all events, be no question of a "German conspiracy"
in these cases of forged passports as I had officially announced on
behalf of the German Government, that under the circumstances no one
who remained in America would, on his arrival in Germany, be punished
for not answering the call to the Colors. I can repudiate in the
most express terms any personal responsibility for the activities
of the above-mentioned secret bureau in New York, although attempts
have been made to connect my name with it on the sole ground of a
letter, said to have been written to me by von Wedell before his
departure, which was, as a matter of fact, first made known to me
by its publication in the Press. It is true that this gentleman,
a New York barrister before the war, was a personal acquaintance of
mine; he had, however, immediately after the outbreak of hostilities,
hastened back to Germany to join his own regiment, and later returned
secretly to America, presumably under orders from his superiors,
only to disappear again with equal secrecy after a short stay. I
had never even heard the name of Rueroede before his arrest, but
in view of his denial that any personal profit accrued to him from
his services in providing his fellow-countrymen with documents for
the purpose of facilitating their escape from British vigilance,
I much regret the severity of the penalty inflicted on him.

If the cases of the Hamburg-Amerika Line and the falsification
of the passports damaged the German cause in America, this was
still more true of the acts of violence planned or carried out
by Germans or German-Americans against individuals known to be
hostile to our cause. The few authentic cases of this sort of thing
were, as every impartial person must recognize, engineered by a
few patriotic but foolish hotheads; the more sober and responsible
German elements in the United States were certainly no party to

To the list of these outrages, the enemies of Germany deliberately
added others which probably had no foundation in fact. Thus, for
every accident which occurred in any American munition factory--and
many accidents were bound to happen in the new works which had
sprung up like mushrooms all over the land, and were staffed with
absolutely untrained personnel--"German agents" were regularly
held responsible, and the anti-German Press, particularly the
_Providence Journal_, announced these accidents as "a clear
manifestation of the notorious German system of frightfulness."
Worse still, these papers instilled into their readers the firm
conviction that these crimes were an essential part of German
propaganda, and in their cartoons represented the German, more
particularly the German-American, as a bearded anarchist with a
bomb ready in his hand.

I myself was frequently libelled in this manner by the "Yellow
Press," and represented both by pen and pencil as the ringleader
and instigator of the so-called "conspiracies"; this accusation,
at first tentative, later grew increasingly clear and unmistakable.
The campaign of calumny in which even the more respectable Press
took its share, was, however, directed more particularly against
the Military Attaché, Captain von Papen, and the Naval Attaché,
Captain Boy-Ed, whose names were openly coupled with some of the
crimes which came before the American Courts of Justice. Both these
officers finally fell victims to this agitation, and had to be
recalled from America in December, 1915, in accordance with a request
from the United States Government. At the same time, in the annual
Presidential message to Congress, statutory measures were laid
down against Americans implicated in these conspiracies, or, as
the phrase ran, against all those "contriving schemes for the
destruction of the independence, and implicated in plots against
the neutrality, of the Government." Not until the declaration of war
against Germany, on April 2nd, 1917, did President Wilson venture
openly to accuse the official German representatives in America
of complicity in these designs, in the following words: "It is
unhappily not a matter of conjecture but a fact proved in our courts
of justice, that the intrigues which have more than once come perilously
near to disturbing the peace and dislocating the industries of the
country have been carried on at the instigation, with the support,
and even under the personal direction of official agents of the
Imperial Government accredited to the Government of the United
States." Since then my own name has been mentioned as the supreme
head of the German "Conspiracy" in America, in the innumerable
propaganda pamphlets with which the official "Committee of Public
Information" has flooded America and Europe. And I have been openly
accused of having instigated and furthered, or at the very least
been privy to, all manner of criminal activities. In interviews with
American journalists I have more than once refuted these calumnies,
which can be supported by no evidence, and were solely intended
to arouse popular feeling against Germany; but I must now refer
again to the more definite of these accusations.

It must be left to the impartial historian of the future to establish
the full truth concerning the German conspiracies in the United
States; any evidence given under the influence of the passions
arising out of the war can, of course, possess only a limited value.
It is obvious from the proceedings concerning the constitution of
the Senate Committee that much of the evidence was prejudiced and
unreliable, probably because it was based solely on information
given by Germans or former Germans, whose identities were kept
strictly secret, and who told deliberate lies, either because,
like Judas, they had received a reward for their treachery, or
because, having severed all ties with their old country, they wished
to secure their footing in the new.

In any case I myself was never a partner to any proceedings which
contravened the laws of the United States. I never instigated such
proceedings, nor did I consciously afford their authors assistance,
whether financially or otherwise. I was in no single instance privy
to any illegal acts, or to any preparations for such acts. Indeed,
as a rule I heard of them first through the papers, and even then
scarcely believed in the very existence of most of the conspiracies
for which I was afterwards held accountable. I shall hardly be
blamed for this by anyone who remembered the number of projects
which we were all duly accused of entertaining, such as the various
alleged plans for the invasion of Canada with a force recruited
from the German-American rifle clubs, and many another wild-cat
scheme attributed to us in the first months of the war.

Such offences against the laws of America as were actually committed
were certainly reprobated by none more sincerely than by myself,
if only because nothing could be imagined more certain to militate
against my policy, as I have here described it, than these outrages
and the popular indignation aroused by them. I fully realized that
these individual acts, in defiance of the law of the land and the
resulting spread of Germanophobia, were bound to damage me in the
eyes of the United States Government and public opinion. It is
thus obviously absurd to accuse me of being responsible in any
way for the acts in question, seeing that any such instigation,
or even approval on my part, would have involved the utter ruin
of my own policy!

Another accusation against my conduct while in America is that
I at all events connived at the commission of crimes under the
direction of officers attached to the Embassy of which I was in
charge, or of other German Secret Service agents. The evidence
for this consists of certain cipher telegrams from the military
authorities in Germany, addressed to the Embassy in Washington;
these were decoded in England and said to contain instructions
for outrages to be committed in Canadian territory. I cannot say
if these messages were genuine or no. Military cipher telegrams,
formally addressed to the military attaché, were frequently received
at the Embassy, but were always sent forward at once by the registry
to Captain von Papen's office in New York, as a matter of routine,
and without being referred to me in any way. Von Papen certainly
never told me a word about any instructions from his superiors
that he should endeavor to foment disorders as alleged. For the
present, then, I consider that there is insufficient evidence for
his having received any such orders; but in all these matters I can,
of course, speak only for myself, military matters being entirely
out of my province. Soon after von Papen's recall I entered a protest
against the sending of a successor, as there was no longer any
useful purpose to be served by the employment of a Military Attaché,
whose presence would only serve as a pretext for a renewed hostile
agitation against us.

Whether the illegal acts of the Secret Agents sent to the United
States by the military authorities were committed in accordance
with their orders or on their own initiative I had no means of
knowing at the time, nor have I been able to discover since my
return home. I may observe, however, that I more than once urgently
requested the Foreign Office to use all their influence against
the dispatch of Secret Service men to America. Moreover, I had
published in the Press a notice, couched in strong terms and signed
by myself, warning all Germans domiciled in the United States not to
involve themselves in any illegal activities under any circumstances
whatever. And I think I am justified in saying that twelve months
before the severance of diplomatic relations, I had made a clean
sweep of all "conspiracies" and extorted a promise that no more
"agents" should be sent over from Germany. On my arrival home,
I was held by some to have been at fault for not having put down
the movement earlier; to which my reply must be that as a matter
of fact it was the cases of Rintelen and Fay that first earned
us the reputation of "conspirators"; all the rest came to light
later, and were in great measure connected with their machinations.
I took steps, as soon as I heard of these two affairs, to avoid
any repetition of them, in which effort I was successful.

The following throws some light on the attitude of the United States
Government towards me in the matter of the "conspiracies." When
in November, 1915, the Press campaign had reached the height of
its violence, I forwarded a Note to Mr. Lansing, the Secretary
of State, protesting strongly against the unjustifiable attacks
aimed at myself and my colleagues of the Embassy and requesting
that some effort should be made to suppress them, as follows:

  "Washington, Nov. 16, 1915.

"The continuance of the baseless attacks on myself and the colleagues
of my Embassy in the columns of the _Providence Journal_ impels
me to ask whether your Excellency cannot see your way to make it
clear that these attacks are not countenanced by the American
Government. Such slanders against the representatives of a friendly
Power who have a right to claim the protection and hospitality
of the United States authorities would be incomprehensible, were
it not a matter of common knowledge that the _Providence Journal_
is a 'hyphenated' Anglo-American paper. To borrow the phrase of
the United States President, this journal is obviously a greater
friend of other countries than its own.

"For the last fifteen months I and all my colleagues have had,
if I may say so, a whole army of American private detectives on
our track. Day and night they have pursued us in the service of
our enemies. Yet, although official German documents have been
stolen, no one has yet succeeded in producing a single proof of
illegal activities on the part of anyone of us.

"I should esteem it a great favor if your Excellency could see your
way to secure this Embassy against a repetition of these baseless
attacks, which have as their sole foundation the pre-supposition
of conspiracies which have no existence in fact."

I never received any reply to this letter, but a short time after
Mr. Lansing while informing me that the American Government felt
itself compelled to ask for the recall of Captains Boy-Ed and von
Papen, as being no longer acceptable to them (this affair I propose
to refer to again in another place), stated in the most explicit
terms that I was in no way implicated in the matter. The fact that
the American Government, even after the departure of the two attachés,
maintained the same intimate relations with me throughout the fourteen
months which elapsed before its diplomatic representatives were
recalled from Germany, proves that this was no empty compliment
but was meant in all sincerity.

I feel myself compelled to insist on these facts, in view of the
efforts subsequently made to represent me as the originator or
leader of the famous "conspiracies," which were later immeasurably
exaggerated by American propaganda. This propaganda has poisoned
the mind of the average American citizen to such an extent that he
firmly believes the German Embassy to have been a nest of anarchists,
who even during the period of his country's neutrality "waged war"
in the most dastardly manner against her.

And yet these stories of so-called conspiracies, with their legions
of conspirators, and resulting lengthy lists of German outrages
in America, will not bear serious examination.

Irrefutable evidence on the subject can be found in the official
report of the Senate Committee of Inquiry into the activities of
German propaganda, which has already been mentioned more than once.
After the depositions of Mr. Bruce Bielaski on this subject had gone
on for two days, Senator Nelson, being tired of this dry recital--he
had already expressed the opinion that most of the evidence given
so far was too academic--asked this officer of the Department of
Justice for a report on the German attempts "to foment strikes
and cause explosions in munition factories" which he apparently
considered to be an integral part of German propaganda. Mr. Bielaski
then referred to the "more important cases of offences against
the law, which had been fathered by the German Government." He
prefaced his statement with the remark that the list he was about
to give was complete in every way; twenty-four cases were dealt with,
and the names of the incriminated individuals given, as reproduced

1. Falsification of passports (von Wedell, Rueroede).

2. Destruction of a bridge in Canada (Horn).

3. Falsification of passports (Stegler, Madden, Cook).

4. Falsification of passports (Lüderitz).

5. Attempted destruction of a canal in Canada (von der Goltz, Tauscher,

6. Falsification of passports (Sanders, Wunmerburg, and two

7. Supplying of coal, etc., to German men-of-war at sea (Bunz, Koeter,
Hofmeister, Poppinghaus).

8. Attempt to bring about a revolution in India (Bopp, von Schack,
von Brinken, Ram Chandra, and twenty-five accomplices).

9. Attempt to blow up a railway tunnel in Canada (Bopp and three

10. Attempted destruction of munition factories and railway bridges
in Canada (Kaltschmidt, and five accomplices).

11. Plot to destroy Allied munition ships by infernal machines (Fay,
Scholtz, Dächer and three accomplices).

12. Plot to destroy Allied munition ships by incendiary bombs (Scheele,
von Kleist, Wolpart, Bode).

13. Attempt to foment strikes in factories engaged in the making
of war materials (Rintelen, Lamar, Martin).

14. Attempt to foment strikes among the dockers (no convictions).

15. Sending of spies to Canada (König).

16. Perjury in the matter of the arming of the _Lusitania_ (Stahl).

17. Attempt to smuggle rubber to Germany (Jaeger and five accomplices).

18. Attempt to smuggle ashore chronometer of an interned German
ship (Thierichens).

19. Attempt to smuggle nickel to Germany (Olsen and two accomplices).

20. Attempt to smuggle rubber to Germany (Newmann and accomplices).

21. Sinking of a German ship at the entrance of an American harbor
(Captain and crew of the _Liebenfels_).

22. Attempt to smuggle rubber to Germany (Soloman and accomplices).

23. Falsification of passports (Rintelen and Meloy).

24. Plan to destroy Allied army horses by means of bacteria (Sternberg).

The above is the substance of the evidence given by Bielaski. I
have no wish to extenuate, in the slightest degree, the few serious
offences against common law included in this list, but I imagine
that the unprejudiced reader will not fail to observe that Mr.
Bielaski found it necessary to rake up everything possible in order
to be able to present the Committee with a respectable catalogue of
crimes instigated by the German Government in the United States.
Apparently his only object was to produce a list of imposing length,
and for this purpose he included in it cases in which it would
be difficult for even the most suspicious mind to discover the
hand of the German Government. Moreover even he himself did not
venture directly to assert the complicity of the representatives
of the German Empire in any single one of these offences. In reply
to Senator Overman, who asked if Captains von Papen and Boy-Ed were
held to be implicated in all these illegal acts, Mr. Bielaski gave
the following evasive answer: "The most important, and most serious
of these illegal acts, were, generally speaking, inspired, financed
and conducted by one or other of the accredited representatives
of Germany." Officials or agents in the service of Germany were,
however, mentioned by name as leaders or accomplices only in the
first fourteen and the two last cases, and I may be allowed to
emphasize the fact that by the admission of Mr. Bielaski himself,
my own name was coupled only with the agitation for a revolution in
India, which was supposed to be a part of Germany's designs. Even
if we take Mr. Bielaski's unconfirmed evidence as being reliable,
the total number of individuals convicted on these charges in the
American Courts of Justice amounts only to sixty-seven, of whom
apparently only sixteen were German nationals; and their offences
fall under the following heads: the case of the Hamburg-Amerika Line
and the five cases of falsification of passports already mentioned:
the so-called Indian plot: one case of successful and three of
attempted sabotage in Canada: and finally the cases numbered ten
to fourteen and twenty-four in Bielaski's list of the illegal acts
planned by the agents Rintelen, Fay and Sternberg.

I propose to go into the details of these cases later. What I am
now concerned to establish is that the list in question is from
one point of view more interesting for what it omits than for what
it includes.

In the first place one may notice the absence of the accusation
previously made against us more than once, that we had plotted
to embroil the United States in war with Mexico and Japan; from
the fact that Mr. Bielaski made no mention of this in his evidence
before the Senate Committee it must be supposed that these ridiculous
stories with which American public opinion had been at one time
so assiduously spoon-fed were finally exploded.

As a matter of fact, during my service in Washington, nothing was
further from my thoughts than to conspire with Mexican Generals,
as any such action would have seriously interfered with my chosen
policy. As concerning Japan I may, incidentally, remark that Mr.
Hale, when he was acting in collaboration with us in propaganda
work, particularly stipulated that we should not undertake anything
which might inflame the existing antagonism between America and
Japan--a condition which Dr. Dernburg accepted without hesitation,
since both he and his assistant Dr. Fuehr, who knew Japan well,
were decidedly opposed to any such agitation.

In order to avoid misunderstanding, I wish expressly to state that I
do not deny that instructions were sent by Zimmermann, the Secretary
of State, to our Embassy in Mexico, which envisaged co-operation with
that country against the United States as well as an understanding
with Japan, but must point out that this was recommended in the
event--_and only in the event_--of the United States declaring
war on us.

I shall return to these instructions later, only remarking here
that it was my duty to pass them on to von Eckhardt.

It should further be noted that the design, frequently imputed
to us in earlier days, of endeavoring to stir up a negro rising
in the United States was also omitted from Mr. Bielaski's list.
To the request of a Senator of a Southern State for his opinion
on this point, he replied without hesitation that no efforts in
this direction had been made by any of the official representatives
of Germany.

It is noteworthy, moreover, that this agent of the Department of
Justice, who had heretofore consistently held us guilty of promoting
strikes in munition factories and sabotage of all kinds, failed
to follow up his charges. I must admit that, in view of what had
already appeared in the Press on the subject of German "conspiracies,"
I had expected that definite proceedings would be taken on this
charge, if they were taken at all; and apparently the members of
the Senate Committee were also of this opinion, for one of them
expressly asked Mr. Bielaski if he had any evidence to produce
on the subject. His reply was: "I know very little, if anything,
of that; I don't think that during our neutrality there were any
instances of criminal activities of that kind."

Again, the Bureau for the Employment of German Workers, which was
likewise at one time proclaimed as a device or cloak for a dangerous
"German Conspiracy," was not mentioned in Bielaski's catalogue,
which conclusively proves that this calumny had been allowed to
drop. The office in question, which was known as the Lübau Bureau
from the name of its chief, was started by Captain von Papen with
the assistance of the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, after Dr. Dumba
and I had pointed out clearly to our fellow-countrymen working in
the American munition factories that any of them who took part in
the manufacture of arms or supplies for our enemies would render
themselves liable to be tried for high treason in their native
land. After this it was the bounden duty of both Embassies to find
employment for all those who voluntarily resigned from the factories
working for the Entente; and from first to last this office, which
had branches in Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and
provided about 4,500 men with fresh employment of an unobjectionable
nature, was never guilty of any illegal act.

My open reference to the German law of high treason, however, was
much criticized by the greater part of the American Press, which
stigmatized it as an attempt "to introduce the German criminal
code into America," and as an infringement of the sovereignty of
the United States. Such criticism appears somewhat unwarranted in
view of the wide application given to the law of treason by the
Americans themselves shortly afterwards.

After this digression on the subject of the conspiracies which
had been previously imputed to us, but were now dropped out of
Bielaski's list, I propose to return to the instances of illegal
action which were definitely laid to our charge.

The first of these is the action of Werner Horn, a retired German
officer, which gained us for the first time the opprobrious epithet
of "dynamiters." Horn, of whose presence in America I was not aware
until the story of his crime appeared in the papers, contrived
in February, 1915, to blow up a railway bridge near Vaneboro, in
the territory of Canada, on the line running through the State
of Maine to Halifax. Apparently he believed, as did many other
people, that this railway was being utilized for the transport
of Canadian troops. As the act was quite senseless, and could at
worst only have held up traffic for a few hours, Captain von Papen
saw no objection to advancing to Horn, who was without means, a
sum sufficient to pay the fees of his defending counsel. To the
best of my knowledge Horn was simply kept under observation for
some time, and it was only after America's entry into the war that
he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a breach of the
regulations with regard to the transport of explosives (he had
apparently carried his dynamite with him in a hand-bag).

Of the three attempts at sabotage in Canada the Welland Canal affair
caused at the time the greatest sensation in New York. The Welland
Canal connects Lake Ontario with Lake Erie, west of Niagara Falls,
i.e., through Canadian territory, and it is a highway for all seaborne
traffic on the great lakes, and particularly for the transport
of corn to the coast. It was therefore considered advantageous
from a military point of view to attempt the destruction of the
canal. This had apparently already been projected in September
by a German adventurer, calling himself Horst von der Goltz, but
for some unexplained reason the idea had been abandoned at the
last moment.

Captain Hans Tauscher, Krupps' representative in New York, was
charged in 1916 with having supplied dynamite for this scheme,
but was acquitted on his calling evidence to prove that he had no
knowledge of the use which was to be made of the explosive.

The first information that I had about the attempt on the Welland
Canal was the report of the proceedings against Captain Tauscher.
Even to-day the full truth of the matter has not yet come to light.
The leading figure of the drama, von der Goltz, while on his way
to Germany in October, 1914, fell into the hands of the British.
When Captain von Papen returned to Germany in December, 1915, under
safe conduct of Great Britain, his papers were taken from him at
a Scottish port; among them was his American check book, and an
examination of this led to the identification of von der Goltz
as the individual who had planned the destruction of the Welland
Canal. The latter, it would seem, was thereupon offered, by the
English authorities, the alternatives of being shot or of returning
to America under a guarantee of personal safety, and giving evidence
against Germany in open court. He chose the latter course, and turned
"State's evidence" in New York, where he was kept under constant
supervision. His statements, however, in view of the pressure brought
to bear upon him, and of his doubtful past, can only be regarded
as of somewhat doubtful value.

During the whole course of my period of office in the United States
I heard nothing about the case of Albert Kaltschmidt, the German
resident in Detroit who after America's declaration of war, was
arrested on a charge of conspiring--apparently some time in 1915--to
blow up a munition factory, an arsenal and a railway bridge in Canada,
and sentenced in December, 1917, to penal servitude, together with
four of his confederates, and the statements made in the American
Press which fastened upon me the responsibility for the deeds of
violence then simmering in the brain of this individual, on the
ground that, in October, 1915, he had received a considerable advance
from a banking account opened in my name and that of Privy Councillor
Albert, I most emphatically deny. Kaltschmidt, who was a well-known
business man had acted on behalf of Albert and von Papen in several
negotiations, with the object of forestalling the Entente's agents
in the purchase of important war material, and had consequently
been in receipt of considerable sums of money for this purpose,
both from von Papen and from the general funds of the Embassy.
This had, of course, earned him the undying hatred of the outwitted
agents of our enemies, and he had also, in company with his sister
and brother-in-law (both of whom were later convicted of complicity
in his designs), got himself disliked for the prominent part he
played in the agitation for an embargo on the export of arms and
munitions of war. It seems quite possible that the charges against
him were the work of private enemies, and that the American Criminal
Court, which condemned him, was hoodwinked by the schemings of certain
Canadians; the fact that these criminal designs on Kaltschmidt's part
only came to light after the United States had become a belligerent
adds probability to the supposition. One thing, however, is certain,
that even if the alleged plot on the part of Kaltschmidt and his
relations had any real existence, the initiative was theirs alone,
and cannot be laid at the door of the Embassy.

The affair of Bopp, the German Consul-General at San Francisco, was
also one which aroused much feeling against Germany. This gentleman
had already, as early as 1915, been accused of having delayed or
destroyed certain cargoes of military material for Russia, with
the aid of certain abettors; his subordinates, von Schack, the
Vice-Consul, and von Brinken, the Attaché, were also believed to
be implicated. In the following year he was further charged with
having incited one Louis J. Smith to blow up a tunnel on the Canadian
Pacific Railway, with the idea of destroying supplies on their way
to Russia. All three officials were therefore brought to trial,
but dismissed with a caution. However, at the end of 1916, he and
his two subordinates were again brought up on a serious charge and
sentenced on the testimony of their chief lieutenant, Smith, who
turned State's evidence[*] against them, to a term of imprisonment.

[Footnote *: For the benefit of the reader not familiar with American
legal procedure, it should be explained that in cases where several
individuals are charged in common with an offence, any one of them
may be assured of a pardon if he turns State's evidence and informs
against his associates. This course of action, reprehensible as
it undoubtedly is, from a moral point of view, has the advantage
of facilitating the task of police spies!]

All three resigned from their posts and lodged an appeal, but were
again found guilty in the second instance, after America had entered
the war. Consul-General Bopp and his colleagues if they had in
reality committed the offences of which they were accused, were
certainly actuated in no way by the Embassy or any high authorities,
but must be held solely and entirely responsible for the course
they adopted. In his reports to me, Bopp invariably asserted his
innocence, and I am rather inclined to believe that he really fell
into one of the traps which the Allied Secret Service were always
setting for our officials in America.

According to common report, Consul-General Bopp, Schack and von
Brinken later underwent yet a further term of imprisonment for
their complicity in the so-called Indian conspiracy. I am quite
certain that nothing was ever heard of this affair until after
the American declaration of war; then, however, newspaper reports
were shown me, the effect that in the year of 1916 an attempt had
been made by the Indian Nationalists in San Francisco, with German
co-operation, to bring about an armed rising in British India--an
absolute "wild-goose chase," which, of course, came to nothing. It
was asserted in this connection that a cargo of arms and ammunition
on board the small schooner _Annie Larsen_, and destined for our
forces in German East Africa, was, in reality, dispatched to India
via Java and Siam; but no proofs were brought forward in support
of this statement. In connection with this design, four persons
were sentenced at Chicago, in October, 1917, and ten (according to
Bielaski twenty-nine in all) at San Francisco, in August, 1918, to
long terms of imprisonment, for having "illegally conspired in the
United States to make war against the territories and possessions
of His Majesty the King of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of
India." It seems that this affair was exploited with great success
by the American propaganda service to inflame the minds of its
people against Germany. As a matter of fact, I cannot too strongly
condemn on principle all military enterprises undertaken from neutral
territory; but, from the purely moral point of view, I cannot but
remark that it ill befits America to give vent to righteous indignation
over such activities, considering the facilities she afforded to
Czechs and Poles, during her period of neutrality, for supporting
to the utmost of their power their blood brothers in their designs
against the Central Powers. Besides, even if it be admitted that the
schooner in question was actually sent by the Indian Nationalists
with her cargo of arms, it is absurd to regard the dispatch of
this small supply of war material as a crime, and gloss over the
fact that whole arsenals and ammunition columns were being shipped
every day to France!

I now propose, in conclusion, to deal with the illegal activities
attributed by American opinion to the secret agents controlled by
the German military authorities, and sent by them to the United

As regards the machinations of Franz Rintelen, my first information
about him reached me in the late autumn of 1915, and even now I have
to rely for most of the details on the American papers. Rintelen,
who was a banker by profession, and during the war held a commission
as Captain-Lieutenant in the Imperial Naval Reserve, appeared in
America in April, 1915, and presented himself to me during one of
my periodical visits to New York. He declined at the time to give
any information as to his official position in the country, or the
nature of his duties; I therefore wired to the Foreign Office for
some details about him, but received no reply. Some time afterwards
he applied to me for proofs of identity, which I refused to grant
him, and as his continued presence in New York was considered
undesirable by both von Pap en and Boy-Ed, they took steps to have
him sent back to Germany. He was captured, however, by the British,
on his voyage home. Shortly after this, the affair of Rintelen
became a matter of common talk, and the first indications of his
mysterious intrigues for the purpose of interfering with the delivery
of munitions from the United States to the Allies appeared in the
Press; the Foreign Office thereupon instructed me to issue an official
_démenti_ on the subject. Mr. Lansing, the Secretary of State,
however, informed me that, as a matter of fact, Rintelen, while
in England, had confessed himself to be an emissary of the German
Government. I then heard from Captain Boy-Ed that Rintelen, by
representing himself as empowered to purchase large stocks of raw
material for Germany in the United States, had obtained a considerable
advance from the Embassy's funds. This fact was one of the main
reasons for the American Government's request in December, 1915,
that Boy-Ed should be recalled. I was never able either in America
or Germany to discover the details of Rintelen's intrigues; he
himself never allowed anything to leak out about it at the Embassy,
and was unable to send any report on the subject to Germany, as
he was handed over to the United States by the British after the
American declaration of war and sentenced to some years' penal
servitude. The current story in the United States is that he was
proved to have been in touch with the Mexican General Huerta with
the object of bringing about war between the two Republics--an
offence of which the famous list of Mr. Bielaski makes no mention.
Further, he was supposed to have founded, in conjunction with a
member of Congress, and two individuals of evil reputation, a society
of workmen in Chicago, With the object of obtaining from Congress
an embargo on the export of arms--an undertaking which according
to the aforementioned report cost a great deal and proved entirely
valueless from the point of view of the German Government. It is not
known whether this undertaking brought Rintelen and his assistants
within the reach of the Sherman Act against conspiracies inciting
industrial disorders, or whether he had, in addition, made efforts
to bring about strikes in munition works. He was certainly suspected
of endeavoring to cause trouble among the dockers of New York, in
the hope of preventing or delaying the shipment of war material to
the Allies; but even Bielaski admitted before the Senate Committee
that there was no tangible evidence of this.

As a matter of fact, the real grounds of Rintelen's conviction were
apparently that he had prepared, through the agency of a certain
German chemist, domiciled in America, named Scheele, a number of
incendiary bombs, which were apparently to be secreted by three
officers of the German Mercantile Marine on board Allied munition
ships, with the object of causing fires on the voyage. After America's
entry into the war, Rintelen and his accomplices were sentenced
on this count to fairly lengthy terms of imprisonment, and these
sentences they are serving at the present moment in the Federal
prison at Atlanta.

I have been unable to discover how far Rintelen was actually guilty
of the offences imputed to him; but I can only observe that he,
and, in so far as he acted under orders, his superiors, gravely
compromised the position of the German official representatives in
the United States, and afforded our enemies an excellent opportunity
of inflaming public opinion against Germany. It is impossible to
over-estimate the unfortunate effect produced throughout the world
by the discovery of bombs on board a German passenger-steamer,
and of their secretion in the holds of Allied munition ships.

Another attempt of a similar kind, which had most unfortunate results
from our point of view, was that attributed to a German, Lieutenant
Fay, who had likewise come to America in April, 1915, and two other
Germans, by name Scholz and Däeche. Their idea was to put Allied
munition ships out of action by means of infernal machines, fastened
to the rudders, and timed to explode shortly after their departure.
My first information concerning these gentlemen was the report in
the Press of their arrest, which was apparently effected while
they were experimenting with their apparatus under cover of a wood.
A telegraphic inquiry elicited from Berlin the reply that Fay was
absolutely unknown there; it is possible, however, that he had
really come to America on some business of an official nature.
He and his accomplices were sentenced in May, 1916, to several
years' penal servitude, although no proof was adduced that any
real damage could possibly have been caused by their contrivance,
which experts informed me was not a practicable one.

Last of all, on Bielaski's list comes the case of the German agent
Stermberg, of whom, also, I had never heard. In January, 1915, he was
arrested on a charge of having attempted to inoculate horses, purchased
for the Allied Armies, with disease germs. As his practical knowledge
was not great, his intentions were in excess of his performances.
Bielaski, in his evidence before the Senate Committee, at first
hesitated to mention this case at all, and was only induced to do
so by the insistence of another Government official; it is clear,
therefore, that he attached very little importance to it, and, as a
matter of fact, the charge was not supported by any witnesses in
a court of law, or by any legal attestation.

In a word, during all our period of service in America, as
representatives of the German Empire, practically nothing of all
that was alleged against us was proved to be true. A few of the
stories of illegal activity, however, were based on some foundation
of truth, and were popularly but erroneously supposed to further
the interests of Germany. By these means we were first brought
into discredit, and from that time on, every rumor, or piece of
gossip concerning acts of violence on the part of Germans, whether
based on fact or not, served only to increase the wide-spread popular
suspicion and distrust of everyone and everything German.



On August 6th, 1914, the Government of the United States proposed to
all the belligerent Powers that the laws of war at sea, as laid down
in the Declaration of London of 1909, should be observed throughout
the present war. This reasonable suggestion, which, had it been
generally observed, would have saved the world much distress, came
to nothing, owing to the refusal of Great Britain to accept it as
it stood without reservation. The United States Government thereupon
withdrew its proposal on October 24th, and announced that "It was
resolved in future to see that the rights and duties of the Government
and citizens of the United States should be settled in accordance
with the accepted principles of international law and the treaty
obligations of the United States, without reference to the provisions
of the Declaration of London." Moreover, the American Government
drew up protests and demands for compensation, for use in case
of any infringement of these rights, or of any interference with
their free exercise on the part of the belligerent Powers.

On November 3rd, 1914, Great Britain declared the whole of the
North Sea a theatre of war, and thereupon instituted, in flagrant
violation of the Law of Nations, a blockade of the adjoining neutral
coasts and ports. General disappointment was felt in Germany that
the United States made no attempt to vindicate her rights in this
matter, and confined herself to demanding compensation in individual
cases of infringement.

Both in Germany and elsewhere it was clearly recognized that England's
design was to use this illegal blockade for the purpose of starving
out the German people. During a discussion between myself and Mr.
Lansing, later Secretary of State, on the matter of assistance
to be sent by America to Belgium, he expressed the opinion that
nothing would come of the scheme, as Lord Kitchener had adopted
the attitude that no food supplies could under any circumstances
be sent to territory in German occupation. I answered that I had
expected this refusal, as it was England's intention to starve
us out, to which Mr. Lansing replied: "Yes, the British frankly
admit as much." It will be remembered that, as a matter of fact,
Lord Kitchener withdrew his refusal in view of the pressure of
English public opinion, which demanded that relief should be sent
to Belgium on account of the distress prevalent there, and despite
the fact that such a measure was of indirect assistance to us. A
subsequent proposal from the American Government for the dispatch
of similar relief to Poland was declined in London.

We Germans had hoped that the neutral States would vigorously claim
their right to freedom of mutual trade, and would take effective
measures, in conjunction with the leadership of the United States,
to force the British Government to suspend the oppressive and
extra-legal policy. This they failed to do, at any rate, in time to
forestall the fateful decision on our part to undertake submarine
warfare. It is now impossible to tell whether this policy might not
have had more favorable results, had not the growing estrangement
between Germany and America caused by the new campaign nipped in
the bud any possibility of serious Anglo-American differences.
In the other neutral countries this submarine warfare alienated
all sympathy for us, and no doubt was one reason why the neutral
States, which in previous wars had always attempted to vindicate
their rights as against the Power which had command of the sea, now
refrained from any concerted action to this end. Such a procedure
on their part would have indirectly influenced the situation in
favor of Germany, as the weaker Power at sea; it will be remembered
that the United States, during their War of Independence against
England, drew much advantage from a similar attitude on the part
of the European Powers. My knowledge of America leads me to believe
that, had we not incurred such odium by our infringement of Belgian
neutrality and our adoption of submarine warfare, the action of
the Washington Government might have been other than it was; had
it even raised a finger to protest against England's methods, the
latter must instantly have given way, as had so frequently happened
during the last twenty-five years, when the United States took up on
any point an attitude hostile to Britain. The contrast between this
passive attitude on the part or the President and the traditional
forward policy of America _vis-à-vis_ England, goes far to support
the contention of Wilson's detractors in Germany--that these two
countries were in league and were playing a preconcerted game.

It is impossible to convince one's political foes on any point
except by positive proof, and until the time comes when the enemy's
archives are published, such proof cannot, of course, be adduced
on this particular matter. This time is still far distant. Why
should the enemy publish their archives? They have won and have
therefore no reason to grumble at the course of events. Thus I
can at present only combat with counter-arguments the contention
that I misunderstood the true state of affairs in America. The
hypothesis of secret collusion between America and England seems
in the present case unnecessary; the attitude of public opinion
in America is in itself sufficient explanation of the situation at
the time. Sympathy for us from the very first day of the war there
was none; but had the general feeling been as strongly for us as it
actually was against us, no doubt the Government would have kicked
against the English illegalities, and enforced an embargo against
her. I still hold to my view that Mr. Wilson made a real effort to
maintain the observance of a strict neutrality; but the decisive
factor was that he found himself, as a result of his efforts, in
increasing measure in conflict with the overwhelming Germanophobe
sentiment of the people, and continually exposed to the reproach
put forward in the Eastern States that he was a pro-German.

The American public, indifferent as it was to the affairs of Europe
and entirely ignorant of its complicated problems, failed to understand
the full extent of the peril to the very existence of the German
Empire, which compelled its rulers, much against their will and
with heavy hearts, to have recourse to the invasion of Belgium.
They themselves, living in perfect security and under pleasant
conditions, had no means of realizing the perilous position of
a comparatively small people, such as the Germans, surrounded by
greedy foes, and straitened within narrow frontiers; their judgment,
as already remarked, was swayed by their individual sentiments of
justice and humanity. The attitude of the Allied and Associated
Powers at Versailles might have enlightened the American people as
to the peril of dismemberment which threatened a defeated Germany;
but such realization, even supposing it to have taken place, has
come too late to affect the consequences of the war. I am convinced
that they will in a few years be forced to admit that Germany during
the course of her struggle was, contrary to the generally accepted
view of to-day, quite as much sinned against as sinning.

The German Government, then, decided upon the adoption of submarine
warfare, and issued a declaration to this effect. This document,
together with explanatory memorandum, was delivered by me on February
4th, 1915, to the Secretary of State, Mr. Bryan; it was to the
effect that the territorial waters of Great Britain and Ireland,
including the whole of the English Channel, were declared a war area.
From February 18th onwards every enemy merchant ship encountered
in this area was liable to be sunk, without any guarantee that
time could be given for the escape of passengers and crew. Neutral
shipping in the war zone was likewise liable to the same dangers,
as owing to the misuse of neutral flags resulting from the British
Government's order of January 31st, and the chances of naval warfare,
the possibility of damage to other shipping as a result of attacks
on hostile vessels might sometimes be unavoidable.

I regarded it as my main duty, when handing this document to Mr.
Bryan, to recommend to the United States Government that they should
warn all American citizens of the danger to the crews, passengers and
cargoes of hostile merchant ships moving within the war area from
this time onwards. Further, I felt it necessary to draw attention to
the advisability of an urgent recommendation that American shipping
should keep clear of the danger zone, notwithstanding the express
statement in the memorandum that the German naval forces had orders
to avoid any interference with neutral vessels clearly recognizable
as such.

Mr. Secretary Bryan was at first incredulous; he believed a submarine
campaign of this nature to be unthinkable, and my statements to
be merely bluff. The American Government therefore resolved to
take no measures of precaution, but to dispatch a Note to Berlin
on February 12th, summarizing the two conflicting points of view,
which remained irreconcilable throughout the whole controversy, on
the subject of the submarine war. Germany, on the one hand, defended
her course of action as a reprisal justified by the British blockade,
which both parties to the discussion agreed to be contrary to the
Law of Nations. The United States, for her part, maintained that
as long as the blockade of Great Britain was not made effective,
neutral shipping had the right to go where it wished unharmed, and
that the German submarines were empowered only to hold up merchant
ships for search purposes, unless these same ships offered resistance
or endeavored to escape.

The chief germ of dissension lay in the fact that the British blockade,
which was defended by its authors as being merely an extension
of the rights of sea warfare to square with the progress of the
modern military machine, was met on America's part only by paper
protests, while our own extension of the same rights by means of
submarine warfare was treated as a _casus belli_. At a later period
of the war the Imperial Government made certain proposals to the
United States, who might, by accepting them, have safeguarded all
their commercial and shipping interests, not to mention the lives
of their citizens, to the fullest possible extent, and yet have
allowed us a free field for our submarine warfare. These proposals
the United States rejected; thus she set herself to combat with all
her strength any continuance of the blockade restrictions through
our submarines, while conniving at the similar restrictions exercised
by England, although these latter infringed far more seriously the
rights of neutral Powers.

The following extract from the American Note of February 12th clearly
presaged the conflict to come:

"This Government has carefully noted the explanatory statement
issued by the Imperial German Government at the same time with
the proclamation of the German Admiralty, and takes this occasion
to remind the Imperial German Government very respectfully that the
Government of the United States is open to none of the criticisms
for unneutral action to which the German Government believe the
governments of certain other neutral nations have laid themselves
open; that the Government of the United States has not consented or
acquiesced in any measures which may have been taken by the other
belligerent nations in the present war which operate to restrain
neutral trade, but has, on the contrary, taken in all such matters a
position which warrants it in holding those governments responsible
in the proper way for any untoward effects upon American shipping
which the accepted principles of international law do not justify;
and that it, therefore, regards itself as free in the present instance
to take with a clear conscience and upon accepted principles the
position indicated in this Note.

"If the commanders of German vessels of war should act upon the
presumption that the flag of the United States was not being used
in good faith and should destroy on the high seas an American or the
lives of American citizens, it would be difficult for the Government
of the United States to view the act in any other light than as an
indefensible violation of neutral rights which it would be very
hard indeed to reconcile with the friendly relations now so happily
subsisting between the two Governments.

"If such a deplorable situation should arise, the Imperial German
Government can readily appreciate that the Government of the United
States would be constrained to hold the Imperial German Government
to a strict accountability for such acts of their naval authorities,
and to take any steps it might be necessary to take to safeguard
the American lives and property and to secure to American citizens
the full enjoyment of their acknowledged rights on the high seas."

The Imperial Government reaffirmed its standpoint in a further
Note, dated February 16th, the gist and conclusion of which was
as under:

"If the American Government, by reason of that weight which it is
able and entitled to cast into the balance which decides the fate
of peoples, should succeed even now in removing those causes which
make the present action of the German Government an imperious duty;
if the American Government, in short, should succeed in inducing the
Powers at war with Germany to abide by the terms of the Declaration of
London, and to permit the free importation into Germany of foodstuffs
and raw material, the Imperial Government would recognize in such
action a service of inestimable value, tending to introduce a spirit
of greater humanity into the conduct of the war, and would willingly
draw its own conclusions from the resulting new situation."

This Note was effective, in that it induced the American Government
to dispatch on February 22nd an identical Note to Great Britain and
Germany, with the object of arriving at a _modus vivendi_ in the
matter. Their proposal was as follows: Submarines were not to be
employed in any attack on merchant ships of whatever nationality,
save in execution of the rights of detention or search; merchant
ships, for their part, were not to make use of neutral flags, whether
as a _ruse de guerre_ or to avoid identification. Great Britain
would give free passage to provisions and food supplies consigned
to certain agents in Germany, to be named by the United States.
These agents would receive all goods thus imported and dispatch
them to specially licensed distributing firms, who were to be
responsible that they were issued exclusively to the civilian

The above project was concurred in by the German Government in a
Note of February 28th, which added that "The Imperial Government
considered it right that other raw materials, essential to manufacture
for peaceful purposes, and also fodder, should also be imported
without interference."

The British Government, as was to be expected, rejected the American
proposal on somewhat flimsy pretexts, for England's sea supremacy
was at stake in this as in her previous wars. "Britannia rules the
waves" was, and ever must be, the guiding principle of all her
policy, while her world-Empire endures. On this vitally important
question England could not be expected ever to yield an inch of
her own free will.

Thus the American attempt at mediation died a natural death.

Our adoption of submarine warfare was to be regarded, according to
our Note of February 16th, as a measure of reprisal in answer to
the English blockade. From a tactical point of view, this contention
was unfortunate, as it afforded America the opportunity of agreeing
at once, and thus of conceding us a point which benefited us not
at all, but merely gave the United States all the more right to
renew its protests against the submarine war. It would have been
wiser for us to have initiated the submarine campaign simply as a
new weapon of war without reference to the English blockade; still
better, to put it into operation without declaring a blockade of
Great Britain and Ireland, which could never be really effective,
and caused constant friction between ourselves and America. Our
declaration that the territorial waters of Great Britain were to
be regarded as a war area was a legal formality modelled on the
earlier English proclamation of the barred zones, and at once
antagonized public opinion in the United States. By adopting the
point of view we did with regard to reprisals, we laid ourselves
open to the charge of illegality, and added to the ill-feeling
already excited by the submarine campaign. If the contention of
certain naval authorities that the observance of the Declaration of
London by our enemies would have brought us no important material
advantage is correct, the issue of our Note of February 16th becomes
even less comprehensible. Having admitted in this Note that the
declaration of the barred zones was caused by the fact that all
was not well with us, we could hardly expect England would fall
in with the proposal made at our suggestion by Mr. Wilson, and
thus allow us so easy a diplomatic triumph. The President, however,
after his rebuff from England, was bound, in order to maintain
his prestige, to bring all possible pressure to bear on us, in
the hope of compensating by diplomatic success in Berlin for his
failure in London. My subsequent attitude was laid down, but at
the same time made more difficult, by this interchange of Notes;
but, generally speaking, my personal action in the matter began
with the _Lusitania_ incident; previous to this the negotiations
had been entirely in the hands of Berlin.

The Washington Government then for the present assumed a waiting
attitude, until such time as loss of American lives through our
submarine activities should compel its intervention. With regard
to damage to property, the standpoint was consistently maintained
that claims for compensation for financial loss must be fully met.
Every day might see a serious conflict, and this possibility was a
source of constant anxiety to us Germans in the United States. The
American Government, we thought, still underestimated the dangers
of the situation, and failed to take any measures of precaution.
In the middle of April I held a meeting in New York, with the
representatives of the other German administrative departments, and
in view of the great responsibility incumbent on us, we resolved
on the motion of Dr. Dernburg to issue a warning to the Press in
the form usually adopted for shipping notices. As a rule, these
shipping notices were published by the Consulate as a matter of
routine. Dr. Dernburg having, however, been unable to come to an
agreement with the New York Consulate on the matter, I took upon
myself to issue the advertisement as from the German Ambassador.
It ran as follows:

"Travellers intending to embark for an Atlantic voyage are reminded
that a state of war exists between Germany and her Allies and Great
Britain and her Allies; that the zone of war includes the waters
adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with the formal
notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the
flag of Great Britain or any of her Allies are liable to destruction
in those waters; and that travellers sailing in the war zone in
ships of Great Britain or her Allies do so at their own risk."


  "_April 22nd_, 1915."

This notice was intended to appear in the Press on April 24th and
the two following Saturdays. By one of those fatal coincidences
beloved of history, it happened that owing to technical difficulties
the _communiqué_ was not actually published until May 1st--the very
date on which the _Lusitania_ left New York harbor. This conjunction
was bound to appear intentional rather than fortuitous, and even
to-day the majority of Americans believe that I must have known
beforehand of the design to torpedo the _Lusitania_.

As the true facts of the matter are not yet clear, and were never
explained officially, I have no means of saying whether the destruction
of the _Lusitania_ was the result of a deliberate purpose on the
part of our naval authorities. To the best of my belief technical
factors render it impossible for a submarine commander to make any
one particular ship the object of his attack, so that the officer
responsible for the sinking of the _Lusitania_ could not have been
certain what vessel he had to deal with. In any case, whether the
action of our naval authorities was planned out beforehand or not,
we in America had no knowledge of any such plan; indeed, until it
actually occurred, I believed the destruction of the _Lusitania_
to be unthinkable, not merely for humanitarian reasons, but because
it was obviously sound policy to refrain as far as possible from
any attack on passenger ships. I did not at the time realize how
difficult it was for our naval forces to insure the safety of such
vessels without impairing the efficiency of the submarine blockade.
Again, I did not believe it possible to torpedo a rapidly-moving
ship like the _Lusitania_ if she were going at full speed; and,
finally, I supposed that a modern liner, if actually struck, would
remain afloat long enough to allow of the rescue of her passengers.
The captain of the _Lusitania_ himself seems to have been quite
at ease in his mind on the matter; at all events, he took no
precautionary measures to avoid the danger threatening him, or
to insure the safety of the people on board in case of need. The
rapidity with which the ship went down and the resulting heavy
death-roll can only be attributed to the explosion of the masses
of ammunition which formed part of the cargo.

Let me once more lay stress on the fact that our notice to the
Press had no particular reference to the _Lusitania_, but was simply
a general warning, the publication of which was motived simply
by humanity and wise policy, and was rendered necessary by the
apathetic behavior of the Washington authorities in the matter.
We rightly imagined that many Americans had not taken the trouble
to read the Notes officially exchanged, and would thus rush blindly
into danger. Our failure to achieve any result by our efforts may
be appreciated from an extract from the London _Daily Telegraph_ of
May 3rd, which is before me as I write. The New York correspondent
of this paper dealt with our warning in the following headlines:




On May 7th I travelled to New York in the afternoon--a fact in
itself sufficient to prove that I was not expecting the disaster to
the _Lusitania_. It chanced that Paul Warburg and another American
banker were on the same train. I bought an evening paper at
Philadelphia, and there read the first news about the sinking of
the great liner; I read them to my two travelling companions, both
of whom disbelieved the story at the time; but Jacob Schiff met
us in New York with the news that it was all too true, and that
in the first moment of excitement he had hurried to the station
to inform his brother-in-law, Warburg, of what had happened. I had
come to New York with the intention of being present at a performance
of _The Bat_, given by a German company for the benefit of the German
Red Cross; but when I learned on my arrival at the Ritz-Carlton
Hotel that over one hundred Americans, including many women and
children, had lost their lives in the sinking of the _Lusitania_,
I at once gave up all idea of attending the performance. As the
hotel was soon surrounded on all sides by newspaper reporters,
I remained indoors until my departure on the morrow; I should have
returned to Washington at once, but for having to interview certain
German gentlemen in New York.

Unfortunately it so happened that Dr. Dernburg was then away at
Cleveland, addressing a meeting; he took the opportunity of defending
the destruction of the _Lusitania_ on the ground that she was carrying
munitions of war. This speech aroused a storm of execration throughout
the country, which was already indignant enough over the fatal event
itself. Even to-day no German seems to realize the full violence
of the passion thus aroused; we, accustomed as we have been to
daily reports of battles and casualties, were little impressed by
the destruction of a solitary passenger ship. America, however,
execrated us whole-heartedly as murderers of women and children,
oblivious of the fact that the victims of the submarine campaign
were far less numerous than the women and children killed by the
English blockade, and that death by drowning is no more dreadful
than slow starvation. Everyone naturally realizes his own misfortunes
more vividly than those of others, and the _Lusitania_ incident
first brought home to the United States the horrors of war, and
convinced all her people that a flagrant injury had been done them.
On my departure from New York I found myself at once face to face
with this immense popular excitement. I left my hotel by a side
door, but did not manage to escape notice; several cars filled
with reporters followed me to the station, and pressed round me
so persistently that I was unable to shake them off. I could only
refuse to make any statement, which only increased the excitement
of the reporters; but had I said anything at that time, I should
but have added fuel to the fire which was already raging in the
minds of all. Finally I succeeded in forcing my way through the
infuriated and howling mob of pressmen and reaching the train.

For the first few days after my return to Washington I remained in
seclusion, so as to avoid any possibility of unpleasant incidents.
Those Germans who live in the congenial surroundings of their homes
can have little conception of the hostility with which we in America
had to contend. We had many true friends, who right up to the final
breach between the two countries never deserted us. To them I shall
ever feel myself indebted, more particularly in view of their harsh
treatment at the hands of their fellow-countrymen and enemy
diplomatists, as a result of their staunchness. The pro-Entente
elements of the country proposed not only to boycott us socially,
but also to terrorize all pro-German Americans. In this connection
it is of interest to note that a certain neutral representative was
accused by his Government of having taken our part; he was led to
believe that this charge had originated in the Russian Embassy, and
taxed M. Bakmetieff with the fact. The latter had no better proof
of it to adduce than the report that the Dutch Ambassador--for
he it was who had been thus attacked--occasionally had breakfast
with me at my club, and always stayed at the German headquarters,
the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, whenever he came to New York. The above
example is typical of the attitude usually adopted towards us;
despite it all, throughout the war I never wanted for true and
loyal friends in America, even though, particularly after the
_Lusitania_ incident, one or other shrank from braving the resulting
public odium. Such halfhearted champions we could easily dispense
with; the situation at the moment was so strained that we had no
use for any save trustworthy and reliable men on our side. I may
take this opportunity to place it on record that my relations with
all the State Departments remained to the last of the friendliest;
I should be doing them an injustice, did I not expressly affirm

President Wilson must certainly have under-estimated the spirit
of angry hostility towards Germany which then held sway over his
people's minds, otherwise he would probably not have gone directly
counter to it, as he did in a speech which has now become famous.
On May 10th at Philadelphia he gave evidence of his peaceful
inclinations in the following words:

"The example of America must be a special example. The example of
America must be the example not merely of peace because it will
not fight, but of peace because peace is the healing and elevating
influence of the world and strife is not. There is such a thing as
a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation
being so right that it does not need to convince others by force
that it is right."

This speech did but increase the indignation raging throughout the
country, and the phrase "Too proud to fight" became the favorite joke
of the Jingo and Entente party against Mr. Wilson. Public opinion
with one voice demanded the severance of diplomatic relations with
Germany; and before this powerful pressure the President deemed
it advisable to explain away his words.

It may be said, perhaps, in answer to the above, that America was
indeed bitterly angry, but still not resolved on war; and that
public opinion was indignant, not at Wilson's desire to keep the
peace, but at the unfortunate expression "Too proud to fight."

This view was held, for example, by von Tirpitz, and also found
expression more than once in the reports of the so-called German
Chamber of Commerce in New York, which were regularly transmitted
to Germany, and exercised considerable influence on opinion in that
country, although their author was a man of no political insight,
and the Chamber of Commerce had, as a matter of fact, no actual

They were simply a journalistic device on the part of the paper which
published these reports. During the war, and under the influence of
the passions which it aroused, there was continually going on in
America any amount of mischievous gossip and intrigue concerning
which many interesting stories might be told. I have no intention,
however, of concerning myself with these unworthy matters now, any
more than I allowed them at the time to color my official reports
to the home Government; I can only say that if the reports of the
Chamber of Commerce had any sort of influence on German opinion,
it was much to be regretted. The opinion, therein expressed, that
the United States would never, under any circumstances, embark on
hostilities against us was unfortunately belied by later events,
and the idea that America was at that time compelled to keep the
peace by defects in her military equipment, had no foundation in
fact. Admittedly, she was in the year 1917 insufficiently equipped
for war, and the question of making good her deficiencies had not
got beyond the stage of discussion. I should, of course, have been
only too pleased if my repeated warnings as to the danger of war
with America had proved to be unfounded; in point of fact, after
the _Lusitania_ incident, America was, for a period of three weeks,
on the verge of breaking off diplomatic relations, and panic reigned
on the Stock Exchanges throughout the country. The fact that Congress
was not sitting at the time prevented a flood of speeches which
would only have increased the tension. It will be remembered that
by the American Constitution the annual sessions of Congress are
short and long alternately; the short session had come to an end
on March 4, 1915, and the President had refrained from summoning
Congress again, as he wished to avoid discussion on the question
of war.

The irresistible strength of the popular indignation may be accurately
estimated from the fact that even the German-Americans were
terror-stricken by its violence. Not only did our propaganda collapse
completely, but even our political friends dared not open their
mouths, and only ventured to assert themselves once more after
the settlement of the _Arabic_ case. Germanism in America may be
said to have been absolutely killed by the _Lusitania_ incident,
and only gradually came to life again.

The first expressions of opinion which I received from the President
and Mr. Bryan gave me good grounds for hope that these gentlemen
would do everything in their power to preserve peace. I append
the two telegrams which I sent to the Foreign Office:

  (1). "Washington, May 9th, 1915.

"_Lusitania_ incident has caused great excitement, especially in New
York, which is most affected, but I hope that no serious consequences
will ensue. Mr. Wilson regards matters calmly. I recommend expression
of regret for loss of so many American lives, in whatever form may
be possible without admission of our responsibility."

  (2). "Washington, May 10th, 1915.

"Bryan spoke to me very seriously concerning _Lusitania_ incident.
His influence will, in any case be exercised in favor of peace. This
influence is great, as Wilson depends on Bryan for his re-election.
Roosevelt, on the other hand, is beating the patriotic drum, in
order to win over the Jingo elements. It is significant of Bryan's
real views that he regrets that we did not support his well-known
attempt at mediation; therefore, I again recommend that we should
endeavor to bring about an attempt at mediation in some form, in
case the position here becomes critical. This would be a good
_argumentum ad hominem_ in order to avoid war. Another way out,
which is recommended, is that we should renew our offer to give up
submarine warfare provided that England adheres to the principles
of International Law, and gives up her policy of starvation. The
position is in any case _very serious_; I hope and believe that
we shall find a way out of the present crisis, but in case of any
such recurrence, no solution can be guaranteed."

American indignation was directed particularly against Dr. Dernburg,
who had defended, in public, the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_. I
had, therefore, no other resource but to advise him to leave the
country of his own accord. He would probably have been deported
in any case, and his continued presence in America could no longer
serve any useful purpose, while it was to be hoped that his voluntary
departure would appease the popular wrath in some degree, and postpone
the imminent rupture of diplomatic relations. The sea was raging
and demanded a sacrifice. I sent the following report to Berlin
on the subject of Dr. Dernburg's resolve to leave the country:

  "Washington, May 17th, 1915.

"As I have already wired to your Excellency, Dr. Dernburg has decided
to leave the country of his own free will. I believe that, in so
doing, he is rendering a great service to the Fatherland, a service
rendered easier by the fact that he could no longer hope to continue
in the exercise of his former duties. As I have already reported,
he had exposed himself to attack by our enemies by his action in
going counter to the present outbreak of hysterical feeling in a
speech and an interview which were, unfortunately, not in accordance
with your Excellency's instructions, received by me on the following
day. So long as Dernburg only wrote articles for the papers, he
rendered distinguished and highly appreciated service, but when he
commenced to deliver speeches at German-American meetings he trod
on very dangerous ground. On this point we are all in agreement
here. In any case, in war every possible method must be tried, and
if any individual is sacrificed it must be regarded as unfortunately

"When I informed Mr. Bryan that Dr. Dernburg had decided to return
home if the American Government would secure him a safe conduct
from our enemies, the satisfaction of the Secretary of State was
even more pronounced than I had expected. He remarked that Dr.
Dernburg's speeches had given rise to the suspicion that the German
Government wished to inflame the minds of the American people against
President Wilson's administration. It might be possible, now that
there were no longer any grounds for this idea, to avoid an immediate
rupture of diplomatic relations."

On May 13th the American Government dispatched a strongly worded
Note to Berlin, which restated their point of view, as previously
given. I reproduce textually the following passage from the Note,
which, from the point of view of subsequent events, is of fundamental

"The Government of the United States, therefore, desires to call
the attention of the Imperial German Government with the utmost
earnestness to the fact that the objection to their present method
of attack against the trade of their enemies lies in the practical
impossibility of employing submarines in the destruction of commerce
without disregarding those rules of fairness, reason, justice, and
humanity, which all modern opinion regards as imperative. It is
practically impossible for the officers of a submarine to visit a
merchantman at sea and examine her papers and cargo. It is practically
impossible for them to make a prize of her; and, if they cannot
put a prize crew on board of her, they cannot sink her without
leaving her crew and all on board of her to the mercy of the sea
in her small boats.... Manifestly submarines cannot be used against
merchantmen, as the last few weeks have shown, without an inevitable
violation of many sacred principles of justice and humanity.

"American citizens act within their indisputable rights in taking
their ships and in travelling wherever their legitimate business
calls them on the high seas, and exercise those rights in what
should be the well-justified confidence that their lives will not be
endangered by acts done in clear violation of universally acknowledged
international obligations, and certainly in the confidence that
their own Government will sustain them in the exercise of their

"There was recently published in the newspapers of the United States,
I regret to inform the Imperial German Government, a formal warning,
purporting to come from the Imperial Germany Embassy at Washington,
addressed to the people of the United States, and stating, in effect,
that any citizen of the United States who exercised his right of
free travel upon the seas, would do so at his peril if his journey
should take him within the zone of waters within which the Imperial
German Navy was using submarines against the commerce of Great
Britain and France, notwithstanding the respectful, but very earnest
protests of his Government, the Government of the United States.
I do not refer to this for the purpose of calling the attention
of the Imperial German Government at this time to the surprising
irregularity of a communication from the Imperial Germany Embassy
at Washington addressed to the people of the United States through
the newspapers, but only for the purpose of pointing out that no
warning that an unlawful and inhumane act will be committed can
possibly be accepted as an excuse or palliation for that act or
as an abatement of the responsibility for its commission.

       *       *       *       *       *       *

"The Government of the United States cannot believe that the commanders
of the vessels which committed these acts of lawlessness did so
except under a misapprehension of the orders issued by the Imperial
German naval authorities.... It confidently expects, therefore,
that the Imperial German Government will disavow the acts of which
the Government of the United States complains, that they will make
reparation so far as reparation is possible for injuries which
are without measure, and that they will take immediate steps to
prevent the recurrence of anything so obviously subversive of the
principles of warfare for which the Imperial German Government
have in the past so wisely and firmly contended.

       *       *       *       *       *       *

"The Imperial German Government will not expect the Government
of the United States to omit any word or any act necessary to the
performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the
United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise
and enjoyment."

The demands contained in the above Note would have made the continuance
of the submarine campaign impossible, and this was, no doubt, the
intention of the Union Government. The German answer of May 28th,
which defended the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_ on the grounds
that she should be considered as an auxiliary cruiser and provided
with guns, changed the situation in no way. Besides, the _Lusitania_
had ammunition and Canadian troops on board; there can be no doubt
that the main reason why she sank so rapidly was the exploding
of her cargo of ammunition by the torpedo which struck her. With
regard to the loss of human life, the German Government had already
expressed, to the neutral Powers concerned, its deep regret for the
death of their subjects--I had in person conveyed these regrets
to the United States Government a few days after the destruction
of the _Lusitania_.

After this first exchange of Notes, the gulf between the two points
of view appeared fixed, and was bound in face of the prevalent
excitement to lead to a severance of diplomatic relations, unless
sufficient time were gained to allow the storms of passion to abate.
Telegraphic communication between the German Government and the
Embassy at Washington was carried out by a circuitous route, which
made it extremely slow; thus I was compelled to decide on my own
responsibility and take immediate action. I fully realized that
the rupture of diplomatic relations would mean war. In America
we were face to face with a vigorous hostile propaganda, which
had as its sole object to draw the United States into war, and
thus bring about a decision by force of arms. From the time of
the _Lusitania_ incident onwards, the diplomatic struggle between
ourselves and the Entente was centred entirely around the question
of the future action of the United States. The threatened rupture
of relations between that country and Germany would have left the
field open for hostile propaganda, by taking from us all chance
of combating it. War would thus have been inevitable sooner or
later. The first and most urgent necessity was, therefore, the
avoidance of such a rupture at whatever cost, and my efforts were
now solely directed to this end. As things turned out, it might,
perhaps, have been better if the United States had actually gone
to war at this moment. Her military pressure, and our consequent
defeat, would have come two years earlier, before the German people
had been demoralized and exhausted by four years of war and blockade.
But at that time I had good hopes of being able to bring about
peace through American mediation, and consequently wished to gain
time at all costs.

I resolved, without waiting for instructions from Berlin, to make
use of my privileged position as Ambassador to demand an audience
with the President. I heard later, among other things when I was at
Manila, that on this very day, June 2nd, all preparations had been
made for breaking off relations, and for the inevitable resulting
war. As a result of my interview, however, they were cancelled. I
had a long conversation with the President and two of his advisers.
Mr. Wilson felt the position acutely, and was animated solely by a
desire to preserve peace. We both realized that it was a question
of gaining time, and succeeded in coming to an agreement on the
measures to be taken to mitigate the crisis. We took the view that
the isolation of Germany had given rise to an atmosphere of
misunderstanding between her and the United States, and that the
establishment of some sort of personal relationship might be expected
to ease this tension; I, therefore, proposed, and the President
agreed, that Meyer Gerhardt, a member of the Privy Council, who had
accompanied Dr. Dernburg to America, and was then acting on behalf
of the German Red Cross, should at once go to Germany and report in
person to the Government. Mr. Wilson, for his part, undertook that
no final decision should be taken until Meyer Gerhardt had reported
the results of his mission.

At the end of this interview I was convinced in my own mind that
the President would never enter on war with Germany, otherwise I
could not conceive why he should have concurred in my proposals
instead of breaking off relations at once. He would, had he chosen
the latter course, have had American public opinion more decidedly
behind him than it was later, at the time of the final breach. Not
a voice would have been raised in opposition, except that of the
Secretary of State, Mr. Bryan, who, as it was, resigned his office
on the ground that the exchange of Notes threatened to involve the
United States in war, and could not be reconciled, therefore, with
his own pacific intentions.

It is certain that if I had not at this stage of the _Lusitania_
crisis had my interview with the President, relations would have
been broken off and war between the United States and Germany must
inevitably have followed. The view is still held in many quarters
that we might safely have disregarded American susceptibilities, as
President Wilson was entirely averse to war and would have avoided
it by whatever means; then we should have been free to carry on
our submarine campaign. This was not the opinion held by myself
or any of my colleagues at the Embassy, and later events proved
us to have been in the right, as against those Germans and
German-Americans, who, in May, 1915, and afterwards, averred that
the United States would never declare war on us, and maintained
the same view in January and February, 1917. The principles of my
later policy were based on the events of this _Lusitania_ crisis;
I had then gathered the conviction that Mr. Wilson wanted peace
but the country wanted war; that the President alone had prevented
an immediate rupture, but that as the responsible leader of the
American people, he would be compelled to bow eventually to public
opinion. When Mr. Wilson had to explain away his unlucky speech
at Philadelphia, no action was taken from the German side, and
no information given him which might lead him to understand that
Germany desired to avoid a _casus belli_ at all costs, for fear
of giving Mr. Wilson an opportunity to gain a cheap triumph over
Germany in a verbal wrangle.

I believe it unjust to Mr. Wilson to suppose that he wished to
bluff us into surrender at this time. He had, while fully realizing
the danger of war, sought all ways and means to avoid it, and on
this hypothesis my whole policy was founded. Moreover the President
had then mentioned to me for the first time that he was considering
an attempt at mediation between the belligerents.

After my audience at the White House I sent the following wire to
the Foreign Office:


  "Washington, June 2nd, 1915.

"Seriousness of the present situation here induced me to seek interview
with President Wilson. In most cordial exchange of views, in course
of which we repeatedly emphasized our mutual desire to find some
solution of the present difficulties, Wilson always came back to
point that he was concerned purely with humanitarian aspect of
matter, and that question of indemnification for loss of American
lives in _Lusitania_ was only of secondary importance. His main
object was complete cessation of submarine warfare, and from point
of view of this ultimate aim, smaller concessions on our part could
only be regarded as half measures. It behooved us by giving up
submarine campaign to appeal to moral sense of world; for issue of
the war could never be finally decided by armies but only by peace
of understanding. Our voluntary cessation of submarine warfare would
inspire Wilson to press for a raising of English hunger blockade.
_Reliable reports from London state that present Cabinet would
agree to this._ Wilson hopes that this might be first stage in a
peace movement on large scale, which he would introduce as head
of leading neutral Powers.

"American reply may be expected to lay little stress on purely
legal aspect of matter and to dwell rather on question of humanity,
emphatically enough, but as Wilson told me, in a sharper form.

"President remarked that on one point at least we should be in
agreement, as both Germany and United States of America had always
been in favor of freedom of seas.

"Cordiality of conversation must not blind our eyes to seriousness
of situation. If our next Note does not tend to tranquilize matters,
Wilson is bound to recall his Ambassador. I recommend most earnestly
that this should be avoided at all costs, in view of its disastrous
moral effect and fact that this result would be immediate increase
in export of munitions, and in financial support for our enemies on
immense scale. Good prospect exists of success of present movement
for forbidding export of arms should understanding be reached; and
also movement by Wilson in direction of peace is sure to follow.
Decisive factor in result is that our reply should strike correct
note from point of view of public opinion, which is decisive factor
in balance here. For this essential to leave out legal details
and to lift discussion to level of humanitarian standpoint. Meyer
Gerhardt leaves tomorrow for Germany as Red Cross representative;
he will report fully in Berlin on situation. Beg that our reply
be held up till his arrival. Wilson concurs in this."

Meyer Gerhardt was in a position to give for the first time a full and
accurate review of the American situation to the Berlin authorities.
I had given him most precise information of my own views and had
placed him in full possession of the details of my interview with
Mr. Wilson. For the rest I had to content myself with short telegrams
by circuitous routes. During our conversation, however, the President
offered for the first time to permit me to dispatch a cipher telegram
through the State Department, to be sent on by the American Embassy
in Berlin. My reports as a matter of fact were somewhat infrequent
and always short, as we had to put all our messages into cipher,
and this was not always possible. In explanation of the inevitable
incompleteness of my communication with the Foreign Office, I may
remark that the telegrams of the Wolff and Trans-Ocean Bureaus
were regarded as the main sources of information for either side,
and that I made use of various arrangements of words, to which
the Foreign Office alone had the key, for the purpose of making
my own views easily distinguishable in these telegrams.

Meyer Gerhardt, armed with a certificate from Mr. Bryan, to the
effect that he was undertaking his journey at the express desire of
the American Government, crossed over to Germany with all possible
speed. It may be doubted if the English authorities would have
taken any notice of this safe conduct, but by good fortune the
Norwegian vessel which took him over escaped the attention of their
cruisers. His mission was so far successful that the excitement
in the United States had time to die down somewhat and the first
crisis in German-American relations was thereby tided over
satisfactorily. Apart from that, Meyer Gerhardt's mission had no
effect on the future course of negotiations. The exchange of Notes
between Washington and Berlin continued without an understanding
being arrived at; both Governments persisting in their original
points of view.

The second American Note, dispatched on June 10th, led to the
resignation of Mr. Bryan, the Secretary of State. He considered that
American citizens should be forbidden to take passage in vessels
bearing the flag of any belligerent nation, and holding these views as
he did, declined to make himself responsible for a further exchange
of Notes which he believed was bound in the end to result in war.

The resignation of the Secretary of State had another diplomatic
prelude of a tragi-comic character. The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador,
Dr. Dumba, besought Mr. Bryan to discuss the German-American conflict
with him; both gentlemen wished to find some solution to the dispute
and hoped that the Ambassadors not directly concerned in it might
profitably try to mediate. It was said later and probably with
truth, that there was a mutual misunderstanding on this subject;
but whatever be the truth of that, Dr. Dumba took upon himself
to send a radiogram to Vienna, by way of Nauen, in which he gave
the following résumé of Mr. Bryan's views:

"The United States desire no war. Her Notes, however strongly worded,
meant no harm, but had to be written in order to pacify the excited
public opinion of America. The Berlin Government therefore need
not feel itself injured, but need only make suitable concessions
if it desires to put an end to the dispute."

This telegram from Dr. Dumba had just reached the German Foreign
Office at the moment when the American Ambassador arrived to inform
the Under Secretary of State, Zimmermann, in his customary blunt
and abrupt manner, that Germany must yield to America's demands or
war would inevitably follow. Zimmermann thereupon, with the object
of causing Mr. Gerard to moderate his tone, showed him Dumba's wire,
which pointed to the inference that the attitude of the American
Ambassador was merely a bluff. Mr. Gerard, as in duty bound, reported
the facts to Washington; mutual recriminations ensued and the Press
got hold of the story (nothing ever remained a secret for long
in the American capital). The general impression there was that
Germany, once she were convinced of America's serious intentions
to appeal if necessary to arms, would back down; and that now Mr.
Bryan was made to appear as a wrecker of the President's policy. His
resignation thus became more necessary than ever, and Mr. Lansing,
hitherto head of the State Department of Justice, replaced him.
American opinion, however, laid the chief blame for what had occurred
on Dr. Dumba, who was henceforward regarded as a dangerous intriguer.

Mr. Lansing was a lawyer, not a politician, and looked at everything
from the point of view of a lawyer and his position as the President's
sole legal adviser. He was, so to speak, Mr. Wilson's legal conscience.
My personal relations with him were always extremely cordial.

Mr. Bryan's point of view was in every sense that of a neutral.
The only really effective way of safeguarding American interests
was, of course, to forbid the use of hostile passenger ships by
citizens of the United States, who could perfectly well travel on
their own vessels, or those of Holland or Scandinavia. However,
the greater part of American public opinion did not accept this
strict view of neutrality, and Mr. Wilson, therefore, adapted himself
to the predominant opinion. It was useless for us to demand that
the President should interpret his neutrality in the manner most
convenient to us; we had to accept the fact that his ideas on this
subject were neither ours nor Mr. Bryan's, and, on this basis,
endeavor to come to an understanding with Mr. Wilson, if we did
not intend to bring the United States into the war. It must be
remembered that, as I have already said, we had no means of bringing
pressure to bear on America, whereas from her point of view war
with Germany would be a comparatively simple affair, which would
involve no vital risks for her, but would, on the contrary, greatly
benefit her from an industrial point of view, besides gratifying
the jingoes, by giving them an opportunity of making full use of
their long-desired Army, Navy and commercial fleet. There could
be considered, as factors tending to the preservation of peace,
only the pacific sentiment of the majority of the people working
in alliance with the dilatory policy of the President, who still
nourished a hope that some favorable turn or other in events, or
perhaps the advent of peace, would give him a chance to avoid breaking
of relations with Germany.

The diplomatic incident, mentioned above, made such an impression
on Mr. Gerard, as to induce him to make, on his own initiative
in Berlin, at the time when the American Note of 10th June had
to be answered, a proposal which met with a by no means cordial
reception. His suggestion was that a certain number of passenger
ships, detailed beforehand for the purpose, and rendered clearly
recognizable, should be used for the transport of Americans to
England; but though this scheme was embodied in the German Note
of 8th July, it was at once rejected at Washington. Any assent
to it would no doubt have involved a further departure from the
principles laid down by the American Government--principles which
it desired should be generally accepted, but which had already been
in some measure compromised. The vessels which it was suggested
should be employed in this service were to be marked in red, white
and blue stripes, and as barbers' shops in the United States are
decorated in this manner, they were called "Barber Ships."

On the 21st of July, the final American Note on the _Lusitania_ case
was dispatched. The Washington Government modified their position to
the extent that they recognized the legality of submarine warfare,
provided that before the sinking of any merchant ship, the crew and
passengers were given a chance to leave in safety; in the main,
however, the Note maintained the original American point of view.
It read as follows:

"If a belligerent cannot retaliate against an enemy without injuring
the lives of neutrals as well as their property, humanity as well
as justice and due regard for the dignity of neutral Powers should
dictate that the practice be discontinued. If persisted in it would
in such circumstances constitute an unpardonable offence against
the Sovereignty of the neutral nation affected ... the Government
of the United States cannot believe that the Imperial Government
will longer refrain from disavowing the wanton act of its naval
commander in sinking the _Lusitania_ or offering reparation for
the American lives lost, so far as reparation can be made for the
needless destruction of human life by that illegal act.

"In the meanwhile the very value which this Government sets upon
the long, unbroken friendship between the people and Government
of the United States and the people and Government of the German
nation, impels it to press most solemnly upon the Imperial German
Government the necessity for the scrupulous observance of neutral
rights. This is a critical matter. Friendship itself prompts it to
say to the Imperial Government that repetition by the commanders
of German naval vessels of acts in contravention of those rights
must be regarded by the Government of the United States when they
affect American citizens as deliberately unfriendly."

The first act of the German-American negotiations on the subject
of submarine warfare thus closed with this open threat that war
would follow any further action by Germany on the lines of the
torpedoing of the _Lusitania_.

I think it well to reproduce here four of my reports, dated from
Cedarhurst, a suburb of New York, where the Embassy usually had
its headquarters during the hot summer months.

  (1) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, June 9th, 1915.

"The political outlook in America appears at present as calm as a
summer's day. The position abroad is perhaps reacting on internal
affairs to some extent, as Mr. Wilson, as is usual in this country,
considers foreign affairs primarily from the point of view of their
influence on the prospects of next year's presidential campaign.

"The tide of anti-German feeling aroused by the _Lusitania_ incident
is still running pretty high, but it may now be regarded as certain,
that neither the President nor the American people want a war with
Germany. Mr. Wilson, then, will, I believe, have public opinion on
his side, if he can find an honorable solution to his differences
with us, and make use of this solution as the basis for a peace
movement on a large scale. I am now even more convinced than I was
a short time ago, at the time of my long interview with him, that
the President's ideas are developing in this direction, and that this
is the cause of his suddenly taking up the Mexican question again,
as he hopes to find in it a means of diverting public opinion. I am
unwilling to give any grounds for exaggerated optimism, but my recent
observations incline me to the belief that the President and his
Cabinet are more neutral than is commonly supposed. England's influence
here is tremendous, permeating as it does through many channels,
which we have no means of closing; but the Central Government,
none the less, is really trying to maintain a neutral attitude.
It is an astonishing thing, no doubt, but well established none
the less, that all influential Americans who come from New York,
Boston, and Philadelphia, the English headquarters in this country,
to Washington, complain about the pro-German feeling there. I feel
sure in my own mind that the Government hopes, by reviving the
Mexican question, to diminish the export of arms and munitions to
Europe. Public opinion, apart from the anti-German clique, would
probably welcome such a move, as it is widely felt that the traffic
in arms and munitions is hardly consistent with the continual appeals
to humanity sent out all over the world from Washington. My general
impression, as will be seen from the above, is that Mr. Wilson
considers his best chance of re-election lies in bringing peace
to Europe and restoring order in Mexico; for the latter purpose
he will probably employ General Iturbide, who spent the whole of
last winter in New York and Washington. He was at one time governor
of the district of Mexico City, where he acquitted himself with
courage and credit. He impressed me personally as a man of great
ability. He should be able to find sufficient partisans in Mexico
to enable him to raise an army, and the bankers of New York would
be prepared to advance him the necessary sums. General Iturbide
enjoys the full confidence of the present Administration, but only
the future can show whether he will succeed in establishing a stable
Government in Mexico, without the intervention of the United States."

  (2) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, 12th June, 1915.

"Since the publication of President Wilson's second Note on the
_Lusitania_ incident, the daily Press has been busy with conjectures
as to the real reasons for Mr. Bryan's resignation. It is generally
agreed that the Note itself could hardly have been the occasion of
the Cabinet crisis; as Bryan had concurred in the first Note, and
there was no reason, therefore, why he should not have assented
to the second one as well. On the other hand, no one can believe
that the controversy with Germany was in reality simply an excuse
for a personal trial of strength between Wilson and Bryan, after
the manner of the earlier rivalry between Taft and Roosevelt.

"Bryan has now published in the _World_ a manifesto addressed to
the German-American community defending his attitude in this matter;
but it is fortunately couched in terms which are unlikely to find
favor in the eyes of those for whose benefit it was written. It
would certainly be undesirable from our point of view that Bryan
should be regarded as the champion of the German cause in this
country; no useful result could follow from such advocacy. We must
use all our efforts to come to an understanding with Mr. Wilson,
if possible without compromising our present point of view; he is
undoubtedly at the moment the most influential man in the country,
and if he is antagonized we shall be powerless against him!"

  (3) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, July 2nd, 1915.

"In spite of the English interference with the American mails reported
here to-day, I hope that the reports dispatched in the ordinary
course of my duty have all reached your Excellency safely. In case
they have not done so, I may report that since my audience with
Mr. Wilson, the removal of the 'agitator' Dernburg, the mission
of Meyer Gerhardt, and the arrival of the Press telegrams from
Berlin giving details of the last-named, things have been pretty
quiet generally; the situation has reverted to the normal, and will
remain normal if our next Note shows a conciliatory disposition.
I might even go further, and say that the _Lusitania_ incident,
taking it all in all, despite the manner in which we dealt with it,
has exercised and will exercise in the future a favorable influence
on our mutual relations. Of course it has brought us into even
greater odium with our avowed enemies; Anglophile 'Society' in New
York, Philadelphia and Boston is infuriated, and the Wall Street
magnates are little better; but these two cliques have always been
inveterate supporters of England. The Government has lost ground
for the first time as a result of the _Lusitania_ incident, and
it now fully realizes the importance of these questions of sea
warfare; whereas when I first spoke in February, March and April
to various exalted personages about the submarine campaign and
kindred matters, no one would listen to me, and the full seriousness
of the situation was quite unrealized. Now, however, 'the freedom
of the seas' has become the test question of American politics.
Every preparation has been made to take energetic measures with
regard to England if our answer to the last American Note renders
further negotiations possible. Even the New York Press has become
more reasonable, and capable of discussing war questions impartially;
and this was notably the case over the torpedoing of the _Armenian_.
In a word, at no time since the outbreak of war have the omens
been so favorable for a rational policy on the part of America."

  "Cedarhurst, July 22nd, 1915.

"If we ask what have-been the results of our eleven weeks' negotiations
over the _Lusitania_ incident, and which involved the employment
of all our available arts of persuasion, we may well reply that
we have, despite our grave difficulties, averted the severance of
diplomatic relations and the inevitable war that must have followed.
The former possibility, at all events, was at one time considerably
more probable than most people in Germany are aware of.

"There could have been but one opinion among those I who saw and
felt it as to the popular attitude of mind during the first few
weeks following the _Lusitania_ incident. In such circumstances
we had only one possible resource left to us, to gain time, and
hope for the restoration of a more friendly disposition in this
country. The continuation of negotiations rendered this contingency
possible; and so matters eventually turned out.

"We can hope for further results only if the American Government
decides to institute simultaneous negotiations with Berlin and
London, with the object of bringing about a settlement. Our own views
and those of America are radically divergent, and no mere one-sided
discussion between us can bridge the gulf. The American Government
went too far in its first Note to allow of its withdrawing now;
although it admits our submarine campaign to have been a legitimate
form of reprisal against the English hunger blockade, it still
persists in holding us responsible for damage to American lives
and limbs resulting from these reprisals. Put briefly the demands
of the United States are therefore:

"1. A full apology in some form or other, and indemnification for
the lives lost in the _Lusitania_.

"2. An undertaking that no passenger ships shall in future be sunk
without preliminary warning.

"The latest Note from America, which is already on its way to Berlin,
will in a sense bring the negotiations to a conclusion, as the
Government want to have a definite basis of agreement which may
form the foundation of their discussions with England. In my
conversations with Mr. Lansing I have been given to understand
that the Government wish to know verbally or in writing whether
we are in a position to incline somewhat to the American point of
view, and whether we can see our way to assist the present Government
to secure by means of joint conversations with Germany and England
the freedom of the seas, which has always been the main object
of Mr. Wilson's endeavors."

Dr. Dernburg returned to Germany in the middle of June, having
been provided, by request of the American Government, with a safe
conduct from the Entente. I went to New York to take leave of Dr.
Dernburg and invited a few friends to dinner in the roof-garden of
the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the eve of his departure. One incident
of our gathering may be regarded as typical of the atmosphere of
these _Lusitania_ days: a party of people for whom the next table
to ours had been reserved refused to take it, as they declined
to sit down in the neighborhood of Germans.

After Dr. Dernburg's departure I deemed it advisable, in view of
the popular hostility towards us, to redistribute the greater part
of Dr. Dernburg's duties. I did so, therefore, in agreement with
the Foreign Office, and with the assistance of Dernburg's former
colleague, Councillor Albert took over, in addition to his former
business with the Central Purchasing Company, all financial and
economic affairs, and was attached to the Embassy as commercial
adviser. Dr. Alexander Fuehr became Chief of the Press Bureau and
Captain Hecker took over the duties connected with the German Red
Cross. Unfortunately the generosity of many in America, and particularly
those of German descent, has not been fully recognized or appreciated
by the people of Germany. The total sum remitted to Germany for our
Red Cross and other similar societies amounts to over 20,000,000
marks. The disillusion of our people at home when they realized
the slight political influence exercised by the German-American
element in the United States has led them to overlook their great
achievements in the cause of charity, which were inspired by a
heartfelt sympathy with the sufferings of the German nation.



A few days after the dispatch of the last American Note concerning
the _Lusitania_ incident, on July 21st, 1915, Mr. Lansing asked
me to call on him. He then told me that the American Government
had come to the end of its resources, and if any further cases
occurred of loss of American lives by the torpedoing of merchant
ships, war must inevitably result. The United States Government
intended to write no more Notes, which had been proved useless,
but would request me to undertake further negotiations in person.
My action in the _Lusitania_ incident had given proof of my earnest
desire to avoid war, and the American Government were confident
that I should succeed, even under such difficult conditions in
finding some way out of the present _impasse_.

From this time onwards, Mr. Lansing agreed with me that, as a regular
thing, I should be permitted, whatever negotiations were going on,
to send cipher dispatches to my Government through the channels
of the State Department and the American Embassy in Berlin. It
will be remembered that a similar privilege had been granted me
at the time of the _Lusitania_ incident.

My sole ground of hope for success lay in one passage of the American
Note of July 21st, which read as follows:

"The Government of the United States and the Imperial German Government,
contending for the same great object, long stood together in urging
the very principles on which the Government of the United States
now so solemnly insists. They are both contending for the freedom
of the seas. The Government of the United States will continue to
contend for that freedom from whatever quarter it is violated,
without compromise and at any cost. It invites the practical
co-operation of the Imperial German Government at this time, when
co-operation may accomplish most, and this great common object can
be most strikingly and effectively achieved. The Imperial German
Government expresses the hope that this object may in some measure
be accomplished even before the present war ends. It can be.

"The Government of the United States not only feels obliged to
insist upon it, by whomsoever it is violated or ignored, in the
protection of its own citizens, but it is also deeply interested
in seeing it made practicable between the belligerents themselves.
It holds itself ready at any time to act as a common friend who
may be privileged to suggest a way."

It seemed possible to reach some sort of agreement on the basis
of the above request from America that we should co-operate in
endeavoring to restore the freedom of the seas; but there remained
the question of finding a formula which should serve as a basis
for the settlement of the _Lusitania_ question and prevent any
repetition of such incidents.

I was aware that there were two political counter-currents in Berlin:
the one party desiring at all costs to prevent war with the United
States, the other preferring to risk war for the sake of continuing
the submarine campaign. I was clearly bound to co-operate with
the first named, as I was convinced that America's participation
in the war would certainly result in our eventual defeat; this
view was, I knew, that Von Jagow, Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, whose opinion on this point was identical with mine. Up
to January 31st, 1917, however, I could never ascertain which of
these two views was the accepted one in Berlin, although, of course,
I always hoped that the party of common sense would eventually
prevail, nor was I able to discover what degree of success, if
any, Meyer Gerhardt, who had been sent to represent my views to
the authorities in Berlin, or Dr. Dernburg, who was working for the
same end, had managed to achieve. As will be seen from my account
of the subsequent course of events, my information on this point
was very insufficient, and I was not even made acquainted with the
views of the Berlin Government, on the conduct of the submarine
campaign, or on the subsequent peace proposals put forward by the
President. I was never informed beforehand as to the real intentions
of Berlin, and I cannot understand, even to-day, why I was not
told, until after the _Arabic_ incident, that the German submarine
commanders had been instructed immediately after the torpedoing
of the _Lusitania_ not to attack liners. A knowledge of this fact
at the time would have assisted me greatly in my dealings with
Washington. I do not intend to assert that in all this there was
any deliberate neglect on the part of the Berlin Government but
neither, on, the other hand, can I credit the commonly accepted
explanation that the technical difficulties of transmitting reports
were insuperable. It should have been possible to give me definite
information on these matters by any one of the various channels
of communication which were available between the Foreign Office
and the Embassy at Washington. No other explanation is possible,
except that which is to be found in the conflict of the two parties
in Germany. The head of the Foreign Office was well aware that my
policy in Washington was the same as his own in Berlin, but he
was frequently unable to send me definite and early information
because he, himself, could not tell whether his own views could
be accepted and acted upon.

At this time I sent the following report to Berlin:

  "Cedarhurst, 28th July, 1915.

"I have on more than one occasion respectfully begged your Excellency
to be so good as to wait for my report before deciding whether the
last American _Lusitania_ Note is to be answered, and if a reply is
to be sent, in what sense it should be drafted. Neither the Government
nor public opinion considers such a reply absolutely necessary, so
that there is no danger in delay; but I respectfully request that
I may be permitted at all events to undertake further negotiations
here, verbally and confidentially, even if my instructions have
to be sent by letter. Experience has proved that negotiations,
if they are to have any prospect of success with the American
Government, must be carried on in Washington. Both President Wilson
and Mr. Lansing are now prepared to attempt to reach an agreement
by this means. In Germany, where the tone of the American Note
must have appeared unnecessarily abrupt, this fact is perhaps not
realized the explanation of course is that Mr. Wilson was carried
away by the popular excitement over the _Lusitania_ incident, and
was, thus, compelled to adopt an intransigent attitude, from which
he cannot now recede, without making his position impossible here.
Then besides the resignation of Mr. Bryan, and that unfortunate
telegram of Dr. Dumba's, which has become known here has convinced
him that we are not in earnest. Finally, he wishes to come to some
kind of settlement with us by means of this exchange of Notes,
in order that he may then turn his attention to England; and his
well-known pride confirms him in the view that only after he has
concluded his negotiations with us, can he take up the matter with
her. It should be clearly understood that Mr. Wilson does not want
war with us, nor does he wish to side with England, despite all
statements to the contrary in the Press of the Eastern States. This
Press, in agreement with other powerful and influential circles
is Anglophile to a degree and not altogether averse to a war with
Germany; but this view is not shared by Mr. Wilson, or the large
majority of the American people.

"The great danger of the present situation is that we may be driven
to war, either by the efforts of this Press, or by a new _Lusitania_
incident. What Mr. Wilson wants is to satisfy public opinion here,
by the serious tone of the Note sent to us, and at the same time
to induce us to make certain concessions and thus carry out his
darling project of the freedom of the seas, by finding some middle
course between the German and English views. In his last note,
the President has certainly modified his views in our favor by
his admission that submarine warfare is legitimate, whereas he
formerly maintained that it could not be regarded as permissible
from the point of view of international law.

"It is not my business, even were I in possession of all the necessary
facts, to say whether it would be better policy from our point of
view, to reply to this Note, or to leave it unanswered; I can only
describe the situation, as it appears to me at the moment. From
that point of view the decision must depend very largely on the
results which we expect to follow from the submarine campaign. If
this campaign is regarded as an end in itself, and we are justified
in believing that it can bring about the overthrow of England, it
would be wiser to leave the American note unanswered, and carry on
with the submarine campaign and turn a deaf ear to neutral protests.
If, on the other hand, this campaign is only a means to an end,
the end being the removal or slackening of the British blockade
restrictions, then I beg respectfully to urge that it would be
worth our while to make some concessions to President Wilson's
convictions, in the hope of achieving our object through his
co-operation. He is reported by a witness in whom I have complete
confidence, to have said: 'If I receive a favorable answer from
Germany I will see this thing through with England to the end.'

"Before this report reaches your Excellency, Wilson's Note will
have been delivered to the English Government. If this is couched
in as peremptory a tone as the one addressed to us, then I urgently
recommend that we should endeavor to come to an agreement with the
American Government on the basis of the following draft note. I hope
that your Excellency will send me an authorization by wireless--it
should be sent in duplicate for greater safety's sake--to enter
into negotiations on this basis; I believe that I can guarantee
to find a satisfactory principle to serve as a weapon for Wilson
in his attack on England. If we show ourselves ready to help him
out of his present difficulties, I am sure he for his part will
energetically prosecute against England his design of vindicating
the validity of international law. 'It can be,' said the President
himself in his last Note. In these three words may be seen the
conviction of Mr. Wilson, that he can impose his will upon England
in this matter.

"As I have already reported, I earnestly hope that it will be decided
to reply to the American note; and a reply should, to my mind,
deal with these three points:

"(1) Settlement of the _Lusitania_ incident. In this connection
it would be well to state that from the point of view of reprisals
we were entirely justified in attacking the _Lusitania_. In so
doing, however, we had no intention of taking American lives, and
deeply regret that through a combination of unfortunate circumstances
this has actually occurred. If any distress still exists among the
survivors of the disaster, we should be quite prepared to leave the
amount of financial compensation to be decided by a later agreement.

"(2) We propose in the future course of the submarine campaign to
abide by the practice recently adopted. As things stand at present,
the arrangement is that no liner is to be torpedoed without warning.

"(3) We should be prepared to support to the utmost of our power
the efforts of President Wilson, to insist on the observation of
the dictates of international law during the present conflict,
and leave it to his discretion to enter into conversations to this
end with the British Government. The Declaration of London might
serve as a basis for these conversations, more especially as it
was drawn up at the time by the American Government.

"If we act in accordance with these my respectful recommendations,
the breakdown of the negotiations with England is the worst that
can happen; and then it would be clear for all the world to see
that our enemies were to blame for this breakdown, and Mr. Wilson
would come over to our side. Knowing the President as I do, I have
not the slightest doubt of this."

I gather from the account in Karl Helfferich's "World War," Vol.
II., p. 322, that the Secretary of the Treasury in Berlin was in
favor of this policy, which I held to be the only possible one.
When he stated, as before mentioned, that his proposal had found
no support from the Foreign Office, I was much astonished.

I was instructed to commence negotiations verbally and confidentially
with Mr. Lansing on these lines, and was convinced myself that
these would lead to nothing, so long as we persisted in carrying
on our submarine campaign on the old lines. Policy should be based
on what is possible; now it was not really possible to unite these
two contradictory methods, and to come to an understanding with
the United States over the freedom of the seas, and at the same
time to bring her to agree to the continuation of submarine warfare
on the existing lines. We were bound to decide once for all on the
one policy or the other. I supposed that Berlin had decided for
the former course of action, as I knew that our submarine commanders
had lately been ordered to arrange for the rescue of noncombatants
before torpedoing merchantmen, and I was confirmed in my supposition
by the very fact that I had been authorized to open conversations
with Mr. Lansing.

Scarcely had these conversations begun, when on August 19th the
passenger steamer _Arabic_ was sunk, and again some American lives
were lost. Excitement at once attained a high pitch, and once more
we seemed to be on the brink of war.

On August 20th I dispatched by one of my usual routes the following
wire (written for reasons of safety in French) to the Foreign Office:

"I fear I cannot prevent rupture this time if our answer in _Arabic_
matter is not conciliatory; I advise dispatch of instructions to
me at once to negotiate whole question. Situation may thus perhaps
be saved."

At the same time, without writing for instructions, I explained
both officially and also through the Press that on our side the
United States would be given full compensation, if the commander
of the _Arabic_ should be found to have been treacherously dealt
with. It was my first preoccupation to calm the public excitement
before it overflowed all bounds; and I succeeded in so calming
it. The action I thus took on my own responsibility turned out
later to have been well advised, as, although I did not know this
at the time, the submarine commander's instructions had, in fact,
been altered as a result of the disaster to the _Lusitania_.

On the 24th of August, in accordance with instructions from Berlin,
I wrote to Mr. Lansing the following letter, which was immediately

"I have received instructions from my Government to address to you
the following observations: Up to the present no reliable information
has been received as to the circumstances of the torpedoing of
the _Arabic_. The Imperial Government, therefore, trusts that the
Government of the United States will refrain from taking any decided
steps, so long as it only has before it one-sided reports which my
Government believe do not in any way correspond to the facts. The
Imperial Government hopes that it may be allowed an opportunity
of being heard. It has no desire to call in question the good faith
of those eyewitnesses whose stories have been published by the
European Press, but it considers that account should be taken of
the state of emotion, under the influence of which, this evidence
was given, and which might well give rise to false impressions. If
American subjects have really lost their lives by the torpedoing
of this ship, it was entirely contrary to the intentions of my
Government, which has authorized me to express to the Government of
the United States their deepest regrets, and their most heartfelt

Fortunately, as already mentioned, orders had been given before
the torpedoing of the _Arabic_, to all submarine commanders that
no liner should be sunk before preliminary warning had been given,
and the non-combatants had been placed in safety, unless any ships
tried to escape or offered resistance. At the end of August I received
an official statement to this effect, intended for my use in the
negotiations over the _Lusitania_ question. This statement caused the
first hitch in these negotiations. The American Government regarded
the term "liner" as comprising every steamer plying on recognized
routes as distinguished from the so-called "tramp steamer." The
German Naval authorities, on the other hand, averred that their
reservation only applied to the large ships of the regular passenger
services. However, this divergence of opinion only became important
at a later date, and was not for the moment an obstacle to our

On the other hand, it was certainly unfortunate for us that up to
the 31st January, 1917, neither of the two contending parties in
Berlin were able to gain complete control in the matter of policy.
I, myself, was never in favor of the submarine campaign, because
I was convinced that it could not fulfil its avowed object, and
would probably involve us in hostilities with the United States;
but bad as this policy was, it would have been better to follow
it consistently than to halt between two opinions.

The submarine campaign was in the end gradually and unwillingly
sacrificed, owing to our desire to placate the United States. If we
had made a clean sweep of it, once and for all, after the _Lusitania_
incident, or, at any rate, after the sinking of the _Arabic_, as we
actually did after the torpedoing of the _Sussex_, considerable
advantages would have been gained from the diplomatic point of view.
To my mind, there was now only one thing to be done--to abandon
our pretensions that the submarine campaign was being conducted
in accordance with the recognized principles of cruiser warfare,
laid down by international law, and to offer compensation for the
loss of the _Lusitania_ and the _Arabic_. Having done this, we
could then proceed to recall to the American Government their
oft-expressed original view of the freedom of the seas. As a matter
of fact, immediately after the settlement of the _Arabic_ incident,
Mr. Lansing sent a peremptory Note to England. But the prospect of
any favorable result for ourselves from this exchange of Notes was
never fulfilled, as our methods of war at sea always resulted in
fresh incidents and fresh conflicts. There was, of course, a second
possibility: that is, while persisting in the submarine campaign to
recognize that it was inevitably bound to lead to friction with
America, and to discount all the ensuing consequences.

Neither of these two courses was consistently followed in our policy.
We were for ever trying to square the circle, and to conduct a submarine
campaign which should be from a military point of view effective,
without at the same time leading to a breach with America. The order
that "liners" should not be torpedoed under any circumstances was
regarded simply as a piece of red tape, and not applicable to war
conditions, as the submarine was not in a position to distinguish
through its periscope between "liners" and other craft. We thus
contrived at one and the same time to cripple our submarines, and
yet to fail to give satisfaction to America. Probably the German
Government did not venture in face of public opinion in the country
to desist altogether from the use of submarines.

It has been said that "the freedom of the seas" was an unattainable
ideal, a mere phrase, a red herring drawn across our track; but
it was in reality none of these things. America attached to this
phrase a definite and concrete meaning; namely, the abolition of
the law of capture at sea, and I am convinced that after the World
War America will yet fall out with England over this question,
and will not rest till she has achieved her object. Certainly the
original sin of the United States against the spirit of neutrality
lay in the fact that she suffered the violation of her admitted
rights by England's interference with the reciprocal trade of the
neutral States. Messrs. Wilson and House often talked with me about
this matter of the law of capture at sea. It would be a complete
misconception of American policy to deny that in this phrase, "the
freedom of the seas," one of their dearest desires found expression.

When I informed Mr. Lansing confidentially at the end of August
of the latest instructions to our submarine commanders, he was
much gratified, but explained at once that the fact of its being
confidential would deprive the information of all its value; something
must, at all costs, be done to reassure public opinion. I could
not but admit that the view of the Secretary of State was correct
in this respect. The factor of public opinion obviously appeared
of less importance in Berlin than in Washington; besides, I knew
from experience that no secret could be kept in Washington for
long, and that in a few days this, our first sign of yielding,
would be common knowledge. I thought it best, therefore, to get
the full diplomatic advantage from the new situation, and took it
upon myself, on September 1st, to publish my instructions. This
exercise of initiative got me a reprimand from Berlin, but I attained
my object none the less, in that I avoided any immediate danger
of war.

Concerning these negotiations the following correspondence took
place with Berlin:

  (1) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, August 30th, 1915.

"I have tried to wire reports to your Excellency by the route placed
at our disposal, and inform you as to the progress of the negotiations
between myself and Mr. Lansing over the _Arabic_ incident. In
consequence of the instructions given to me and the information given
by your Excellency to the Associated Press in Berlin, the general
situation here has taken a turn for the better. The prospect of war
is becoming more remote; there are signs of returning confidence
on the Stock Exchange, and I have even succeeded in inducing the
Press to see things in a more reasonable light.

"Thus up to the present, everything seems to be going well, and a
rupture of diplomatic relations appears once more to be indefinitely
postponed. None the less, our difficulties are really much greater than
at the time of the _Lusitania_ incident. The American Government's
intentions are undoubtedly peaceful, and the case of the _Arabic_,
involving as it did the loss of only two American lives, may be
said to be in itself comparatively unimportant. There are other
factors, however, to be considered. Both the Government and the
people are beginning to have shrewd suspicions, which for reasons
of policy they refrain from expressing at present, that we cheated
the United States in the matter of the _Lusitania_, that we spun out
the discussion as long as possible, and then replied to President
Wilson's last and most peremptory Note, by torpedoing the _Arabic_.
I am convinced that Mr. Lansing, who is an able lawyer, and as a
result of his American training alive to every possible move of
an opponent, expects us to follow the same policy over the matter
of the _Arabic_. He has thus no great confidence in our good faith,
though the President, I am told, is more optimistic, his friend
House having informed him that his policy of the 'freedom of the
seas' commands general assent in Berlin. The facts of the situation,
then, are that the President will not permit any procrastination
in the negotiations over the _Arabic_ affair, for should no more
satisfactory conclusion be reached now than was the case after
the _Lusitania_ incident, Wilson would forfeit the respect of his
countrymen, and would have no other resource but to forego his
cherished design with what face he might, or else break off diplomatic
relations with Germany. There can be no doubt in the minds of any
who are well versed in American affairs that he would elect for
the latter course. The Spanish-American War arose out of just such
a situation.

"The following conclusions result from the above: I gather from
the Berlin reports of the Associated Press that your Excellency
has decided to settle the present dispute with the United States
on the lines which I have respectfully suggested to you. If this
be so I urge the utmost expedition in the matter, that confidence
here may be restored, and the way opened for negotiations with
England. It is not so much a matter of making apologies or giving
explanations, but rather of making a full statement to this Government
as to the instructions given to our submarine commanders. If we can
prove by this means that after the _Lusitania_ incident, orders
had been given to attack no passenger ships while negotiations with
the United States were going on, or to do so only under certain
conditions, all outstanding questions could be solved without


  "Berlin, September 10th, 1915.

"_Daily Telegraph_ of September 2nd publishes what purports to
be extract from your aforesaid letter to Mr. Lansing, informing
him of instructions issued to submarine commanders. Extract ends
as follows:

"'I have no objection to your making any use you please of the above

"If _Daily Telegraph_ has reproduced your letter correctly, above
statement is contrary to instructions, which authorized you only to
give information confidentially to American Government. Premature
publication in American Press places us in difficult position here,
especially as no official report of actual contents of your
communication to Mr. Lansing has reached us. I beg that you will
kindly furnish an explanation.

  (Signed) JAGOW."


  "Cedarhurst, October 2nd, 1915.

"Reference your wire No. A 129 of September 10th, I ask your Excellency
to be kind enough to pardon me for having taken upon myself to act
on my own responsibility over the submarine question. The position
at the end of August rendered some action to pacify public opinion
imperative, if a breach were to be avoided. Owing to the difficulties
of communication with Berlin I could do nothing but acquaint Mr.
Lansing with a portion of my instructions concerning the case of
the _Lusitania_--the only ones which had then reached me. I at once
reported my action to your Excellency in my wireless message, No.
179, and in a previous telegram, No. 165, and requested approval
of my action; probably these messages have been delayed in transit,
or have not reached Berlin. In further explanation, I may add that
in this country, confidential matter, in the European sense, does
not exist, and such matter can never be kept a secret from the
Press. Sometimes I have been able to come to an agreement with the
Government over the wording of their _communiqués_ to the Press;
that is one of the great advantages of conducting the negotiations
on the spot. Had the whole American Press entirely refused to accept
our official explanations, nothing further could have been done
with the Government."

While my negotiations with Mr. Lansing in Washington for a simultaneous
settlement of the _Arabic_ and _Lusitania_ questions were still
in progress, a memorandum was handed to Mr. Gerard, the American
Ambassador in Berlin which purported to justify the action of the
offending submarine commanders. Thus the situation once more became
acute. The contents of this document were as follows:

"On August 19th a German submarine held up the English steamer
_Dunele_ about sixty miles south of Kinsale, and having ordered
the crew to leave the ship, were about to sink it by gun-fire when
the commander observed a large steamer heading directly towards
him. This latter, which afterwards proved to be the _Arabic_, bore
no ensign, or other marks of neutrality, and was thus obviously an
enemy. Approaching nearer, she altered her original course, and
again made directly for the submarine thus leading the commander
of the latter to suppose that she was about to attack and ram him.
In order to parry this attack, the submarine dived and fired a
torpedo which struck the ship. The submarine commander observed
that those on board got away in fifteen boats.

"According to his instructions, the German commander was authorized
to attack the _Arabic_ without warning, and without allowing time
for the rescue of her crew, in case of an attempt at flight or
resistance. The action of the _Arabic_ undoubtedly gave him good
grounds for supposing that an attack on him was intended. He was the
more inclined to this belief, by the fact that a few days before, on
the 14th, he had been fired at from long range by a large passenger
steamer, apparently belonging to the British Royal Mail Steam Packet
Company, which he saw in the Irish Sea, but which he had made no
attempt to attack or hold up.

"The German Government deeply regrets that loss of life should have
resulted from the action of this officer, and it desires that these
sentiments should be conveyed more particularly to the Government of
the United States, as American citizens were among the missing. No
obligation to make compensation for the damage done can, however,
be admitted, even on the hypothesis that the submarine commander
mistook the intentions of the _Arabic_. In the event of an insoluble
difference arising on this point between the German and American
Governments, the German Government suggests that the matter in
dispute should be referred to the Hague Tribunal as a question
of international law, in accordance with Article 38 of the Hague
convention for the peaceful solution of differences between nations;
but it can do so only with this reservation, that the arbitrator's
award shall not have the validity of a general decision as to the
international legality or otherwise of the German submarine warfare."

The following three reports or telegrams dispatched by me to the
Imperial Chancellor describe the situation in Washington at this

  (1) CIPHER

  "Washington, September 14th, 1915.

"Lansing has given me permission to wire you by this route, without
the messages being seen by him; he will also forward your Excellency's
reply, and from this it appears to be the Government's view, that
any further exchange of Notes, the subsequent publication of which,
in both countries, would merely involve further misunderstandings,
is bound to lead to a breach. It considers the present system of
confidential negotiations with me as the only promising method of
arriving at an agreement. The memorandum on the _Arabic_ is not
understood here, and in so far as it is understood, is considered
to be a manifestation of German bad faith--a sign that we may perhaps
give way in principle, but will always in practice seek to evade
our obligations thus incurred.

"Lest this telegram should, by its length, give offence to the
British, Mr. Lansing is forwarding the evidence in the _Arabic_ case
to Mr. Gerard for transmission to your Excellency; he is himself
quite convinced that the submarine commander was not compelled in
self-defense to torpedo the _Arabic_, and that his action in so
doing was therefore unjustified. He hopes that your Excellency
will after study of the evidence, agree with him in this.

"To obtain full and complete agreement it is first of all necessary
that I should be empowered to publish in full those instructions
given to our submarine commanders in so far as these were not given
in my previous summaries on the matter. If we still consider ourselves
bound to maintain that the officer concerned in the _Arabic_ case
was only obeying orders, we can never hope to come to an agreement,
for no one can possibly feel any confidence in the sincerity of our
intentions. In the meantime I shall try to reach a settlement on
the matters now in dispute by means of arbitration. Finally, the
question of compensation must, in accordance with my instructions
for the _Lusitania_ case, be referred to the Hague Tribunal.

"I am quite certain that if we fail to reach an agreement, severance
of diplomatic relations cannot but follow.

"Lansing will not reply to the _Arabic_ memorandum, and, as I said
before, will conduct the diplomatic exchanges on this matter only
through me. He considers this as the only possible course on the
ground that Wilson and I are alike committed to the policy of 'the
freedom of the seas.'

"Finally, I may observe that everyone here would be much gratified
if we could see our way to extend the scope of our latest instructions
to our submarines so as to include all merchant shipping. It is
argued that these vessels are slow moving and could easily be warned;
the advantage of acting without warning is only of importance in
the case of swift passenger ships, which we have, none the less,
undertaken not to attack without notice. The suggested proposal,
therefore, could not harm us; it would, on the other hand, make us
very popular here and give the United States a very strong position
in her negotiations with England. Of course, I may be able to effect
an agreement without this. The main point in dispute is the verdict
on the action of the commander in the _Arabic_ case, because this
involves the whole question of our good faith. Anyway, there is
no doubt whatever that a second _Arabic_ case is bound to result
in war."


  "Cedarhurst, September 22nd, 1915.

"As position is still very difficult, I am carrying on conversations
in strict confidence through personal friend of Wilson's. Request,
therefore, that no directions be sent as regards question of
responsibility for _Arabic_ incident, till your Excellency hears
again from me. Lansing at present gone on leave. Personally I do not
believe that I shall manage to secure International Commission of
Inquiry. According to present view, main point of dispute is question
of disavowing action of submarine commander. I hope, however, that
after reviewing American evidence, your Excellency will be able
to find formula for such disavowal, agreeable to both Governments,
especially if I can get concurrence of Wilson before press gets
hold of it. Request, therefore, that American correspondents in
Germany be told nothing more than that American evidence being
carefully gone into in Berlin."


  "Cedarhurst, September 28th, 1915.

"The negotiations about the submarine campaign are at a standstill
at present. From the fact that Lansing has not been recalled from
leave and that President Wilson does not seem over-eager to give
an opinion on the proposals which I have put forward for his
consideration, I consider myself justified in concluding that the
Americans do not consider the situation to be any longer critical.
Even the Press is no longer agitated, as in all recent cases of
attack by German submarines. Their commanders have acted quite in
accordance with our assurances. Under these circumstances Mr. Wilson
may possibly fall in with our proposal that the particular case of
the _Arabic_ should be dealt with by an International Commission
of Inquiry. In any case, some means must be found of finishing once
for all with the _Arabic_ and _Lusitania_ incidents; only then
shall we be in a position to see whether President Wilson will
keep his word, and take energetic measures _vis à vis_ England.

"The Anglo-French Loan Commission, assisted by their agency, the
Morgan group, are working at high pressure. Stories of Allied victories
in Europe are sedulously spread abroad in order to enlist the support
of public opinion. Despite these efforts the commission found Chicago
so invincibly hostile that they were compelled to proceed there in
person, but they will probably, in any case, manage to raise a
loan, as the Morgan group are quite strong enough for the purpose.
The rate of interest they are demanding is very high, as up till
now they have financed all English purchases here. By these means,
they are, no doubt, making considerable profits, but in order to
secure them, they will, of course consolidate their floating debt
and unload it on to the public. The only question is to what extent
they will be able to do this. Opinion varies as to the size of
England's present debt; a prominent banker here, in close touch
with the Morgan group, estimated the total to 500,000,000 dollars;
if this estimate is correct, a loan of 500,000,000 dollars would
only just cover the liabilities hitherto existing.

"The Morgan group certainly had to make two great concessions:
first, that the proceeds of the new loan shall not be employed
for the purchase of munitions, and second, that Russia shall be
excluded from the loan; only by these means could they overcome the
opposition of the German-Americans and the Jews. Our Jewish friends
here are in no easy position. Their action, or rather inaction,
takes the form of what is commonly known as 'egg-dancing,' or
'pussyfooting'; they wish to stand well with all sides, but have
not the courage of their convictions, and are very anxious to make
money. All this is very easily understood, when one remembers the
ambiguous position of these gentlemen. A regular devil's dance
around the 'Golden calf' is now going on here. All the European
Governments are coming to buy in the American market, and usually
paying double for their goods, as they only purchase what they
urgently need. _One lesson_ we may learn for future reference from
the present state of affairs, and that is that we must not allow
ourselves again to be left to the tender mercies of the German-Jew
bankers here. After the war, we must have branches of our large
banks in New York just as we have in London. All evidence goes
to show that New York will then be the center of world-finance,
and we should, therefore, take all steps to act on this assumption
as soon as possible."

The Foreign Office in Berlin, who naturally wished to avoid a rupture
with the United States, accordingly dispatched to me the following
telegraphic instructions:

"We have no doubt that in this instance submarine commander believed
_Arabic_ intended to ram and had every reason for such belief. However,
German Government prepared to give credence to sworn evidence of
English officers of _Arabic_ and agree that in reality no such
intention existed.

"Attack of submarine thus was unfortunately not in accordance with
instructions; communication to this effect will be made to commander.
German Government is for sake of final settlement by friendly agreement
prepared without admission of responsibility from point of view of
international law, to give indemnification for death of American
citizens. Your Excellency is empowered to notify American Government
of above, and to negotiate with them in case of acceptance concerning
amount of compensation, subject to our concurrence. Confidently
expect that incident will thus be finally liquidated, as above
is limit of possible concessions."

"The American Government during verbal negotiations with me on this
matter considered it essential that a phrase expressing Germany's
disapproval of the commander's action should be incorporated in the
explanation which I proposed to publish. I was not sure whether
I was really authorized by the above instructions to comply with
this condition, but in view of the fact that it was the only hope
of avoiding a breach and further delay in the negotiations would
profit us nothing, as we were bound to make some sort of reply to
the American demand within a certain definite time, I acted once
more on my own responsibility and gave the following explanation
to Mr. Lansing:

"The Government of his Majesty the Kaiser, in its orders with which
I previously made you acquainted, has so framed its instructions to
its submarine commanders as to avoid any repetition of incidents
such as that of the _Arabic_. According to the report of the officer
who sank the _Arabic_ and his sworn evidence, together with that
of his crew, this commander believed that the _Arabic_ intended
to ram the submarine. On the other hand, the Imperial Government
does not desire to call in question the good faith of the English
officers of the _Arabic_, who have given evidence on oath that the
_Arabic_ had no intention of ramming. The action of the submarine
was therefore contrary to orders, and the Imperial Government both
disapproves of it and regrets it. A communication to this effect
has been made to the officer in question. Under these circumstances
my Government is prepared to give compensation for the lives of
American subjects drowned, to their great regret, in the _Arabic_.
I am empowered to discuss with you the amount of this compensation."

The above explanation finally resolved the second crisis. The German
naval authorities naturally complained of my action, as the
"disapproval" stuck in their throats, and I was once more taken
to task--a matter which weighed little with me. For I felt that
my interpretation of the instructions from the Foreign Office was
the only one which could have saved us from war, and that now the
road was open for the final settlement of the _Lusitania_ incident
and the discussion of the great question of "the freedom of the
seas." The outlook for us was most promising. Opinion in America
as a result of the solution of the _Arabic_ question was once more
favorable to us. A leading American paper, the _New York Sun_,
said at this time in its leading article:

"The successful issue of the conversations with Germany over the
submarine campaign cannot fail to be of benefit to an nations,
as a proof of the possibilities of diplomacy as against war. It
has been a personal triumph for both the participants, President
Wilson and Count Bernstorff."

The position of both men has been much strengthened thereby, and
what they have already achieved is no doubt only a presage of still
greater results in the future.

The following four reports to the Foreign Office deal with the
settlement of the _Arabic_ case:

  (1) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, October 6th, 1915.

"The settlement of the _Arabic_ case reported to your Excellency
in my wire, has caused great satisfaction in all circles here. Of
course a few avowedly Anglophile papers, such as the _New York
Herald_ and the _New York Tribune_, reveal the cloven hoof, and
are clearly disappointed that a rupture of diplomatic relations
between America and Germany has been averted; for the rest, at
no time since the outbreak of war have we had such a good Press
as at this moment.

"History alone will be in a position to say whether the settlement
of the _Arabic_ case really prevented a war with the United States or
not; but your Excellency knows my views that without this settlement
a conflict must eventually have become inevitable. I respectfully
submit that the preservation of peace alone was a sufficient motive
to induce us to come to terms; but you also know that this was by
no means my sole object. I wished also to induce the Government
of the United States to take energetic proceedings against England,
with the object of translating into fact its idea of the freedom
of the seas. I trust we shall not be disappointed in this regard,
and I shall, certainly, leave no stone unturned to keep Mr. Wilson
on the right path. Whatever may be one's personal opinion of the
President, whether one believes him to be really neutrally-minded,
or not, his great services to the cause of peace cannot be denied.
A Republican President would certainly not have stood up, as he
has done, against the united forces of anti-Germanism represented
by Wall Street, the Press, and so-called Society.

"At the present moment it looks as if the American Government are
ready to let the _Lusitania_ matter drop altogether, provided we
agree to refer the question of compensation to the Hague Tribunal
after the war. The general belief here is that judicial proceedings
are out of the question during the continuance of hostilities. At
least I gather as much, indirectly, of course, from one of the
President's friends."

  (2) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, October 15th, 1915.

"I much regret that owing to a mistake on the part of the State
Department, your Excellency was not earlier informed of the settlement
of the submarine question. Mr. Lansing left my letter, which should
have accompanied the telegram, in his writing-table by mistake,
for which oversight he afterwards apologized to me. The Imperial
Embassy was in no way to blame.

"The importance attached by the President, from the very first,
to those main points on which we were unable to make concessions
rendered the task of arriving at an agreement by no means an easy
one. Thus on three of the most important points no agreement has
been reached and over these we must, for the present, draw the
veil. Only a few of the most rabid of the pro-English papers venture
openly to reproach President Wilson with having achieved nothing
but the security of passenger-ships, but all Americans are prepared
to admit in confidence that the Government has completely departed
from its original position.

"The three important questions still in dispute, as mentioned above,
are the following:

"(1) The German Government's responsibility for American lives lost
in the torpedoing of British Ships.

"(2) The responsibility for the payment of compensation for the
American lives so lost.

"(3) The American demand that _all_ merchant ships should be warned
by our submarines before being attacked.

"This demand was at first so worded as to imply that submarines,
like other warships, had only the right of search.

"The Government, realizing that we could not make concessions on
the above three points, had to be content with our admission that
the case of the _Arabic_ should be regarded as exceptional. This
very fast rendered it impossible to reach a similar settlement
in the case of the _Lusitania_, in which no error on the part of
the submarine commander concerned could be adduced. However, the
Government seemed to be only too satisfied to have come so well
out of their difficulties, and have no wish to raise any further
obstacles because of the _Lusitania_ incident. This matter, as
I have already had the honor to report, may now well be left to
drag on indefinitely, and can be referred in the end to the Hague
Tribunal after the war. Our Press should, therefore, be warned that
further discussion of the controversy between Germany and America
over the submarine campaign is undesirable."

  (3) CIPHER

  "Cedarhurst, October 20th, 1915.

"Your Excellency's last wireless requested me to render a report
on the settlement of the _Arabic_ question. I have already complied
with these instructions, and the documents are now on their way
to you, and should have reached you. However, it may be advisable
to explain briefly the more important points of the matter.

"From the date of the sinking of the _Lusitania_, America has always
been on the verge of breaking off diplomatic relations with us.
The German people, I am convinced, have no idea of the full danger
of the situation, at least, if one may judge from our Press. On
two occasions we were compelled to sacrifice individuals in order
to avoid a breach, Dernburg and Dumba being our scapegoats. Their
mistakes would under normal circumstances have been overlooked,
but their removal was at the time necessary in order to give the
American Government the opportunity of showing its strength without
breaking off diplomatic relations with us.

"As I have more than once explained in my reports, no solution
of the _Lusitania_ question, agreeable to the Americans, could be
found, so long as we were not prepared to admit the responsibility
of the Imperial Government for the disaster, or its obligation
to make reparation, and so long as our views on the principles
of submarine warfare differed from those held by the American

"By dint of drawing out the negotiations as long as possible, and
by the employment of all my persuasive powers, I succeeded in tiding
over the moment of _acute_ tension. Then came the incident of the
_Arabic_. My laboriously constructed diplomatic edifice came tumbling
about my ears, and things looked blacker than ever. The American
Government regarded the _Arabic_ incident most seriously, believing
as they did that it was typical of the whole German policy _vis-à-vis_
America. They argued that either the whole affair had been prearranged
as a manifestation of our intention to have our own way in the
matter of submarine warfare, or else it was a blunder which could
be dealt with in the ordinary course of diplomacy. Negotiation
became possible when your Excellency notified this Government that
satisfaction would be given in the event of the submarine commander
being proved to have acted contrary to his instructions. Further
negotiations followed on this basis, and it was finally agreed
that we should admit the exceptional nature of the _Arabic_ case,
without yielding our ground on the main points. Such agreement would
have been impossible had President Wilson adhered to his previous
position, but he wished to have done with the whole business, and
could only do so by throwing dust in the eyes of the American public.
He hoped by these means to get rid of the _Lusitania_ incident
unostentatiously, and told me, through one of his personal friends,
'to let it drift.' The idea at the back of his mind is that it
shall be left to an international tribunal sitting after the war,
to decide whether we shall pay compensation or not.

"The only really important question as regards the settlement of
the _Arabic_ case, is whether it is worth while for us to risk a
rupture of relations with the United States, for the sake of this
affair. I still persist in my opinion, that it would infallibly
have led us into a new war."

  (4) CIPHER

  "Washington, 1st November, 1915.

"Your Excellency's last wire on the matter of the submarine campaign
raises two points of the highest importance.

"First, as to Wilson's policy of the 'freedom of the seas;' this
has been the idea underlying all our recent negotiations over the
submarine warfare. Our agreement with this policy has been constantly
emphasized in all my conversations with leading men here; but it is
of course necessary carefully to choose our moment for the public
declaration of our agreement with Wilson's point of view, as people
here naturally fear that if England believes us to be behind any
agitation for the freedom of the seas she will resist it all the
more firmly. I respectfully recommend, therefore, that we should
leave Mr. Wilson to carry on his present controversy with England,
for the present at all events, unaided. We shall lose nothing by
so doing, and if an opportunity comes for our participation, we
can make use of it.

"After this expression of opinion, let me pass on to the second
point I have always clearly stated here, that we reserve to ourselves
full liberty of decision, if England refuses to receive our advances.
At present, now that the _Arabic_ case has been recognized as
exceptional, this 'freedom' is only being encroached upon from
one direction as we have undertaken not to sink passenger ships
without warning, etc. By this undertaking we must abide, unless
we wish to go to war with the United States of America. Any future
destruction of passenger ships with Americans on board, especially
if such took place without warning, and with the approval of the
Imperial Government, would inevitably cause a rupture."

The political sky in the United States was thus becoming more propitious
day by day; but our enemies' exertions for the purpose of undermining
the present friendly relations, redoubled in proportion. The German
Embassy became the chief object of attack, owing to the fact being
clearly realized by our foes, that so long as its influence in
Washington political circles remained unimpaired, no rupture of
diplomatic relations could be hoped for. Entente diplomacy left no
stone unturned which could be of service against us; lies, robbery,
personal defamation, gossip, were all used to discredit us.

The conduct of a British officer on duty in Washington affords
a good example of the unscrupulous policy of our foes. According
to the evidence of Dr. Fuehr, this gentleman, now holding a high
position in London, attempted in the early months of 1916 to corrupt
a messenger of our Press Bureau in New York, one Alfred Hoff, whose
daily duty it was to take newspaper cuttings to Councillor Albert's
office. Two of his people stopped this boy in the street and invited
him to the British Consular offices; here he was received by the
Captain himself, who showed him a bag filled with bank notes and
promised him a liberal reward, if he would undertake to obtain
some letters from Dr. Fuehr's desk. Hoff pretended to fall in with
this suggestion, but at once informed his employer of the incident.
The Captain then made a second effort to bribe Hoff by the promise
of a money reward for every document from the Press Bureau, and
also a ride in a motor for the letters which it was his duty to
take from the Bureau to the German Embassy at Cedarhurst, during
the coming summer. One of the British agents told Hoff that he would
be well paid if he handed over the letters of Dr. Fuehr, which he
often used to seal and frank, and also certain other documents of
a specially confidential nature. Dr. Fuehr finally put an end to
this unsavory episode, which had been fully investigated by private
detectives, by publishing a detailed account of the whole affair in
the Hearst papers. At the same time he brought the matter before
the Public Prosecutor, who, however, was unwilling to interfere in
the matter unless it should be further discussed in the Press. This
limited comprehension of duty Dr. Fuehr could hardly be expected
to agree with.

During my encounters at this time with the Entente, I entirely lost
any respect I may previously have felt for their moral character,
which was reputed to be so high. I came then to realize that we
could expect nothing better from them in the hour of our defeat,
than a Peace of Versailles, which would make of no account all their
earlier loftier professions. We, in Washington, were therefore,
in duty bound, to strain every nerve to avert such a catastrophe to
our country. Unfortunately the activities of the agents dispatched
from home invariably deranged our plans in a most unfortunate manner,
and, while affording our foes the desired opportunities for damaging
our cause, achieved nothing of advantage in compensation. The English
Secret Police, and all the detective agencies of the United States
which were in their pay, were always at our heels, endeavoring
to establish some collusion on the part of the German Embassy in
these isolated cases of sabotage. However, all this subterranean
plotting and counter-plotting was but so much lost labor. It was
the decision on the policy of continuing or not continuing the
submarine campaign which finally turned the scale.

At the beginning of August one of these agents managed to steal a
portfolio of documents from Councillor Albert while he was traveling
on the New York elevated railway, and its contents were published
in the _World_ from the 15th of August onwards. We always thought
the perpetrator of this theft was an Entente agent, but it now
appears from Senator Frelinghuysen's evidence before the Senate
Committee of Enquiry on 13th July, 1919, that the guilty individual
was really a member of the American Secret Police. It would certainly
have been an unheard-of thing for an American agent to have robbed
a member of the diplomatic corps and sold the proceeds of his deed
to the Press. Probably what really happened was that the man was in
the pay of the Entente. The investigations at the Senate Committee
disclosed a number of cases of corruption and theft which the agents
of the Entente did not scruple to use in their efforts to compromise
and discredit the German Embassy; so this supposition is in itself
by no means improbable. The affair was merely a storm in a tea-cup;
the papers as published afforded no evidence of any action either
illegal or dishonorable; otherwise the American Government would
certainly have demanded the recall of Albert as they did later
in other cases. The Press manufactured a considerable sensation
out of the contents of the portfolio, but generally speaking the
efforts of the Entente in this affair proved completely without

The Entente agents, however, were more successful in their next
attack, to which the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador fell a victim.
Dumba had already in the winter of 1914-15 recommended to me the
American war correspondent James Archibald, who had been at the
Austro-Hungarian Front, as having German sympathies. Thereupon I
also recommended this gentleman in Berlin, where he was granted all
facilities. In the Summer of 1915 Archibald returned to America, to
lecture on his experiences. As he was anti-Entente, these lectures
brought us financial profit, and therefore we paid Archibald's
traveling expenses. At the beginning of September, 1915, he went
once more to Europe, and dined on the eve of his departure with
Dumba and myself on the roof-garden of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in
New York. By this means our personal connection with Archibald
was openly recognized. The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, confiding
in his character and his American nationality, gave him certain
political reports which were not even in cipher, to take to Vienna.
Archibald had also offered to take papers to Berlin for me. I,
however, declined with thanks, as I scented danger, and I would
have warned Dumba also, if I had known that he intended to entrust
dispatches to Archibald. The English seized the latter in Kirkwall
and took away all his papers.

Since then I have never set eyes on Archibald, and I could not
help suspecting that there was something uncanny about the case.
By arresting Archibald the English undoubtedly thought they would
compromise me. I cannot prove that there was anything wrong with
Archibald, but in all the circumstances he could easily have destroyed
the papers, had he wished to do so. In the meanwhile a report was
found among the dispatches of the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador
transmitting to his Government a memorandum from the Hungarian
journalist, Warm. In this note Warm recommended propaganda to induce
a strike among the Hungarian workers in arms and munitions factories,
and demanded money for this object.

The statement of Dumba's report that the Ambassador had shown the
suggestion to Captain von Papen, who had thought it very valuable,
was very compromising for us.

The German Military Attaché was therefore placed in an awkward
position; the letter contained several other blazing indiscretions.
Thus, for instance, in one paper Dumba described President Wilson
as self-willed, and von Papen in a letter to his wife spoke of
the "imbecile Yankees."

As I previously mentioned, the position of the Austro-Hungarian
Ambassador was much shaken by the Dumba-Bryan episode. His defence,
that he had only forwarded the note of an Hungarian journalist,
without identifying himself with it, was not favorably received by
the American Government. A few days later his passport was presented
to him; at the same time the Entente granted him a safe conduct.

Previous to his departure from New York similar scenes took place
to those which followed the sinking of the _Lusitania_.

The Hotel St. Regis, in which the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador lived,
was surrounded day and night by innumerable reporters.

When I called on him there to take leave of him, I had to make
use of a back entrance to the hotel in order to avoid numerous
impertinent questions. Dumba himself was followed at every step
by reporters, who among other things often chased him for hours
on end in motor-cars.

In the meanwhile Rintelen (mentioned in the fifth chapter) had
been taken prisoner in England. Further, the case of Fay led to
a disagreeable discussion in public, and lastly action was taken
against the Hamburg-Amerika Line for supplying our squadron of
cruisers with coal and provisions. Thus it was easy for the Entente
agents to establish connection between these offenders and the
Military and Naval Attachés of the German Embassy. How far these
gentlemen were really implicated I did not know at the time, nor
do I now. In this they must plead their own case. As far as I am
concerned both gentlemen always denied that they in any way transgressed
against the American law. It cannot, however, be denied that they
were, in fact, compromised by their relations with these guilty
parties; I do not think that anything beyond this can be authenticated.

Captain von Papen's reputation, therefore, suffered from the time
of the Dumba-Archibald incident; both he and Captain Boy-Ed were
constantly attacked in the anti-German Press, and accused of being
behind every fire and every strike in any munition factory in the
United States. The _New York Herald_ and the _Providence Journal_
took the leading parts in this business. At the same time a campaign
was begun against the German-Americans, who were accused of being
practically without exception disloyal citizens of the United States.
All the various incidents, accusations, so-called conspiracies,
etc., were grist to the Entente's mill, and were exploited to the
full. Congress was about to assemble, and it was therefore to be
expected that the Government would take steps to strengthen its

Mr. Lansing asked me on 1st December to call on him and informed me
that the American Government had requested that von Papen and Boy-Ed
should be recalled, as they were no longer _personoe gratoe!_

To my inquiry as to the reasons for this action, Lansing refused
to reply; he merely remarked that any Government was within its
rights in simply stating that a member of a diplomatic corps was
not _persona grata_. In the course of further conversation, however,
I discovered one thing at least, that Capt. Boy-Ed was supposed to
have been conspiring with the Mexican General Huerta--an obviously
baseless charge, considering that Boy-Ed had never made the acquaintance
of the ex-President. It is true, however, that Rintelen had had
dealings with Huerta, and it was known that Rintelen had received
from Boy-Ed the sum of half a million dollars previously mentioned.

My first message--written in English--to Berlin on this affair ran
as follows:


  "Washington, 4th December, 1915.

"In an official Note of to-day's date American Government, as stated
in previous conversations with me, request immediate recall of
Military and Naval Attachés, on the ground of various facts brought
to notice of Government, particularly implication of these Attachés
in illegal and doubtful activities of certain individuals within
United States. Government deeply regrets necessity for this step, and
trusts Imperial Government will understand that no other course seems
to them to be compatible with the interests of the two Governments
and their reciprocal friendly relations."

I also telegraphed as follows to my Government on September 5th:

"Explanations of von Papen and Boy-Ed herewith as requested by Military
and Naval Authorities:

"'State Department request my recall. Reasons for this given to
Ambassador. Case of Stegler and my two supposed meetings with Huerta.
Stegler case settled since March. Stegler in matter of his pass
proved a liar. Had nothing to do with his transactions; not the
least proof that I ever had; see my report No. 4605, March 20th, and
others. I have never in my life met Huerta; I have never concerned
myself with Mexican affairs in any way; I have never to my knowledge
acted contrary to the interests or laws of the United States.
Conjectures and absurd newspaper stories about me result of English
influence and money. Must therefore request my recall be considered


"'No illegal action can be laid to my charge; demand for recall
unjustified. Importance of military interests of our enemies here
renders necessary effective representation of Central Powers, so
long as America officially neutral. Therefore it should be insisted
on that American Government secure safe-conduct for my successor.


In view of the approaching session of Congress, the Government,
on December 5th, published the fact that they had demanded the
recall of the Attaches. This fact, with slight foundation for the
American Government's suspicions, made a bad impression in Berlin;
I went therefore, to see Mr. Lansing on December 8th, and obtained
from him this letter:

"As I have already stated, the demand for recall of the two Attachés
of your Embassy was made as a result of the careful investigation of
a number of facts and circumstances, which convinced this Government
that they could no longer consider these two officers as _personoe
gratoe_, and that their continued residence in the United States
was, therefore, no longer compatible with diplomatic propriety.
This being the considered and deliberate view of this Government,
it would seem that the mere fact of Captains von Papen and Boy-Ed
being no longer acceptable, should have been sufficient justification
for their immediate recall by the German Government without further
discussion. The expectations of the United States Government, in
this respect, were in accordance with all diplomatic precedent
in cases where such requests have been made, and there seemed to
be, therefore, no reason why this demand should have been kept a
secret. It is regretted that the Imperial Government should have
regarded the publication of the American request as an act of
discourtesy towards itself. The United States Government does not
share this view of its action, and, therefore, cannot be expected
to express its regret for having acted as it has done.

"This Government is surprised that the Imperial Government should
not have complied at once with its request for the recall of the
two Attachés, who are no longer _personoe gratoe_ here. It
seems to me obvious that whatever may have been the reasons for
such request, it is for this Government, and not for the German
Government, to say whether the charges alleged against the members
of a German diplomatic mission appear sufficiently well-founded to
justify action such as that now taken. In other words, the causes
of the demand are legitimate and sufficient, as being based on
suppositions or suspicions of undesirable activities on the part
of these two officers.

"In any case, the fact remains, that Boy-Ed and von Papen are no
longer acceptable to this Government.

"As I already apprised you by word of mouth, and in my letter of 4th
of this month, the relations of the two Attachés with individuals who
participated in illegal and questionable activities, are established.
The names of von Wedell, Rintelen, Stegler, Buröde, Archibald and
Fay may be mentioned as some of those who have transgressed against
our laws. I could also name other men and cite other examples of
their activities, but as these are at present the object of an
official inquiry, I, by this means, should only prevent the arrest
of those who violated our laws and still continue to violate them.

"Although I have already said that this Government does not want
to do anything further than to request the recall of Boy-Ed and
von Papen, since they are no longer _personoe gratoe_, I,
nevertheless, do not desire to go beyond the above declaration; so
that your Government may be in a position to institute an inquiry
into the manner of dealing with your Attachés, should it wish to
do so. If I should go into further details on this matter I might
interfere with the inquiry which is now being taken up by this
Government, dry up very valuable sources of information, and thus
hinder the course of justice. On the other hand there might thus
be raised other grounds for suspicion, serving rather to disturb
than to improve the present friendly relations between the two
countries. I need not tell your Excellency, that it is the sincere
wish of this Government to avoid difficulties of this kind, so far
as may be consistent with its dignity and its responsibilities."

Besides dispatching a copy of the above letter, I wired to Berlin
on 8th December, as follows:


"Convinced that Rintelen is the main cause of the Attachés' recall.
Immediate categorical disavowal is absolutely necessary. Only possible
connection with us is matter of 500,000 dollars, received from the
Naval Attaché and demanded for the exportation of goods."

Thereupon I received the following wireless message in English:


"You are empowered to disclaim connection with Rintelen, who had
no orders to do anything whatsoever, which was an offence against
the American law.


The peculiar relations of the Naval and Military Attachés with
the Embassy had, even in times of peace, often led to diplomatic
difficulties. For instance, it has often happened to us and to
other countries to have to recall Military or Naval Attachés for
spying. The diplomatic standing of the head of the Mission would
not generally be affected thereby, but, in view of the passions of
wartime, and the general tension of nerves, I realized that I might be
compromised by the demand for the recall of the Attachés. I questioned
Lansing outright on this point, and added that I should immediately
hand in to my Government my resignation, if I was considered to
be myself "tarred with the same brush." The Secretary of State
assured me that I was by no means involved, and that I should not on
any account give up my post, since I had to carry on the momentous
negotiations now in course, and the American Government had full
confidence in me. Under the circumstances I saw no reason why the
enforced recall of the Attachés should have any further results, and
I was confirmed in this view a few days later when House repeated
to me Lansing's assurance with even greater emphasis. His exact
words were as follows:

"You must not dream of going home before peace is declared. You
are the one tie that still binds us to Germany. If this tie should
break, war would be inevitable."

Both Attachés returned to Berlin under safe-conduct from the Entente
at the end of December, 1915. Their offices were taken over by
their representatives, but only for the purpose of settling up any
outstanding matters.

At the beginning of 1916, there was in the United States no single
German organization which merited the name of "propaganda." Thus no
activities which could compromise us in any way ensued henceforward.

The political situation had become so serene that we had no need
for propaganda. The pacifist elements in the United States did
this work for us. The only question was as to whether we would
remain really at one with them, or whether we meant to persist in
submarine warfare, which must inevitably lead us into war.

President Wilson opened Congress on 7th December, 1915, with a
message, in which he set forth the new programme for national defence.
"Preparedness" became the order of the day in the United States.
The message demanded that the Army and Navy should be increased,
and added:

"The urgent question of our mercantile and passenger shipping is
closely connected with the problem of national supply. The full
development of our national industries, which is of such vital
importance to the nation, pressingly calls for a large commercial
fleet. It is high time to make good our deficiencies on this head
and to restore the independence of our commerce on the high seas."

In this message may be recognized the second important point in
the Presidential programme for the next election. "Peace and
Preparedness" was to be the battle-cry of the Democratic Party. The
Mexican imbroglio of 1913-14 had proved that the armed forces of
the United States were unequal even to the demands of a comparatively
small campaign; and the American Government, for lack of means,
had been unable to impose its will on Mexico. Now the European
War stirred all imaginations and offered a favorable occasion for
overcoming the prejudices of the pacifist section against military
armaments. It was not so long since the song "I didn't raise my
boy to be a soldier," was sung with fervor all the land over; but
now events had too clearly proved the powerlessness of any but
well-armed nations even to follow their own lines of policy; and
the necessity of a mercantile marine of their own grew daily clearer
to the people of the United States. Hitherto the Americans had
always found enough of foreign vessels for the transport of their
goods, had found it cheaper to make use of these facilities than to
supply their own under the conditions existing in the States. Now,
however, the shortage of merchant tonnage was acute, and American
goods were piled roof high in all the warehouses of New York harbor.
It was clear that now or never was the time to seize the chance
afforded by the war of persuading Congress to sanction the provision
of a strong Army and Fleet.

The Presidential message also touched on the "conspiracies," but
without any mention of the German Embassy's supposed share in them.
The period of these so-called "conspiracies" thus closed with a
sharp reprimand addressed by Mr. Wilson to the German-Americans,
and with my official recommendation to the Germans in the United
States to abstain from all forms of illegal action. The after-effects
of this period, however, may be traced in the subsequent lengthy
trials of the various offenders. I cannot be sure that since the
beginning of 1916, not one single incident which could be comprised
under the term "conspiracy" came to light; but these trials and
Entente propaganda kept the recollection of such affairs alive, and
the American war propaganda service had no difficulty subsequently
in retelling the old tales which, but for the entry of the United
States into the war, would have passed into oblivion.

The paragraphs of the message dealing with this subject ran as follows:

"We are at peace with all the nations of the world, and there is
reason to hope that no question in controversy between this and other
Governments will lead to any serious breach of amicable relations,
grave as some differences of attitude and policy have been and may
yet turn out to be. I am sorry to say that the gravest threats
against our national peace and safety have been uttered within our
own borders. There are citizens of the United States, I blush to
admit, born under other flags, but welcomed by under our generous
naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America,
who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of
our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good
name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries
wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to
strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign
intrigue. Their number is not great as compared with the whole
number of those sturdy hosts by which our nation has been enriched
in recent generations out of virile foreign stocks; but it is great
enough to have brought deep disgrace upon us and to have made it
necessary that we should promptly make use of processes of law
by which we may be purged of their corrupt distempers.

"But the ugly and incredible thing has actually come about and we
are without adequate federal laws to deal with it. I urge you to
enact such laws at the earliest possible moment, and feel that in
doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and
self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty
and anarchy must be crushed out. They are not many, but they are
infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over
them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have
entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government,
they have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the
Government in order to serve interests alien to our own. It is
possible to deal with these things very effectually. I need not
suggest the terms in which they may be dealt with."

The message, up to a point, maintained an impartial attitude, for it
not only blamed the German-Americans but continued in the following
words, aimed solely at the many Americans in London and Paris who
disapproved of Wilson's policy of peace and neutrality:

"I wish that it could be said that only a few men, misled by mistaken
sentiments of allegiance to the governments under which they were
born, had been guilty of disturbing the self-possession and
misrepresenting the temper and principles of the country during
these days of terrible war, when it would seem that every man who
was truly an American would instinctively make it his duty and
his pride to keep the scales of judgment even and prove himself a
partisan of no nation but his own. But it cannot. There are some
men among us, and many resident abroad who, though born and bred in
the United States and calling themselves Americans, have so forgotten
themselves and their honor as citizens as to put their passionate
sympathy with one or the other side in the great European conflict
above their regard for the peace and dignity of the United States.
They also preach and practise disloyalty. No laws, I suppose, can
reach corruptions of the mind and heart; but I should not speak of
others without also speaking of these and expressing the even deeper
humiliation and scorn which every self-possessed and thoughtfully
patriotic American must feel when he thinks of them and of the
discredit they are daily bringing upon us."

About the turn of the year 1915-16, the severance of diplomatic
relations between the American and Austro-Hungarian Governments had
become imminent. The Italian liner _Ancona_ was torpedoed on November
7th in the Mediterranean Sea by an Austro-Hungarian submarine and
went down before all the passengers could succeed in escaping; many
lives were lost, American citizens being among them. In consequence,
the Washington Government dispatched to Vienna a Note couched in
far stronger terms than any it had yet sent; demanding that the
action should be admitted to be unlawful and inexcusable, that
compensation should be made, and that the officer responsible should
be punished for his deed, which would be branded by the whole world
as inhuman and barbarous, and would incur the abhorrence of all
civilized nations.

The Austro-Hungarian representative, Baron Zwiedeeneck von Suedenhorst,
found himself in an extremely difficult position. Owing to the fact
that he only ranked as chargé d'affaires, and that his appointment
only dated from Dr. Dumba's departure, he was not empowered to
enter into negotiations. He had always proved himself a very loyal
colleague and acted in close co-operation with me, but in this
instance, as the matter was one solely for Vienna's decision, I
could be of little service to him. I counselled him to telegraph
frankly to his Government, that if the American demands were not
conceded, a breach was to be expected. I was myself inclined to
believe that, as in the case of our Naval and Military Attachés,
Mr. Wilson's real purpose was to give the lie to those accusations
of weakness which the Entente party was constantly casting in his
teeth, and this, I thought, accounted for the unwonted sternness of
the American Note, which seemed absolutely to challenge a rupture.
It was not conceivable that the Austrian Government could swallow
this bitter pill, while from the point of view of the American
Government, the breaking-off of relations would be a real diplomatic
victory; for on the one hand the political situation would remain
unchanged so long as the German Embassy was in Washington, and
on the other hand, Mr. Wilson would have achieved his object and
shown the Berlin Government that his threats of war were seriously

However, the Austro-Hungarian Government, after a short further
exchange of Notes, complied under protest with the American demands.
I learned after my return home that in so doing, they acted under
pressure from the German Foreign Office. Thus, this crisis also
blew over, not, however, without a serious loss of prestige for
the Central Powers, who had been compelled to yield to demands
generally regarded as utterly unacceptable. Nothing could be more
fatal to our position in the world than this alternation of defiance
and submission, which served no diplomatic object and merely betrayed
infirmity of purpose.



In Germany, and particularly before the Committee of the National
Assembly, the American Government has been reproached with _mala
fides_ for having unnecessarily reopened the _Lusitania_ question.
The line of argument is approximately as follows:

After the settlement of the _Arabic_ case one can suspect the obstinate
harping on the _Lusitania_ affair, which had really died down, as
a sign of _mala fides_. Did the Americans want to secure a fresh
diplomatic success against us? They had already carried their principle
with the settlement of the _Arabic_ case; was their object now
to make a still greater splash? The continued possibility of a
conflict with Germany--which was quite within practical politics
if nothing intervened--made a very favorable background to make
clear to American public opinion, in conjunction with a campaign
on the same lines by Wilson himself, the following point: "We must
get ourselves out of this situation pregnant with war by vindicating
our right with both sides."

Apart from the fact that the negotiations on the _Lusitania_ question
had been allowed to hang fire for about six weeks I believe that in
this case we have again underestimated the significance of hostile
public opinion in America. The best way of making clear the situation
in the United States will probably be for me to reproduce here the
telegrams and reports in which I informed Berlin of the reopening
of the _Lusitania_ negotiations.


  Washington, 23rd November, 1915.

Secretary of State Lansing after long hesitation took up the _Lusitania_
question again with me. At the beginning of October I had handed
to him a draft of a letter which contained what I thought myself
able to write to him within the scope of my instructions. This
draft was merely intended to serve as a basis for more detailed
negotiations and was only to be regarded as official in case the
American Government should regard the whole incident as satisfactorily
settled. There was nothing to be gained by stirring up public opinion
again here by publishing documents which were regarded from the
beginning as unsatisfactory.

As I have several times had the honor to report, there is, in my
opinion, no hope of settling the _Lusitania_ question, as the American
Government does not think that it can agree to refer it to a court
of arbitration _now_. They are, however, counting here on a decision
at a later date by such a court, which would be sure to award the
Americans an indemnity, because the Hague court of arbitration
from its very nature is obliged to stand for the protection of
neutral non-combatants. Consequently, Mr. Lansing cannot understand
why we do not pay the indemnity of our own accord and so settle
the whole matter, especially as, in view of our pledge for the
future, it is of no practical importance to us. Mr. Lansing is
primarily concerned with the indemnity, whereas President Wilson
now, as formerly, lays the chief weight on the pledge for the future
and the humanitarian aspect of the question. Mr. Wilson always keeps
his eye fixed on the two closely connected goals: the development
of international law with regard to the freedom of the seas and
the restoration of peace.

Mr. Lansing now reopens the _Lusitania_ question for the following
reasons, part of which he has himself openly stated, and the rest
have become known to me through other channels. In the first place
the Government is afraid of attacks in the impending Congress.
It was, therefore, eminently desirable that it should be able to
inform Congress that something had been done in the _Lusitania_
affair. Even if nothing comes of it they could answer that they
are waiting for a reply from Germany. President Wilson himself
does not believe in the possibility of the question being solved,
and hopes to keep the matter in the air until the conclusion of
peace, provided that public opinion does not become restive or new
eventualities occur. The _Ancona_ affair has had an unfavorable
effect in this respect. Even though it has not aroused any great
excitement, it has caused the whole question to be reopened, and
everyone on this side lays at our door the responsibility for the
Austrian act; for they base their reasoning on the assumption that
the war is directed entirely from Berlin. Whenever mention is made
of the _Ancona_ incident it recalls the fact that the _Lusitania_
question still remains unsettled.

It is a well known fact that we are faced here with an anti-German
ring of great influence. I have repeatedly pointed this out in my
reports. This ring is trying to exploit the _Ancona_ and _Lusitania_
questions with a view to driving into the background the American
Note to England and the British infringements of international
law. The Government is treating this anti-German ring with the
same weakness as are the majority of American private citizens.
They are submitting patiently to terrorization as well as continual
baiting and sneering. The recluse at the White House has, indeed,
great plans, but his freedom of decision is seriously compromised
by his anxiety to be re-elected. He refuses to allow himself to be
drawn into too serious extravagances; and so he certainly deserves
the credit for having prevented war with Germany, but he allows
himself, nevertheless, to be influenced by the anti-German ring
and hampered in the pursuit of his plans.


  "Washington, 2nd December, 1915.

"The Government here have lost their nerve as a result of the impending
Congress, the Hapag case, the _Ancona_ incident, and the explosions and
fires in munition and powder works, and like all private individuals
here are allowing themselves to be terrorized by the anti-German
ring. Hence the anxiety for the recall of Papen and Boy-Ed. The
Government fear that Congress will take the above questions, as
well as the _Lusitania_ affair, into their own hands, and deal with
them in more radical fashion than the Government. This is the reason
for the present demand for the recall--which is intended to serve as
a safety-valve--lest Congress should break off diplomatic relations
with us. Whether there is any real danger of this happening it is
difficult to say. Lansing thinks there is. In any case everything
is possible in the present state of public feeling. They have not
the courage to swim against the stream. Perhaps the recall of the
attachés will still the storm for a time, as was the case with
Dernburg and Dumba; meanwhile everything turns on the attitude of
Congress, who, it is to be hoped, will not be anxious to declare
war on us. Colonel House, who is a good reader of the barometer here,
sees no danger. I, personally, also do not believe that Congress
will decide to resort to extremes on one side,--_i.e._, without
attacking England--for the breaking-off of diplomatic relations
would certainly be quickly followed by war.

"In any case it is my sacred duty to inform your Excellency that
Congress may produce unpleasant surprises, and that we must, therefore,
be prepared to do _something_ with regard to the _Lusitania_ question.
How far we can approach the Lansing draft it is difficult to judge
from here. It depends in the first place on the state of public
opinion in Germany, for the matter has no further practical importance
since we have pledged ourselves to spare passenger-ships.

"Hitherto my personal relations with the American Government have been
so good that it was always possible to prevent the worst happening.
Lansing volunteered yesterday to send this telegram. But if the
matter once gets into the hands of Congress it will be much more
difficult to exert influence, especially as nothing can be kept
secret here. It is not yet possible to say when Congress will ask
for the _Lusitania_ documents, but it will probably be in a few
weeks' time, provided that no diplomatic understanding can be reached


  "Washington, 7th December, 1915.

"The action that _Congress_ will take with regard to the _Lusitania
question_ is of primary importance for us. It is my opinion that
President Wilson, when he asked for the recall of our two attachés,
had the thought in the back of his mind that Congress would let the
_Lusitania_ question rest for a time, because relations with Germany
are already sufficiently strained and only the rabid pro-English
want war. One cannot, however, count on anything now, because the
anti-German ring are seeking to terrorize all who do not agree
with them. The senators and members of Congress from the west are
certainly more difficult to influence, as their constituents have
only a slight economic interest in the cause of our enemies. It
is also probable that the senators from the south will all stand
by us, because they are very much embittered against England on
account of the cotton question. Nevertheless, we must, as I have
already pointed out by telegram, be fully prepared for further
negotiations on the subject of the _Lusitania_. If we refuse to
give way at all, the breaking of diplomatic relations, followed
by war, is inevitable. In my opinion it is out of the question to
find a formula that will satisfy public opinion on both sides. It
may, however, be possible to find a formula that will skim over the
points of contention, as was done in the _Arabic_ case. In spite
of all the outcry over here there is no doubt that the American
Government and the greater part of public opinion would be only
too delighted if we could find a graceful way of settling the
_Lusitania_ question without a conflict. What is required in the
first place is:

"1. A. declaration on our side that the attack on the _Lusitania_
should be regarded as an act of reprisal and, therefore, not within
the scope of existing international law.

"2. The payment of an indemnity, which in my opinion could be made
without committing ourselves on the question of responsibility.

"President Wilson had hoped that the whole question could be shelved
until after the end of the war. Now the war still drags on, and Mr.
Wilson is afraid of radical intervention on the part of Congress.
Over here it is quite impossible to prophesy. The unexpected is the
only thing that consistently recurs. No one can say what Congress
will do. Meanwhile, it is my duty to describe the situation as I
see it to-day. Whether the _Lusitania_ question is of sufficient
practical importance to allow it to bring upon us the breaking-off
of diplomatic relations and war with the United States I must leave
it to the exalted judgment of your Excellency to decide."

       *       *       *       *       *       *

The American Government had established a basis for the negotiations
with regard to the _Lusitania_ and "the Freedom of the Seas" which
was in our favor when, on the 21st October, they sent a very
circumstantial Note to London in which they demonstrated that the
English blockade was a breach of international law and definitely
stated that this blockade was neither effective, legal nor defensible.
Further, that the United States could not, therefore, submit to an
infringement of her rights as a neutral through measures which were
admittedly reprisals, and, consequently, contrary to international
law. That she could not with equanimity allow her rights to be
subordinated to the plea that the peculiar geographical position
of the enemies of Great Britain justified measures contrary to
international law.

The conclusion of the Note read as follows:

"It is of the highest importance to neutrals not only of the present
day, but of the future, that the principles of international right
be maintained unimpaired.

"This task of championing the integrity of neutral rights, which
have received the sanction of the civilized world against the lawless
conduct of belligerents arising out of the bitterness of the great
conflict which is now wasting the countries of Europe, the United
States unhesitatingly assumes, and to the accomplishment of that
task it will devote its energies, exercising always that impartiality
which from the outbreak of the war it has sought to exercise in
its relations with the warring nations."

The above programme was in accordance with the proposal of the
American Note of 21st July, which had touched on the subject of
co-operation in realizing the "Freedom of the Seas." It was, however,
clear to me, apart from anything else, that the United States would
not expend energy in championing the rights of neutrals so long as
a conflict with Germany threatened. The settlement of the _Arabic_
question gave grounds for hope that the views of the two Governments
on the question of submarine warfare would coincide. This appeared
to me to be the most important point; the American Government,
however, insisted on the settlement of the _Lusitania_ incident,
which I foresaw was going to prove a very difficult problem. Even
in the _Arabic_ affair it was only by my own independent action
that it was possible to avoid a break. The _Lusitania_ question,
however, was much more unfavorable to us because at that time the
old instructions to submarine captains were still in force. I should,
therefore, have been glad to avoid negotiations on the _Lusitania_
question, but Mr. Lansing insisted on a settlement before he spoke
on the future "Freedom of the Seas." The reason for this attitude
of the Secretary of State, as appears in my reports reproduced
above, lay in the state of public opinion. It was unfortunately
impossible for the American Government to carry through the policy
they had adopted in respect to England so long as the _Lusitania_
question was brought forward daily in the American Press.

The negotiations should have been carried through orally and
confidentially between Mr. Lansing and myself. Unfortunately, however,
it was impossible to keep anything confidential in Washington,
particularly as, very much against my wishes, the conversations
were protracted for weeks. The state department was continually
besieged by journalists, who reported in their papers a medley
of truth and fiction about each of my visits. In this way they
provoked denials, and so ended by getting a good idea of how the
situation stood. In addition to this, authoritative persons in
Berlin gave interviews to American journalists, who reported to
the United States papers everything that they did not already know.
Consequently, the negotiations did not progress in the way Mr.
Lansing and I had expected. We wanted to arrive quickly at a formula
and make it known at once. Public opinion in both countries would
then have been set at rest, and the past would have been buried
so long as no fresh differences of opinion and conflict arose out
of the submarine war. The formula, however, was not so easy to
arrive at. The wording of the Memorandum which I was to present
to the American Government had to be repeatedly cabled to Berlin,
where each time some alteration was required in the text that Mr.
Lansing wanted.

The American Government held to the point of view which they had
formulated in the Note of the 21st July, as follows:

"...for a belligerent act of retaliation is _per se_ an act beyond
the law and the defense of an act as retaliatory is an admission
that it is illegal."

The standpoint of the American Note of the 21st July, 1915, shows
clearly the mistake of treating the submarine war as reprisals.
It shows how every surrender of a position compromises the next.

The German Government, on the other hand, refused under any
circumstances to admit the illegality of the submarine warfare within
the war-zone, because they regarded the right to make reprisals as
a recognized part of the existing international law. Further, the
American demand was regarded in Germany as a deliberate humiliation,
as well as an attempt to coerce us unconditionally to renounce
unrestricted submarine warfare once and for all. To have admitted
that the submarine war was a breach of international law would
have involved us in the same unpleasant consequences to which now,
after our defeat, we are compelled to submit. If we admitted the
illegality of the submarine campaign we should have been obliged,
on the conclusion of peace, to meet all the demands for damages
arising out of it.

For the third time, then, the word "illegal" brought us face to
face with a crisis which was within an ace of causing a rupture
of diplomatic relations. The last days of the negotiations turned
out very unfortunately for us. Mr. Lansing and I had agreed upon
a formula in which the word "illegal" did not occur, because my
instructions categorically prohibited its use. In Berlin it was
not yet known that we had arrived at the desired agreement, and
it was there thought necessary to call public attention to the
danger of the situation, and explain the seriousness of the position
in the hope that by this means the American Government might be
moved to adopt a more conciliatory attitude.

On 5th February, Under-Secretary of State Zimmermann gave an interview
to the Associated Press in which he said he did not wish to conceal
the seriousness of the position. That Germany could under no
circumstances admit the illegality of the submarine campaign within
the war-zone. The whole crisis arose from the new demand of America
that Germany should admit the sinking of the _Lusitania_ to be an
act infringing the law of nations. Germany could not renounce the
submarine as a weapon. If the United States insisted on bringing
about a break Germany could do nothing further to avoid it. The
Imperial Chancellor confirmed these statements in a conversation
with the Berlin correspondent of _The World_.

These interviews compromised once more the settlement of the
negotiations, because the American Government were doubtful as to
whether they could allow the word "illegal" to be omitted, after the
sharp difference of opinion between the two Governments had become
public property. The agreement which had been reached voluntarily
now looked like a weak surrender before a German threat. In the
end, however, a compromise was arrived at. I handed to Mr. Lansing
in writing a declaration amounting to an admission that reprisals
were admissible, but that they should not be allowed to injure
neutrals, and that therefore the German Government regretted the
incident and were prepared to offer satisfaction and compensation.
The American Government were willing to confirm the receipt of
this Memorandum and declare themselves satisfied. Fate, however,
had decreed that I should play the rôle of Sisyphus at Washington.
Scarcely were the negotiations terminated when the German Government,
on the 8th February, declared the so-called "ruthless submarine
war," _i.e._ announced to the sea powers their intention of sinking
armed merchantmen without warning and without regard to crew or
passengers. In view of this the American Government refused to
complete the exchange of letters on the subject of the _Lusitania_.
Instead of this there began a new controversy on the question of
"armed merchantmen." My hope of settling the _Lusitania_ question
and then passing on to the discussion of "Freedom of the Seas"
was shattered. This hit me all the harder as I was convinced that
the conversations on the latter question would have developed into
peace negotiations.

The opinion has been expressed in Germany that the breaking-off of
diplomatic relations at this stage was regarded, even in America,
as precipitate, since no really acute provocation had been given.
That it was a shamelessly engineered break after we had in principle
yielded on every point. That the Americans had apparently been
bluffing and continually increasing their demands with a view of
enhancing their own prestige by scoring further diplomatic successes
against us which, in view of the previous course of events, they
could regard as certain.

In this case I do not myself believe that the American Government
were really thinking seriously of breaking off diplomatic relations.
They only wanted to pacify public opinion by a settlement of the
_Lusitania_ question, which was essential before passing on to
negotiations with regard to the "Freedom of the Seas" or to steps
for peace. Threats of war arose only because the negotiations were
protracted for weeks, and the word "illegal" was discussed in the
Press in every possible tone. It was a misfortune that these
negotiations were not carried on--like the subsequent conversations
with regard to peace--in secret. I had actually persuaded the American
Government to give way on the word "illegal," which had become
much more difficult for them owing to the publicity that was given
to the negotiations. Had it not been for the ruthless submarine
campaign the _Lusitania_ question would have been finally buried
and the negotiations could have been continued in a friendly spirit.
Moreover, the so-called ruthless submarine campaign was, according
to the opinion of Admiral von Tirpitz, who was at that time still
in office, although he was not consulted until the decision was
taken, a military farce. He declared the order to be technically
nonsense, and the pompous way in which it was issued as unnecessarily
provocative and a challenge. The whole thing was neither "fish nor

The controversy over the "armed merchantmen" had a prologue which
could only be described as a comedy of errors, were the matter not
so serious. It is well known that the constitution of the United
States allows the President the right of independent political
action. He alone is responsible, and his Secretary of State and
the other Ministers are only his assistants, without personal
responsibility. Mr. Wilson has made much greater use of his rights
in this respect than even Mr. Roosevelt. From the very beginning
his administration was a one-man Government.

In general terms the development of democracy in America amounts
to this, that the electors vest unlimited rights in one man for a
short time, and after that they re-elect or replace him according
to whether he has won or lost their confidence.

Thus arises a sort of temporary autocracy which combines the advantages
of a monarchy and a democracy. Whether this historically developed
system really coincides with our idea of formal democracy is another

However this may be, the political life of a nation is not to be
ruled by catch-words. History is the only builder of state organisms.
No one can foretell in what direction our young democracy will
develop. In view of the indifference of the German people to politics
it may be assumed, however, that it will develop on similar lines
to that of America when we have once accepted the principle of the
election of the President by the people. Such a President will
always possess great power and authority in his relation to other
bodies, while it is probable that the German people will be willing
to leave political affairs in the hands of the man they have elected,
and will even give him charge of their economic affairs. The German
President of the future will certainly find himself involved in the
same differences with the Ministers responsible to the majority
in the Reichstag as the American President has had so frequently
with the Senate. In such cases the American people nearly always
support the President, directly chosen by them, and so bring
corresponding pressure to bear on the Senate.

The brief constitutional diversion from the question of "armed
merchantmen" was to give an opportunity for announcing the surprising
catastrophes which had occurred in the course of the development of
this question. About the end of the year 1915 Mr. Wilson had married
for the second time and was absent for a time from Washington.
Consequently the President seems not to have exerted the same close
control as usual over the political actions of his Ministers. In any
case he had not read, or only hastily glanced through, a Memorandum
on the submarine campaign which Mr. Lansing had handed on the 18th
January, 1916, to the representatives of the Entente, and had not
therefore realized its far-reaching importance. This Memorandum
only came to the knowledge of the Central Powers at a later date,
through the medium of the Press, which had got to know of it from
one of the Entente representatives or through some indiscretion.

The Memorandum went even further than the Note of the 21st July,
1915, and recognized that the use of submarines could not be prohibited
to the combatants after they had proved their value in attacking
enemy commerce. It laid down, however, that the submarine campaign
must, without interfering with its effectiveness be brought into
harmony with the general provisions of international law and with
the principles of humanity. It was, therefore, necessary on the
one side that the submarines should be instructed to conduct their
campaign within the limits laid down for cruiser-warfare against
merchant shipping, _i.e._, they must not sink without first stopping
and examining the ship and giving the passengers and crew a chance
to save themselves. On the other side, the merchant ships were not
to carry arms, since, owing to the nature of the submarines, it
would be impossible for them to conduct their operations on the
lines of cruiser-warfare if the merchantmen were even lightly armed,
as had hitherto been permitted by the principles of international
law for purposes of defense. Under the prevailing circumstances any
arming of a merchant ship would have an offensive character.

The Memorandum concluded as follows:

"I should add that my Government is impressed with the reasonableness
of the argument that a merchant vessel carrying an armament of any
sort, in view of the character of submarine warfare and the defensive
weakness of undersea craft, should be held to be an auxiliary cruiser
and so treated by a neutral as well as by a belligerent Government,
and is seriously considering instructing its officials accordingly."

Although this Memorandum bears no historical weight I deal with it
in detail here because it plated a leading part before the Committee
of the National Assembly as a proof that no confidence could be
placed in Mr. Wilson as a peace mediator.

I have no doubt that the Memorandum was intended to carry on the
policy of the American Notes of the 21st July and 21st October,
1915, which had given rise to the American struggle for the "Freedom
of the Seas." It was not, however, in keeping with Mr. Wilson's
usual methods to make such a sharp thrust at the Entente as the
concluding paragraph of the Memorandum represented, so long as the
negotiations with me on the subject of the _Lusitania_ incident
were not yet concluded and so long as it was not absolutely sure
of the support of public opinion. Just as the Note of the 21st
October, 1915, was not sent to London until the President thought
he had cleared the way with respect to us by the settlement of
the _Arabic_ question, so in January, 1916, he wanted to keep his
hands free until the chance of a conflict with us was past. The
popular saying in America is that Wilson has a single-line brain
and only deals with one matter at a time. Moreover, out of regard
for the state of public feeling in the country the President wanted
to take each political step without being openly coerced by us. It
is not my intention to defend Mr. Wilson's conception of neutrality
to-day, after I have opposed it for years, but I will only attempt,
without any personal ill-will, to contribute to Klio's work of
discovering the real truth. To me personally the matter of paramount
interest today, as at that time, is not what Mr. Wilson did or did
not do, but the question what we ought to have done in the interest
of Germany.

I shall often have to return to the developments which, after the
31st January, 1917, made the President our open enemy. If we wish
to be lovers of truth we must distinguish sharply between the two
periods before and after the 31st January, 1917. It is certain that
Mr. Wilson was never even near to being pro-German. By descent,
education and training he was unconsciously much too much under the
English influence already mentioned. But until the 31st January,
1917, the President had striven to be neutral. All his speeches
testify to this. No un-neutral remark of Mr. Wilson, even in private,
has ever reached my ears. He always resisted the pressure of the
Entente party, in spite of the fact that he was almost entirely
surrounded by anti-Germans. The only one I could mention whose
advice to the President was always definitely neutral was Mr. House.
For the rest in the east of the United States we found ourselves
morally in an enemy country. Every neutral step taken by Mr. Wilson
was immediately hailed as "pro-German." For instance, I am convinced
that the President could never have carried out the threat contained
in the final clause of the Memorandum of the 18th January. Gradually
all the Entente merchantmen were armed. If these were to be treated
in American ports as auxiliary cruisers the whole of American commerce
would of necessity have come to a standstill, for it was already
suffering seriously from lack of freight space. The Entente knew
exactly how much value all Americans placed on their commerce,
and could therefore reject the proposal of the United States with

Nevertheless, it is well worthy of notice that in the Memorandum
of the 18th January, 1916, the legally trained and legally minded
Secretary of State Lansing, as well as Mr. Bryan, brought forward
or attempted to bring forward a different kind of neutrality from
that of the President. The only question is whether Mr. Wilson
could at that time have carried through the Lansing policy. I do
not think so. This does not in itself relieve the President of the
responsibility of not wishing to make such a sharp thrust against
the Entente as was represented by the Memorandum so long as the
negotiations on the _Lusitania_ affair still remained unsettled. Yet
throughout the whole war Holland has never followed the regulations
of the Memorandum. This fact remains. Mr. Wilson did not enforce
the Memorandum because he could not do so without prejudicing the
interests of American commerce. In this case Mr. Lansing was the
neutral advocate and the President the American politician, whose
decisions on foreign questions, as usually happens in the United
States, were actuated by domestic politics.

After the issue of Mr. Wilson's protest against the English blockade,
and in view of the turn that the Lansing action against armed
merchantmen had taken, it can be understood that the German Imperial
Government hence-forward was suspicious of the good-will and power
of the President as a peace mediator. Meanwhile there came a change
in the domestic situation, and this, as I have already mentioned,
is always the decisive factor in the United States in all questions
of foreign policy.

It would have been a good move on our part to wait for the result
of the _Lusitania_ negotiations, and then to give Mr. Wilson time to
take in hand his policy with regard to the "Freedom of the Seas" on
his own initiative. Berlin, however, was always in a hurry to bring
in the new measures of submarine warfare, although the disadvantages
that this would cause us always outweighed the advantages. However,
the Americans themselves will perhaps some day have occasion to
regret that they did not seize the opportunity of the war to insure
the "Freedom of the Seas." If during the five years of war--from
the mobilization to the peace offer and the armistice--we Germans
were always in too great a hurry with our decisions, the American
Government, on the other hand, lost through hesitation many an
opportunity of keeping out of the war. There could be no doubt
that the United States could, as a neutral power, have brought
about a better peace than they have done as the decisive combatant

In January, 1916, there occurred an unfortunate misunderstanding,
which must have strengthened the German Government in their intention
of declaring the unrestricted submarine war. The Austrian representative
had an interview with Mr. Lansing with reference to the _Ancona_
incident, in which he understood the Secretary of State to say that
it would be agreeable to the American Government if the Central
Powers in future regarded armed enemy merchantmen as auxiliary
cruisers. Baron Zwiedineck sent a wireless report of this interview
to his Government via Nauen. As has already been mentioned, all our
wireless messages were read by the American Government departments,
and it had often occurred that objection had been raised. As this
message of Baron Zwiedineck was sent without protest I assumed
that Mr. Lansing had agreed to its contents. Later a confidential
discussion took place between the Secretary of State, Baron Zwiedineck
and myself, on the subject of this incident. Mr. Lansing said that
he had not read the wireless message, as such messages were only
examined by the censor, with a view to seeing that they did not
compromise the neutrality of the United States. Further, he maintained,
that Baron Zwiedineck must have misunderstood him, as he had not
made the statement imputed to him in the message. We did not treat
the conversation as official, in order not to put any greater
difficulties in Mr. Lansing's way than he already had to face as
a result of his Memorandum of 18th January.

The German Memorandum of 8th February, 1915, proclaiming the
unrestricted submarine campaign, was handed to Mr. Gerard in Berlin.
I had for the moment no further negotiations to conduct, as the
_Lusitania_ question was never again reopened and the question
of the "Freedom of the Seas" had been quashed by the unrestricted
submarine campaign.

Meanwhile Colonel House had gone for a second time to Europe, this
time as the official representative of the President. He was in
Berlin just at the time when the second _Lusitania_ crisis reached
its apogee.

I had announced his visit to Berlin, and prepared everything so
that he might have every opportunity for conversation with the
authoritative political personages.

When Colonel House returned to America he told me that the time
had not yet come for the mediation of the United States. He had,
however, had the opportunity to state his views in London, Paris
and Berlin, and had met with the greatest opposition in Paris,
because France had suffered so seriously in the war that she had
little more to lose by prolonging it.

In Berlin, on the other hand, he had found a disposition to agree
to mediation by Mr. Wilson when a favorable opportunity occurred.

In accordance with the wish of the President I had discussed the
peace question exclusively with Colonel House since his second
visit to Europe. This made it possible for the conversations to
be kept strictly confidential. I could call on Colonel House at
his private residence in New York at any time without attracting
attention, whereas the State Department and the White House were
always besieged by journalists as I have already mentioned. As a
rule, I took the night train to New York and called on Colonel
House in the morning, before the Press were aware that I had left

On the 8th March, according to my instructions, I handed to the
American Government a further Memorandum, which set out in concise
terms the German standpoint.

After recapitulating the various phases of the negotiations which
are already known to the reader, it defined the existing situation
with regard to the war at sea as follows:

England was making it impossible for the submarines to carry on
their campaign against commerce in accordance with the provisions
of international law by arming practically all merchantmen, and
ordering the use of their guns for offence. Photographs of the
English orders had been sent to the neutral Governments, with the
Memorandum of the 8th February, 1916. These orders are directly
contrary to the declarations of the English Ambassador in Washington
on the 25th August, 1914. The Imperial German Government had hoped
that these facts would prompt the neutral Governments to carry out
the disarmament of merchant vessels on the lines of the proposals
for disarmament made by the United States Government on 23rd January,
1916. Actually, however, the arming of these ships with guns provided
by our enemies has been energetically pursued.

Advantage was taken by England and her Allies of the American
Government's decision not to keep her citizens off enemy merchant
ships to arm merchantmen for attack. This makes it easy for merchantmen
to destroy the submarines, and, in case of the failure of their
attack, to count themselves secure owing to the presence on board
of American citizens.

The order as to the use of arms was supplemented by instructions
given to the masters of the merchant vessels to fly false colors
and to ram the submarines. The news that prize-money was paid to
successful captains of merchant ships and honors conferred upon
them increased the effectiveness of these orders. The Allies have
associated themselves with these English measures.

Germany now finds herself faced with the following facts:

(_a_) That for a year a blockade contrary to international law
has kept neutral commerce away from German ports and made export
from Germany impossible.

(_b_) That for six months an extension, contrary to international
law, of the laws of contraband has hampered the maritime commerce
of neutral neighbors in respect of Germany.

(_c_) That interference with the post, contrary to international
law, is striving to cut Germany off from all communication with
the outside world.

(_d_) That systematically increased coercion of neutrals, on the
principle that "Might is right," is stopping trade with Germany
across the land frontiers, with a view to completing the starvation
blockade of the non-combatant population of the Central Powers.

(_e_) That Germans who are found at sea by our enemies are robbed
of their liberty regardless of whether they are combatants or

(_f_) That our enemies have armed their merchant ships for attack,
and have thus made impossible the use of submarines in accordance
with the principles of the Declaration of London.

The English White Book, of the 5th January, 1916, with regard to the
restriction of German commerce, boasts that through these measures
Germany's export trade has been almost completely stopped, and that
her imports have been made dependent on the good-will of England.

The Imperial Government may hope that, in view of the friendly
relations that have existed between the two countries for a hundred
years, the standpoint herein laid down will meet with the sympathy of
the people of the United States, in spite of the increased difficulty
of mutual understanding brought about by the conduct of our enemies.

The last words of this Memorandum were vigorously commented on
by the American Press as a proof that we wished to appeal, not to
the American Government, but to the American people, as a result of
the movement which had been set on foot in Congress, and especially
in the Senate, that American citizens should be prohibited from
travelling on the armed merchant vessels of combatant States.

The struggle which was at that time being waged in Congress has
been greatly exaggerated in Germany. At home it was thought that the
weight of opinion in Congress in favor of the warning of passengers
was very great. On the pro-German side in New York it was thought
that Congress was anxious to avert danger of a conflict. If this
could have happened through a yielding on the part of Germany, it
would, of course, have made things much easier for the Americans;
if, however, Germany refused to give way, they thought the United
States would have found a more conciliatory formula, as the country
was seeking before all things to avert war. They believed that the
re-election of 1916 had been largely won through the battle-cry,
"He kept us out of the war," which showed that Congress, with its
love of freedom, reflected the general opinion. It was, moreover,
doubted in the same quarter whether Wilson, as a pacifist candidate
for the Presidency, could declare war at that time, when there
was as yet no definite provocation--as, for example, the Mexico
Dispatch. The theory of this small pro-German group in New York
was that Congress would at that time have done anything to avoid
war, and that they had only accepted the Gore resolution in order
to humiliate the President in the eyes of the world as no head
of a State had ever been disavowed before.

In the same quarter--as also happened before the Committee of the
German National Assembly--the whole question aroused indignation.
It was said that when the Germans read that it had been pompously
brought forward as a point of honor whether a few Americans should
travel by enemy armed vessels, they bristled with anger. It looked
to them as though the alternatives were whether these few Americans
should travel in the war-zone on neutral ships, or whether a great
civilized nation like Germany should go under! The matter developed
from the "too proud to fight" attitude--when Wilson really believed
there was a danger of war, and so drew back--to the tone of February,
1916--when he no longer believed in the possibility of war, but
felt sure that he could subdue us with hard words. They thought it
strange, moreover, to hear Wilson speaking of the gradual breakdown
of the delicate structure of international law. That had resulted
from England's attitude, and in 1812 America had declared war on
the English because of an illegal blockade.

Politics are not to be carried on by indignation, but only with a
cool head and a clear vision for political realities. We could not
alter the American situation, but must strive to conduct ourselves
in such a way as to prejudice the position of the United States as
little as possible.

I had from the beginning little doubt that Mr. Wilson would make
his will prevail, because the domestic position in the United States
made any other issue impossible. The presidential election was
imminent, and the Democratic party had no likely candidate apart
from Mr. Wilson. If a split occurred within the party the Republicans
would be bound to win. Senators Stone and Gore were the leaders of the
Democratic Opposition, while the Republicans in this case supported
the policy of the President, partly because they were on the side of
the Entente, partly because they wanted to assure the interests of
American commerce. As has already been mentioned, Senator Stone had
always maintained a neutral attitude to the last, chiefly because he
was one of the two representatives of Missouri, and could not ignore
the large number of Germans among his constituents. For this reason
he was called by the pro-Entente Press, like the _New York Herald_,
"pro-German Mr. Stone." Senator Gore was a Pacifist on principle,
and thought that the resolution for which he was responsible, to
prohibit Americans from travelling on armed merchantmen, would
avert the danger of war.

The whole Congress story can only be read as a domestic party skirmish,
with a view to the approaching Presidential election; one section of
the Democratic party wanted a candidate other than Wilson. Just as it
was at that time a mistake to expect any advantage from the Congress
Opposition, so to-day a similar mistake is made in Germany, when it
is assumed that the struggle in the Senate over the ratification
of the Peace Treaty has a pro-German background.

The debate in Congress was not in any way connected with an acute
German-American situation. It seems necessary to give here a short
survey of the negotiations, as they appeared from my point of view.
Our first concession occurred after the _Arabic_ incident, our second
later, after the _Sussex_ incident. Between these two there was never
any concession to America on the part of Germany, for the shelving
of the second _Lusitania_ crisis constituted a compromise. Between
February, 1915, and the _Lusitania_ incident we were conducting
an unrestricted submarine campaign, subsequently a limited one,
though this was not known to America until after the sinking of
the _Arabic_; after February, 1916, the unrestricted campaign was
renewed until the _Sussex_ incident, after which cruiser warfare was
begun. This is all that concerned me in this connection. Internal
differences of opinion within the German Government, such as occurred
after February, 1915, did not make their way across the Atlantic;
for instance, the resumption of the unrestricted submarine campaign
in February, 1916, was discussed with me as little as it was with
the American Government itself.

From these facts it is evident that the action of Congress was
of no practical importance for us, for when, after this debate,
the _Sussex_ incident occurred--when, moreover, it was a question
of an unarmed ship--Mr. Wilson was free to issue his ultimatum,
and could also have broken off diplomatic relations, if we had
refused to give way. The American Government had then no thought of
a complete defeat of Germany, such as later occurred, for otherwise
they could easily have found an excuse for coming into the war. At
that time Mr. Wilson was convinced that the war would end in a
peace without victory, for which he intended to use his influence.
The whole question was merely whether we realized these facts and
would avail ourselves of them or not. Our one asset in America
was the disinclination of the majority of the people for war, for
otherwise--as appeared later--it would have been only too easy
for the United States to make war upon us with success.

The President wanted to continue the policy he had adopted hitherto,
by standing firm to the point of view that the submarine war must
be conducted according to the principles of international law, and,
further, was waiting to see whether the unrestricted submarine
campaign would give rise to any further incidents.

In a letter written to Senator Stone, on the 24th February, the
President defined his policy in the following terms:

"You are right in assuming that I shall do everything in my power to
keep the United States out of the war. I think the country will feel
no anxiety about my line of action in this respect. I have devoted
many anxious months to this task under much greater difficulties
than appeared on the surface, and so far with success. The course
which the Central Powers intend to adopt in future with regard
to submarine warfare, as shown by their Memorandum, seems at the
moment to raise insuperable difficulties; but its contents are at
first sight so difficult to reconcile with the specific assurances
which the Central Powers have recently given us as to the treatment
of merchant shipping on the high seas, that I think that explanations
will shortly be forthcoming which will throw a different light on
the matter. We have in the past had no reason to doubt their good
faith, or the sincerity of their promises, and I, for my part, am
confident that we shall have none in the future.

"But in any event our duty is clear. No nation, no group of nations,
has the right, while war is in progress, to alter or disregard
the principles which all nations have agreed upon in mitigation
of the horrors and sufferings of war; and if the clear rights of
American citizens should ever unhappily be abridged or denied by
any such action, we should, it seems to me, have in honor no choice
as to what our own course should be.

"For my own part, I cannot consent to any abridgment of the rights
of American citizens in any respect. The honor and self-respect
of the Nation is involved. We covet peace, and shall preserve it
at any cost but the loss of honor.

"To forbid our people to exercise their rights for fear we might be
called upon to vindicate them would be a deep humiliation indeed.
It would be an implicit, all but an explicit, acquiescence in the
violation of the rights of mankind everywhere and of whatever nation
or allegiance. It would be a deliberate abdication of our hitherto
proud position as spokesmen, even amid the turmoil of war, for
the law and the right. It would make everything this Government
has attempted and everything that it has accomplished during this
terrible struggle of nations meaningless and futile.

"It is important to reflect that if in this instance we allowed
expediency to take the place of principle the door would inevitably
be opened to still further concessions. Once accept a single abatement
of right, and many other humiliations would certainly follow, and
the whole fine fabric of international law might crumble under our
hands piece by piece. What we are contending for in this matter is
of the very essence of the things that have made America a sovereign
nation. She cannot yield them without conceding her own impotency as
a Nation and making virtual surrender of her independent position
among the nations of the world."

Soon afterwards--on the 3rd March--the Senate decided by 68 votes
to 14 to postpone the discussion of the Gore resolution _sine die_.
The struggle had then already ended in a victory for Mr. Wilson
when I handed over the above-mentioned Memorandum.

Regarded from our own point of view, the declaration of the
"unrestricted submarine war" was a serious political mistake, which
was not even justified by the results of the measure. The least we
could have done was to wait for the settlement of the Lusitania
question and the subsequent action of Mr. Wilson. The "unrestricted
submarine war" was not the right way to improve our situation, but
was bound inevitably to lead to a new conflict with America. It
was absolutely impossible for the submarine captains to ascertain
with certainty through the periscope whether an enemy merchant
ship was armed or not. Mistakes, therefore, were sure to arise
sooner or later. On the other hand, the Americans would not refrain
from travelling on enemy passenger ships, as their business took
them mostly to England and France, and there were not enough of
their own or neutral ships at their disposal.

The one hope for the continued avoidance of a conflict was that
the Imperial Government should not withdraw the concessions they
had made on the 5th October, 1915, with regard to "liners," and
that enemy passenger ships should not be unarmed out of regard
for their neutral passengers.

There were, as a rule, no Americans on cargo ships, for there were at
that time few sailors in the United States. From the above-mentioned
letter of Mr. Wilson to Mr. Stone, however, it appeared that the
American Government regarded our concessions as applying to all
merchant vessels, while, as I have already stated, the German naval
authorities had only intended to include passenger steamers.

This misunderstanding might now give rise to a fresh conflict,
even if mistakes on the part of submarine captains were by special
good fortune avoided.



On the 24th March the unarmed passenger-ship _Sussex_ was torpedoed
without warning, and several Americans lost their lives. The first
information about this incident was so vague that the matter was
at first treated in a dilatory fashion in Washington. At the time
I sent the following report to Berlin:


  "Washington, 4th April, 1916.

"During the fourteen months that have passed since the opening of
the submarine campaign there have been intermittent periods in which
the American Government have shown themselves aggressive towards
us, and others in which the now proverbial expression 'watchful
waiting" formed the _Leit-motif_ of their attitude. The past month
belonged to the second category until the sinking of the _Sussex_
and other similar incidents stirred American public opinion to
fresh excitement. Officially I have, during the last four weeks,
heard nothing further from the American side on the subject of
the submarine campaign. During this time Mr. Lansing even allowed
himself a fortnight's holiday for recuperation. On my side there
was no occasion to reopen the submarine question as a complete
understanding with the American Government cannot be attained,[*]
and in my opinion it is advisable to avoid as far as possible any
new crisis in our relations with the United States. I therefore
contented myself with keeping in touch with Colonel House so that
I should not be taken by surprise by any _volte-face_ on the part
of the American Government. As soon as a new crisis arises Mr.
Wilson will, as usual, be in a fearful hurry and bring us to the
brink of war. Whether such a crisis will be precipitated by the
_Sussex_ incident, and whether the President in that case will
shrink from war at the last moment, it is difficult to foretell,
as this question--like all others at the present moment--will be
viewed exclusively from the standpoint of the approaching presidential

[Footnote: *i.e., Without instructions from Berlin.]

"Except for the surprises that are usual over here, things are
at present quite calm. This is due, in the first place, to the
desire for peace shown by the population, who are not anxious to
be disturbed in their congenial occupation of money-making, and
secondly, to the development of the Mexican question. This latter
question stands in the forefront of public interest, and it seems
to be increasingly probable that the punitive expedition against
Villa will lead to a full-dress intervention. A few days ago it
was reported that Villa was defeated, then wounded, and finally
even a prisoner. All this good news proved later to be false and now
Villa is said to have escaped south and won over fresh supporters.
So long as the Mexican question holds the stage here we are, I
believe, safe from an act of aggression on the part of the American

"On the other hand it looks as though Mr. Wilson were looking for
a fresh way out of the _impasse_ into which his attitude on the
question of the submarine campaign has led him. As I have already
had the honor to cable, Colonel House holds out the prospect of an
early move towards peace by the President. The view is entertained
here, and strengthened by the impressions gathered from Colonel
House, that gradually the stress of circumstances will force all
the neutral Powers into the war. If this happens there will be no
further prospect of the conclusion of peace, as there will be no
one available to set the ball rolling. It is therefore essential
that the foundations of peace should be laid before the world
conflagration spreads any further and finally destroys the prosperity
of every nation. This view may sound like pure theory, but it gains
substance from the fact that it can very well be made to harmonize
with Mr. Wilson's election campaign. In his capacity of founder of
peace in Europe, and peace-maker--i.e., indirectly conqueror--of
Mexico, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to vanquish Mr.
Wilson in the election. Mr. Theodore Roosevelt would then shout
himself hoarse to no purpose and Mr. Charles Hughes, the strongest
Republican candidate, would perhaps not even go so far as nomination
if his position seemed hopeless."

In that report I announced for the first time that Mr. Wilson had
so far changed his policy as now to put peace mediation in the
foreground and to give the question of the 'Freedom of the Seas'
second place. I shall return later to this political development.

When news reached Washington which left no doubt that the _Sussex_
had been torpedoed by a German submarine, I immediately cabled
to Berlin for instructions in order to be in a position to give
an official disavowal of the act. It required nothing further to
convince me that it was now a question of bend or break. I had no
means of knowing whether the supporters of the submarine campaign
or the partisans of an understanding with the United States would
win the day. In the former case war was inevitable. To provide for
the second alternative I recommended in my cablegram that there
should be no question of an official exchange of Notes, because
I was anxious that our withdrawal should not be accompanied by a
humiliation. If our Government were prepared to give way I regarded
as the most appropriate _modus procedenti_ the immediate issue of
instructions to me, empowering me to offer the American Government
satisfaction and compensation for this fresh incident. There was no
hope of purchasing immunity from a break with any less concession
than a pledge to carry on the submarine campaign for the future in
accordance with the principles laid down by international law for
cruiser warfare. I recommended, however, a provisional cessation
of the submarine war on the basis of an oral agreement with the
American Government. If this proposal had been acted on, the American
Government would have been obliged to follow suit and there would
have been no sharp exchange of Notes, which still further prejudiced
the position on both sides. If, after such a pause in the submarine
war and the establishment of a really clear diplomatic situation,
Mr. Wilson failed us and made no positive progress either with regard
to his programme for the 'Freedom of the Seas' or the conclusion of
peace, we should have held quite a different position from which--if
we really thought it desirable--to reopen unrestricted submarine
warfare. We had always made the mistake of dealing in half-hearted
concessions. In my opinion it was essential for us to strive for
a complete understanding with America if we were not prepared to
carry on the submarine campaign without regard to consequences.

No attention was paid to my suggestion in Berlin at the time. Admiral
von Tirpitz had just resigned and the decision had been taken against
the continuance of unrestricted submarine warfare. I do not know
why the dispatch of an official Note was preferred to the oral
negotiations I had suggested, but I think that the deciding factor
was consideration for public opinion in Germany.

A few days later I cabled the following to Berlin:


  "Washington, 8th April, 1916.

"House gave me a very gloomy view of the position with regard to the
_Sussex_. At the White House the situation is regarded as hopeless
because the view is held that, in spite of Tirpitz's resignation,
the German Government, with the best will in the world, cannot
curb the submarine campaign. It has hitherto been merely due to
good luck that no American has lost his life and any moment might
precipitate a crisis which would be bound to lead to a break. The
American Government are convinced that the Sussex was torpedoed by
a German submarine. A repetition of such mistakes would be bound
to drive the United States of America into war with us, which Wilson
would greatly regret, as he is anxious--as I have already reported--to
lay the foundations of peace in a few months. If the United States
were drawn into the war all hope of an early peace would be at
an end.

"I request to be furnished with instructions on the basis of which
I can pacify the Government here, which now has doubts of our _bona

After Mr. Gerard, apart from other questions concerning doubtful
cases of torpedoing, had also submitted a similar inquiry to the
Foreign Office on the subject of the _Sussex_ incident, an official
reply was handed to him on the 10th April which read in the following

"A decision as to whether the Channel steamer _Sussex_ was damaged
by a German submarine or not is made extraordinarily difficult
owing to the fact that no exact information is known as to the
place, time and accompanying circumstances of the sinking, and
moreover a picture of this ship could not be obtained until the
6th April. Consequently the inquiry has had to be extended to all
submarine enterprises which took place on the day in question, 24th
March, in the Channel anywhere on the course between Folkestone
and Dieppe.

"In this area on the 24th March, in the middle of the English Channel,
a long, black vessel, flying no flags, with a gray funnel, small gray
superstructure and two high masts was hit by a German submarine.
The German captain was definitely convinced that she was a ship of
war, and indeed a mine-layer of the newly-built English _Arabic_
class. He was led to this conviction:

"1. By the flush deck of the ship.

"2. By the shape of the stern, which sloped outwards.

"3. By the paintwork, which was that of a ship of war.

"4. By the high speed of about eighteen knots which the ship developed,

"5. By the fact that the ship was not steering the course north
of the light buoys between Dungeness and Beachy Head within which
frequent observation had led the German submarines to keep a look
out for merchant shipping, but was in mid-Channel, heading almost
for Le Havre.

"Consequently, the submarine fired a torpedo at 3.55 p.m. Central
European time, 1-1/2 knots southeast of the Bull Rock. The torpedo
struck, and so heavy an explosion occurred that the whole of the
ship forward of the bridge broke away. The unusually heavy explosion
leaves no doubt that there were large stores of ammunition on board.

"The German captain has prepared a sketch of the ship he attacked,
of which two copies are sent herewith. The two copies of pictures
of the _Sussex_, also enclosed, were photographed from the English
newspaper _The Daily Graphic_, of the 27th inst. A comparison of
the sketches and the photograph shows that the vessel attacked
is not identical with the _Sussex_; particularly striking is the
difference in the position of the funnel and the shape of the stern.
No other attack was made by a German submarine on the course between
Folkestone and Dieppe at the time of the _Sussex_ incident.

"From this the German Government are obliged to assume that the
sinking of the _Sussex_ is to be set down to other causes than attack
by a German submarine. Some light may be thrown on the incident by
the fact that on the 1st and 2nd April alone no less than twenty-six
English mines were destroyed in the Channel by German naval forces.
In general the whole of that area is rendered dangerous by drifting
mines and not torpedoes. Off the English coast the Channel is also
made increasingly dangerous by German mines which have been laid
for the enemy naval forces.

"If the American Government should have at their disposal any further
data that may help to elucidate the _Sussex_ incident, the German
Government beg that it may be communicated to them so that they may
subject it to examination. In the event of differences of opinion
arising between the two Governments the German Government now declare
themselves ready to submit the whole incident to an International
Commission in accordance with the third clause of the 'Hague Convention
for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of the 18th
October, 1907.'"

I have reproduced this Note in full because its influence was quite
particularly fateful and because it was probably the most unfortunate
document that ever passed from Berlin to Washington. Mr. Wilson
thought he detected a direct untruth, and the mixture of an uneasy
conscience and clumsiness which the German Note appeared to betray
prompted the sharp tone of the President's reply. For the sake of
his prestige Mr. Wilson was now compelled by the recent course of
events to take action, although the excitement of public opinion was
this time undoubtedly less than was the case after the torpedoing of
the _Lusitania_ and the _Arabic_. The American Government, therefore,
couched the Note which they dispatched on the 18th April in the
terms of an ultimatum. In the meantime, the discovery in the hull
of the _Sussex_ of a piece of a German torpedo placed the matter
beyond all doubt. Additional importance was given to the ultimatum
by the fact that before dispatching it Mr. Wilson laid it personally
before Congress at a special sitting.

It is my firm conviction that had it not been for this ultimatum
diplomatic relations would not have been broken off immediately,
even in 1917. In the increased tension of the situation resulting
from the exchange of Notes on the subject of the _Sussex_ I see,
therefore, one of the immediate germs of the war with America.
After this exchange of Notes a challenge in the form of our formal
declaration of the 31st January, 1917, could no longer be tolerated.
The clumsiness of such formal declarations was, as I have said,
only surpassed by the regrettable impression of a juristic argument
produced by our first _Lusitania_ Note.

As the American ultimatum later formed the basis on which the American
Government, immediately after the declaration of unrestricted submarine
warfare, broke off diplomatic relations, I here give the vital
contents of the American Note of the 18th April verbatim:

"Again and again the Imperial Government has given its solemn assurances
to the Government of the United States that at least passenger ships
would not be dealt thus with, and yet it has repeatedly permitted
its undersea commanders to disregard those assurances with entire
impunity. As recently as February last it gave notice that it would
regard all armed merchantmen owned by its enemies as part of the
armed naval forces of its adversaries, and deal with them as with
men-of-war, thus, at least by implication, pledging itself to give
warning to vessels which were not armed and to accord security
of life to their passengers and crews; but even this limitation
their submarine commanders have recklessly ignored.

"The Government of the United States has been very patient. At
every stage of this distressing experience of tragedy after tragedy
it has sought to be governed by the most thoughtful consideration
of the extraordinary circumstances of an unprecedented war, and to
be guided by sentiments of very genuine friendship for the people
and Government of Germany. It has accepted the successive explanations
and assurances of the Imperial Government as of course given in
entire sincerity and good faith, and has hoped, even against hope,
that it would prove to be possible for the Imperial Government so
to order and control the acts of its naval commanders as to square
its policy with the recognized principles of humanity as embodied in
the law of nations. It has made every allowance for unprecedented
conditions and has been willing to wait until the facts became
unmistakable and were susceptible of only one interpretation.

"If it is still the purpose of the Imperial Government to prosecute
an indiscriminate warfare against vessels of commerce by the use of
submarines without regard to what the Government of the United States
must consider the sacred and indisputable rules of international law
and the universally recognized dictates of humanity, the Government
of the United States is at last forced to the conclusion that there
is but one course to pursue. Unless the Imperial Government should
now immediately declare and effect an abandonment of its present
methods of submarine warfare against passenger and freight-carrying
vessels, the Government of the United States can have no choice but
to sever diplomatic relations with the German Empire altogether.
This action the Government of the United States contemplates with
the greatest reluctance, but feels constrained to take in behalf
of humanity and the rights of neutral nations."

After this Note it is obvious that there was no longer any doubt
in Berlin, that persistence in the point of view they had hitherto
adopted would bring about a break with the United States, for I
received instructions to make all preparations for German merchant
ships lying in American ports to be rendered useless by the destruction
of their engines.

I also received orders to arrange that Mr. Gerard, who had not
been informed of the minimum demands of the American Government,
should be instructed accordingly.

My reply was as follows:


  "Washington, 1st May, 1916.

"House has informed me that at his request Gerard has already been
informed of the minimum demands of the American Government. Wilson
is strongly influenced by peace votes. Even the anti-German ring
desires the end of the war, as otherwise they fear financial loss. My
suggestions are based on the view that submarine warfare, according
to international law, is valueless, and in any case, the opening
of peace negotiations is more important. It would be advisable
in the Note of reply to touch only on the principal points, to
talk much of international law and humanity, and to leave details
to be settled at a later date. I fear that the continuance of the
submarine campaign, on the lines of cruiser warfare, only means
the postponement of the rupture as fresh incidents are bound to

On the 4th May followed the German reply, which averted the fourth
serious crisis, by declaring that the submarine campaign would
return to the recognized laws of cruiser-warfare. The Note began
by opposing, in strong terms, the American view, and concluded
with the following sentences:

"The German Government feel themselves justified in declaring that
it would be impossible to answer to humanity and history, if, after
twenty-one months of war the contention over the submarine war
were allowed to develop into a serious menace to peace between
the German and American peoples. Such a development the German
Government will do everything in their power to prevent. They desire,
at the same time, to make a final contribution towards confining--so
long as the war lasts--the war to the present combatant Powers,
an aim which includes the freedom of the seas, and in which the
German Government believe themselves still to be in agreement with
the Government of the United States.

"On this assumption the German Government beg to inform the Government
of the United States that instructions have been issued to the German
naval forces to observe the general principles of international
law, with regard to the holding up, searching and destruction of
merchant vessels, and not to sink any merchant vessel, even within
the war zone, without warning and rescue of the passengers and
crew, unless they attempt to escape or offer resistance.

"The German Government hope and expect that these new instructions
to the naval forces will also remove in the eyes of the United
States Government every obstacle that might stand in the way of the
realization of the offer of co-operation contained in the Note of
the 23rd July, 1915, towards restoring the freedom of the seas during
the war, and they do not doubt that the United States Government will
now insist with all possible emphasis on the immediate observation
by the British Government of those international rules which were
universally accepted before the war, and which are specifically stated
in the Notes of the American Government to the British Government
of the 28th December, 1914, and the 5th November, 1915. Should
it happen that the steps taken by the Government of the United
States do not meet with the desired result of insuring recognition
of the laws of humanity by all the combatant nations, the German
Government would consider themselves faced by a new situation, for
which they must reserve for themselves full freedom of decision."

The German Note reached the German Embassy piecemeal, and while
the first part was being deciphered, its harsh tone produced in
an increasing degree the impression: "Then it is war," which was
not relieved until we came to the conclusion of the text.

The attempt made by the Imperial Government to reserve to themselves
the right to resume the submarine campaign at a later date was not
accepted by Mr. Wilson, and so the difference of opinion remained,
which was bound to become a _casus belli_ if we reverted to unrestricted
submarine warfare. This reservation led to a further Note from
Washington, which I give here:

"The Note of the Imperial German Government under date of May 4th,
1916, has received careful consideration by the Government of the
United States. It is especially noted, as indicating the purpose of
the Imperial Government as to the future, and that it 'is prepared
to do its utmost to confine the operations of the war for the rest
of its duration to the fighting forces of the belligerents,' and
that it is determined to impose on all its commanders at sea the
limitations of the recognized rules of international law upon which
the Government of the United States has insisted. Throughout the
months which have elapsed since the Imperial Government announced
on February 4th, 1915, its submarine policy, now happily abandoned,
the Government of the United States has been constantly guided
and restrained by motives of friendship in its patient efforts
to bring to an amicable settlement the critical questions arising
from that policy. Accepting the Imperial Government's declaration
of its abandonment of the policy which has so seriously menaced
the good relations between the two countries, the Government of
the United States will rely upon a scrupulous execution henceforth
of the now altered policy of the Imperial Government, such as will
remove the principal danger to an interruption of the good relations
existing between the United States and Germany.

"The Government of the United States feels it necessary to state
that it takes it for granted that the Imperial German Government
does not intend to imply that the maintenance of its newly-announced
policy is in any way contingent upon the course or result of diplomatic
negotiations between the Government of the United States and any
other belligerent Government, notwithstanding the fact that certain
passages in the Imperial Government's Note of the 4th instant might
appear to be susceptible of that construction. In order, however, to
avoid any possible misunderstanding, the Government of the United
States notifies the Imperial Government that it cannot for a moment
entertain, much less discuss, a suggestion that respect by German
naval authorities for the rights of citizens of the United States
upon the high seas should in any way or in the slightest degree be
made contingent upon the conduct of any other Government affecting
the rights of neutrals and non-combatants. Responsibility in such
matters is single, not joint; absolute, not relative."

This American Note, however, in no way affected the peaceful conclusion
of the negotiations.

As a direct result of the _Sussex_ incident, a step forward was
taken in the question of American peace mediation. When I called
on Colonel House, during the last days of the crisis, we had a
long conversation on this question. As always, Colonel House had
used his influence on the side of peace with regard to the _Sussex_
incident. He took this opportunity to convey to me the pleasing
news contained in a cablegram from Mr. Gerard, that the German
Government were now ready to agree to American mediation.

This cablegram was the outcome of the following facts: Mr. Gerard,
on account of his anti-German tendency, was not popular in Berlin. He
regarded it as a personal slight that the most important negotiations
should have been carried on partly in Washington, and partly by
Colonel House in Berlin. The Ambassador wanted therefore, to use
the opportunity of the _Sussex_ incident to assert himself, and
expressed a desire to visit G.H.Q. and explain the American point
of view in person to the Emperor. On the 1st May, Mr. Gerard was
received by the Emperor, in the presence of the Imperial Chancellor,
on which occasion he received the assurance contained in his telegram.
Karl Helfferich's account in _Weltkrieg_ gives the impression that
the question of American mediation was mentioned for the first
time on the 1st May. The two journeys of Colonel House, which were
of far greater importance than Mr. Gerard's visit to G.H.Q., are
not mentioned in the Helfferich account. For the rest I have to
rely for my information about events in Germany on this and other
publications, in addition to the evidence given before the Commission
of the National Assembly. In any case, Colonel House regarded the
telegram from Berlin as the sequel of his own negotiations there,
which point was placed beyond all doubt by the text of the information
he communicated to me. In order to inform myself on my side also as
to the attitude of our Government, I sent the following telegram
to Berlin, to ascertain whether the information from the American
Ambassador was in accordance with the facts:


  "Washington, No. 26, 4th May.

"House informs me that Gerard has cabled that we would agree to the
President's mediation, and that a visit from House to Berlin, with
this object, would be welcomed. Nothing known here about solution of
_Lusitania_ question. Mediation naturally depends on this running
smoothly, which would be most easily assured by cessation of submarine
campaign during negotiations."

I received the following reply from the Imperial Chancellor:


    "Berlin, 6th May, 1916.
    "Reply to telegram No. 26.
  "For Your Excellency's information.

"We hope that our Note and great concession finally removes cause
of mistrust, and opens era of greater mutual confidence. Animosity
of public opinion here against Wilson, as result of tone and contents
of his Note and impression of _parti pris_ against us, however, so
great that he must take open and unmistakable action with regard to
England before he would be accepted as unbiassed mediator by German
people. To this extent Gerard's telegram is premature. If Wilson
neglects to take such action, there is danger that the animosity
may become irremediable and possibility of mediation driven into
distant future. Smoothing the way for peace, of course, always
desired. Action against England, however, seems necessary to encourage
conciliatory attitude there, if a peace exclusively favorable to
England is to be avoided.

"If it is found impossible to induce England to discuss peace with
us, even though unofficially perhaps at first, we shall, as England
refuses to return to the provisions of the Declaration of London,
be placed in an absolutely free position with regard to our great
concession amounting to abandonment of submarine campaign. A visit
from House very welcome here at any time.


Karl Helfferich's account confirms the view I held at that time,
that our concessions in respect of the submarine campaign were
essentially prompted by the hope of mediation by Mr. Wilson. The
following words of the Emperor make this plain:

"In politics it is necessary, before all things, to know the other
party's point of view; for politics are a question of give and take.
Gerard's utterances had made it clear that Wilson was seeking a
ladder for re-election. It was better, then, that we should offer
him the ladder of peace than the ladder of war, which will eventually
fall on our own heads."

Moreover, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg has declared before the Commission
of the National Assembly that he had expressed to Mr. Gerard the
hope that the President would now take steps to bring about the
restoration of peace.

When, at that time, Colonel House was discussing with me the German
reservation in the Note of the 4th May, in connection with the
questions of the "Freedom of the Seas" and peace, he said that the
circumstances were then such that the President no longer possessed
the power to compel England to observe international law. England
would only give way before the menace of war. In view, however,
of the state of natural feeling in the United States, and the
development of trade relations between America and the Entente,
war with England was out of the question. On the other hand, Mr.
Wilson possessed the power to bring about peace, because on this
question he could rely on the support of the majority of the American
nation. When the time was ripe, the President would take the desired
steps, but a neutral act of this nature would be cried down by
the very active Entente party in the United States as pro-German,
and could only be carried through if the national feeling towards
Germany took a more friendly turn. It was, therefore, necessary
that there should be a period of lull, during which Germany should
possibly not be discussed at all. The approaching hot season and the
usual exodus of political personages from Washington to the country
would offer a favorable opportunity to let all negotiations rest,
especially as, after the settlement of the _Sussex_ question, no
new incidents were to be expected. Colonel House's remarks accurately
reflected the actual position in the United States at the time. I could
not but express my agreement, and felt no doubt that the American
mediation would begin in the late summer. After our giving way on
the submarine question in order to avoid a break with the United
States, I regarded it as certain that we would not directly bring
about the rupture which had just been averted with such difficulty
by reopening the unrestricted submarine campaign, for in view of
the American ultimatum of the 18th April, 1916, there was no

I should like to take this opportunity of making clear that I always
regarded American mediation as the only possible way out of the
war. I had no faith in the submarine campaign as likely to save
the situation, because the entry of the United States into the war
would more than outweigh all the advantages that the submarines could
bring us. On the other hand I was convinced that If the American
Government established a peace conference, this would be sure to
lead to peace itself. It could not be imagined that, in view of the
nations' need of peace, such a conference could break up without
having reached any result. Moreover, after the meeting of a conference,
the United States would no longer be in a position to enter the
war, because American public opinion would not have allowed it.
But without the help of the United States, the Entente could not
win. It resolved itself, therefore, into a question of the skill of
our negotiators to ensure a tolerable peace for us, as the result
of the conference. Diplomatic negotiations have a way of ending
owing to general weariness, in which case the party which holds
the best cards secures the greatest advantages. If this happened,
we should have the advantage of the position as our military gains
would give us a strong lever in the negotiations.

Here I may touch on another question which was engaging my attention
at that time. Since the _Lusitania_ catastrophe I had adopted the
principle, and put it into practice as far as possible, of leaving
the propaganda to our American friends, who were in a position to
get an earlier hearing than we, and in any case understood the
psychology of the Americans better than the Imperial German agents.
Indeed, the words "German propagandist" had already become a term of
abuse in America. We were reproached there with being too indulgent,
while in Germany the opposite criticism was levelled at us. In spite
of the difficulty of the situation, however, there were Americans
of German and other origin, who had the courage openly to champion
our cause and to swim against the stream. Among others, a "Citizens'
Committee for Food Shipments" was formed, whose activities spread
through the whole country, and were avowedly pro-German. A special
function of the committee with Dr. von Mach as executive chief, was
a month of propaganda throughout the country, with the object of
obtaining the means to supply the children of Germany with milk. The
English control of the post even led to the bold plan of building a
submarine to run the milk through the English blockade. The propaganda
was very vigorously attacked by the greater part of the American
Press, but pursued its course unafraid, collected money, submitted
protests to the State Department against the attitude of the Entente,
and so on.

Dr. von Mach succeeded in bringing the matter to the notice of
the President who actively interested himself in it, and promised
to see that the milk should pass the English blockade and reach
Germany in safety. Accordingly, the State Department instructed
the American Embassy in Berlin to issue a statement. Meanwhile, the
well-known American journalist, McClure, returned from a tour of
investigation in Germany, where he had been supported in every way
by the German Government departments. He gave a very favorable account
of the milk question, as of the feeding of infants in general, and
this gave rise to the first disagreeable controversy. Mr. McClure
took up an unyielding attitude. Unfortunately, however, the State
Department then published an equally favorable report, which, coming
from the American Embassy and published with the approval of the
Foreign Office in Berlin, caused the complete collapse of Dr. von
Mach. This incident made a very painful impression in America, and
led to a series of bitter attacks on Dr. von Mach and the whole
movement, which was thus exposed in a most unfortunate light. The
favorable report on the milk question was drawn up by a Dr. E. A.
Taylor, and definitely confirmed, and, indeed, inspired, by the
German authorities.

I mention this incident to show that our propaganda was not by any
means made easier by Germany, although our Press Bureau repeatedly
brought up this very question in Berlin. This movement was particularly
dear to us, because the Americans are most easily won over when an
appeal is made to their humanity. Moreover, the favorable reports
on the question of supplies in Germany did not coincide in any way
with our defence of the submarine campaign as an act of reprisal.
This method of propaganda from home lost us our best argument.
Even to-day the majority of Americans certainly have no idea how
many children have been murdered by the blockade.

At the time of which I am speaking occurred also the much discussed
Bolo affair. It is quite astonishing how many lies were told before
the commission of inquiry of the American Senate with regard to
this affair. Among others, hotel servants, chauffeurs, etc., were
sworn, and gave evidence that I had met Bolo in the apartments
of Mr. Hearst. True, I have often visited Mr. Hearst, which goes
without saying, as he was the only important newspaper proprietor
who maintained a neutral attitude throughout the war. I did not,
however, meet Bolo, either there or anywhere else; I have never
made his acquaintance, or even seen him in the distance. I heard
his name for the first time when he was brought up for trial in

If the statements made before the commission of inquiry are to
be relied on in any point at all, it is to be assumed that Bolo
first came to America to arrange a combine between the _Journal_
and the Hearst Press. This combine was to support the cause of
Pacifism after the war. Who Bolo's principal was I do not know,
but so much seems to be established, that he was connected with
the _Journal_. Apparently, Bolo wanted to sell shares in this paper
to Mr. Hearst, in order to acquire funds for the Pacifist agitation.
This theory seems justified since Bolo, on the voyage to America,
got into touch with Mr. Bartelli, Hearst's representative in Paris.
The latter did fall in with Bolo's ideas.

Later--whether intentionally or not I do not know--Bolo met the
co-proprietor of the firm Amsinck and Co., Herr Pavenstedt, who was
one of the most respected, if not _the_ most respected, Imperial
German in New York, and intimately acquainted with all the members
of the Embassy. Herr Pavenstedt, who as a private citizen was not in
a position to accept Bolo's suggestions, then travelled to Washington
to lay the matter before me. He gave me to understand that a French
acquaintance of long standing, for whose good faith he could vouch,
had come to America to raise funds for a Pacifist agitation in
France. He said that national feeling in that country had reached
a point which promised success for such a movement, if the prospect
could be held out of a peace by negotiation. Herr Pavenstedt said
that he could not, under any circumstances, disclose the gentleman's
name. As the plans of the Frenchman recommended by Herr Pavenstedt
coincided with my policy for bringing about a peace by negotiation,
and I had absolute confidence in Herr Pavenstedt, I communicated
the matter to Berlin, where the necessary money was granted. Later,
the breaking off of diplomatic relations with the United States
interrupted the policy I had initiated, and also put an end to
any prospect of effecting a change of feeling in France, where
the hope of American assistance revived enthusiasm for the war.

I do not know how Bolo's enterprise came to the knowledge of the
French Government. In any case this cannot have been due to the
deciphering of my telegrams to Berlin, as I did not know Bolo's
name. Owing to this ignorance on my part it was arranged between
Herr Pavenstedt and myself, at a second interview, that the anonymous
Frenchman should at a given time address further communications
on the progress of the movement to our Embassy at Bern under the
pseudonym "St. Regis."

At the time of the _Sussex_ crisis a further awkward incident occurred
which took us back to the days of conspiracies. In consequence
of the Welland Canal case the American secret police came down
upon Herr von Igel, the representative of the Military Attaché,
in his New York office, for alleged complicity, arrested him by
force and seized papers which were found on his table. I immediately
laid a protest before the State Department, whereupon Herr von
Igel was set at liberty and a long international controversy arose
which had not come to an end when Herr von Igel returned with me
to Germany. The American Law Department maintained that Herr von
Igel was suspected of complicity in a legal offence, that he could
not therefore plead extra-territoriality, and must stand his trial
before an American Court. The State Department, it is true, had
doubts as to whether an office in New York could be recognized as
extraterritorial, but for the rest maintained a correct attitude
and refused to agree to the opening of proceedings against Herr
von Igel.

The seized documents were handed over to the State Department,
where they probably still lie. The State Department declared to
me their readiness to hand back the papers if I wished to declare
them Embassy documents. I, however, thought that an attempt might
be made later to use such a declaration against me as a trap and
I rejected the offer to return the papers on these conditions,
as they were of no further importance to us. If there was among
them material which could be used against the former Attachés it
might be assumed that the Law Department would long ago have had
the documents copied.

The Igel affair had no definite political result, as the American
Government dropped all controversies when they began to take up
the question of mediation.

To return to the settlement of the _Sussex_ incident it should be
mentioned that our surrender on the submarine question was widely
resented in Germany. Further, it caused a check in submarine
construction. At least, Secretary of State von Capelle has declared
before the Commission of the National Assembly that an extensive
submarine construction programme had to be abandoned because it
would have been too sharp a contrast with Germany's attitude after
the settlement of the _Sussex_ affair. As a matter of fact, submarine
construction was never carried on with full vigor after 1916 as
has been pointed out by Messrs. Struve, Gothein and Co. In the
light of this the gravity of the decision in 1917 to resort to
unrestricted submarine warfare is doubled. It will be seen clearly
here how our divided policy on the one hand permanently crippled
the submarine policy and on the other that of mediation.

To conclude the _Sussex_ question, I will add one more telegram
which I sent to the Foreign Office after Secretary of State Lansing
had publicly mentioned an Anglo-American agreement--a remark which
in Berlin was taken to mean that America had formed an alliance
with England. It is well known that during the war such a statement
has frequently been made.


  "Washington, 21st May, 1916.

"I am working confidentially in co-operation with House for the
settlement of such still unsettled questions as the _Lusitania_
and the Igel cases, so as to clear the air completely. Feeling here
now more favorable owing to the influence of the Irish executions.
Wilson regards conflict with us as a thing of the past and desires to
let things rest and soon to lay the foundations of peace. Lansing's
speech as to Anglo-American agreement refers to the Bryan agreement.
He desired to make clear that war with England because of the blockade
is out of the question, and therefore there is no means of bringing
pressure to bear. The speech coincides with the American view I
have already reported that it would be easier to bring the war
to an end than to force England to raise the blockade."

Hitherto I have not mentioned the different German vessels which
visited United States ports during the war. Besides their history
is well known. I will therefore only describe their psychological
influence and my own experiences.

The auxiliary cruisers _Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm_ and _Eitel
Friedrich_ were the first German ships to enter Hampton Roads,
there to be interned.

Much more interest was aroused by the arrival on the 15th February,
1916, of the _Appam_, because it was then a long time since the
German flag had been seen on the American side of the Atlantic.
The facts are familiar to German readers from Count Dohna's _Möve_
book. Lieutenant Berg's exploit met with general appreciation in
the United States, especially as his conduct was completely in
accord with the American conception of international law. Even
to-day I can hear the tone of absolute conviction in which Secretary
of State Lansing told me at the Metropolitan Club that the voyage
of the _Appam_ was a "marvellous achievement."

In the far-off future, students of international law will quote
the _Appam_ case as a classic. At the German Embassy in Washington
volumes were filled with the opinions of eminent lawyers, for the
incident was not treated politically by the American Government,
but submitted to the courts. Meanwhile the _Appam_ remained interned
in Hampton Roads as a prize. The case was not settled until after
the breaking-off of diplomatic relations, when it was no longer
of any importance to us.

The interest roused by the _Appam_ shrank into nothing before the
excitement caused by the arrival of the submarine _Deutschland_ on
the 8th July, 1916. Apart from those that followed the agreement
on the _Arabic_ incident, the few days after the arrival of the
_Deutschland_ were the pleasantest I experienced in America during
the war. Feeling on all sides was openly friendly, and Captain König
was the most popular man in the United States. If we had sent ten
such merchant submarines to America and for the rest had carried
on the submarine campaign according to the principles laid down for
cruiser warfare, we should have attained far greater political
results than has been the case.

The arrival of the submarine _Deutschland_ at Baltimore and Captain
König's first visit to the town resembled a triumphal procession.
I had intended to go there at once to welcome the hero of the day
and his bold seamen, but thought it better to wait and see what
would be the American attitude towards the protests of the English
and French Ambassadors, who had both claimed that the _Deutschland_,
as a submarine, should be regarded without hesitation as a ship of
war. On the 13th July a most minute inspection of the _Deutschland_
was made by an American Government Commission consisting of three
naval officers, and she was recognized as a genuine merchant vessel.
In consequence the _Deutschland_ had a right to lie at Baltimore
as long as was necessary to take a cargo on board for the return
journey. It was now possible for me to pay an official visit to
Baltimore and to view the _Deutschland_. The Mayor of the town
accompanied me and went down with me, in spite of the terrific heat
of about 40° centigrade, into the lowest parts of the submarine,
which cost the stoutly-built gentleman considerable effort and a
good deal of perspiration. In the evening the Mayor gave a banquet
which passed off as in the good days before the war. The rooms
were decorated with German and American flags, the band played the
"Wacht am Rhein," and many speeches were made on the good relations
between the two countries.

Again on her second visit, which took place in October in New London
(Connecticut), the _Deutschland_ met with a very friendly reception,
even though the atmosphere was appreciably cooler. Feeling in the
New England state has always been particularly unfavorable to us.
But there, to, I passed a very pleasant day with Captain König.

In contrast to the moral gain of the visit of the _Deutschland_
was the generally unfavorable impression created by the visit at
the same time of the U53. Quite unexpectedly I received the news
that a German submarine had arrived at Newport, the captain of
which had reported himself to the American commandant and had handed
him a letter addressed to me. The letter attracted a good deal of
attention in the Press, but it actually contained nothing further
than the introduction of the captain. The episode of the U53 was,
from a political point of view, most undesirable and of no military
value. When, moreover, a few days later the news arrived that the
U53 had sunk several ships off the American coast--always, it is
true, according to international law--the incident assumed a fairly
serious aspect. Meanwhile I travelled direct to Shadow Lawn, the
President's beautiful summer residence on the New Jersey coast,
to hand to Mr. Wilson a letter from the Emperor. The President
had appealed to the Heads of all the combatant States to urge them
to permit relief to starving Poland, as had been done for Belgium.
As was to be expected, the Entente rejected the proposal while the
Central Powers agreed to it. The Emperor's approval was contained
in the letter which I brought to Mr. Wilson.

The President took this opportunity to speak to me very seriously on
the cruise of the U53, and urged me to see to it that this incident
was not repeated. Otherwise he could not be responsible for public
feeling in the United States, which might again become very bitter.
The affair was very disagreeable to me personally, because I was
building hopes on Mr. Wilson's mediation and because I feared that
the cruise of the U53 would be interpreted as an attempt on our
part to put difficulties in the way of the President's re-election.
It might be assumed that his Republican opponents would say that
Germany could now do what she liked, as Mr. Wilson had never adopted
energetic measures.

On the subject of this conversation with Mr. Wilson I sent the following
telegram to the foreign office:


  "Washington, 11th October, 1916.

"I had a conversation with Mr. Wilson on the occasion of handing
over the Emperor's autograph letter with regard to Polish relief.
The President is anxious to carry the matter further and asked
me how this could best be done. I replied that the difficulties
lay exclusively on the English side.

"The cruiser warfare undertaken by our submarines off the American
coast is naturally regarded by Mr. Wilson with anxiety, because
all his hopes of re-election are based exclusively on the fact
that according to the opinion held over here he has kept the United
States out of the war and in spite of that has put an end to our
so-called illegal attacks on American lives. His whole position
falls to pieces if American lives are lost now, or if indignation is
aroused by a submarine campaign off the American coast. So far this
has not occurred. The exploit of U53 is even hailed as a sporting
achievement. This view will, however, be changed if the incident is
repeated. For this reason Wilson spoke plainly about a continuance
of the submarine campaign off the American coast. He regarded as
particularly serious the fact that two neutral ships were sunk, as
well as a Canadian passenger vessel making for the United States.
He said that such incidents could not be understood by the American

To this telegram I received from the Imperial Chancellor the following


  "Berlin, 4th October, 1916.

"England entirely responsible for difficulties with regard to Polish
relief. For Your Excellency's exclusive information it is not intended
to continue submarine campaign off American coast. Final decision as
to activity of U53 not possible until she returns. Our concessions
to America are being strictly observed and will be until explicitly




At midsummer, 1916, the political lull desired by Colonel House
actually set in. The Colonel betook himself to one of the beautiful
lakes of New Hampshire, in the far north of the United States, where
in the ordinary way I could only reach him by letter or telegram. How
secret we kept our communications is shown by the fact that, according
to agreement, I wrote and telegraphed to Colonel House under the
pseudonym "Martin." This caution proved to be fully justified, as
the inquiry by the Senate Committee has shown that the letters
from the Embassy were frequently opened by agents of the Entente
propaganda, whether with or without the connivance of the American
secret police I will not definitely say. I have already had occasion
to mention this question in connection with the robbing of Mr.
Albert. There are in the secret police of all countries men of
doubtful honor. It might be taken as certain that there were such
men in the pay of the Entente agents.

Soon after the settlement of the _Sussex_ incident--on 27th May--Mr.
Wilson made public, for the first time, his plan for the League
of Nations. This idea was to constitute the foundation-stone of
his mediation and fulfil all the hopes of the American pacifists
for a compulsory court of arbitration in international disputes
and general disarmament. Before the war many shrewd men in the
United States thought that the arbitration system initiated by the
American Government would exclude the possibility of great wars.
The outbreak of the World War showed that this was an illusion,
and the question arose what precautions could be taken to prevent
a recurrence of the world catastrophe. Mr. Wilson was one of the
first in whom the idea matured that the scheme, hitherto regarded
as utopian, of a league binding all civilized nations to a peaceful
settlement of their disputes was capable of being made a practical
proposition if backed, as a means of compulsion, by a commercial
boycott, similar to that which the Entente, in contravention of
international law, employed with such terrible results against

The most important sentences of the speech which the President addressed
to the American peace league ran as follows:

"When the invitation for me to be here to-night came to me, I was
glad to accept,--not because it offered me an opportunity to discuss
the programme of the League,--that you will, I am sure, not expect
of me,--but because the desire of the whole world now turns eagerly
towards the hope of peace, and there is just reason why we should
take our part in counsel upon this great theme....

"With its causes and its objects we are not concerned. The obscure
fountains from which its stupendous flood has burst forth we are
not interested to search for or explore....

"And the lesson which the shock of being taken by surprise in a
matter so deeply vital to all the nations of the world has made
poignantly clear is, that the peace of the world must henceforth
depend upon a new and more wholesome diplomacy. Only when the great
nations of the world have reached some sort of agreement as to
what they hold to be fundamental to their common interest, and
as to some feasible method of acting in concert when any nation
or group of nations seek to disturb those fundamental things, can
we feel that civilization is at least in a way of justifying its
existence and claiming to be finally established. It is clear that
nations must in future be governed by the same high code of honor
that we demand of individuals....

"Repeated utterances of the leading statesmen of most of the great
nations now engaged in the war have made it plain that their thought
has come to this, that the principle of the public right must henceforth
take precedence over the individual interests of particular nations,
and that the nations of the world must in some way band themselves
together to see that right prevails as against any sort of selfish
aggression; that henceforth alliance must not be set up against
alliance, understanding against understanding, but that there must
be a common agreement for a common object, and that at the heart
of that common object must lie the inviolable rights of peoples
and mankind....

"This is undoubtedly the thought of America. This is what we ourselves
will say when there comes a proper occasion to say it....

"We believe these fundamental things: First, that every people has
a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live. Like
other nations, we have ourselves no doubt once and again offended
that principle when for a little while controlled by selfish passion,
as our franker historians have been honorable enough to admit; but
it has become more and more our rule of life and action. Second,
that the small States of the world have a right to enjoy the same
respect for their sovereignty and for their territorial integrity
that great and powerful nations expect and insist upon. And, third,
that the world has a right to be free from every disturbance of
its peace that has its origin in aggression and disregard of the
rights of peoples and nations.

"So sincerely do we believe in these things that I am sure that I
speak the mind and wish of the people of America when I say that
the United States is willing to become a partner in any feasible
association of nations formed in order to realize these objects
and make them secure against violation....

"But I did not come here, let me repeat, to discuss a programme. I
came only to avow a creed and give expression to the confidence I
feel that the world is even now upon the eve of a great consummation,
when some common force will be brought into existence which shall
safeguard right as the first and most fundamental interests of all
peoples and all governments, where coercion shall be summoned,
not to the service of political ambition or selfish hostility, but
to the service of a common order, a common justice, and a common
peace. God grant that the dawn of that day of frank dealing and
of settled peace, concord, and co-operation may be near at hand!"

This speech displayed all the characteristics of Mr. Wilson's oratory:
brilliant command of the English language, dazzling wealth of vocabulary
and nebulous sentence construction which made the purpose clear only
to the initiated. Nevertheless, the vital points of the speech
could not be misunderstood. It prepared the world for American
mediation by strong emphasis of the League of Nations idea.

The political lull of midsummer brought an important improvement in
public feeling towards us. This change for the better was reflected
with special clearness in the reception given to the merchant submarine
_Deutschland_, as I have already described.

At the time of this speech of Mr. Wilson's, I sent the following


  "Washington, 28th May, 1916.

"The placation of American public opinion is progressing. Hardly
any mention is now made in the Press of German-American relations.
Only two persons are still wavering. The American Government are
delaying the publication of my letter on the subject of the _Lusitania_
settlement, because they think that it will not satisfy public
opinion here. It may be assumed that its publication will take
place at the beginning of June, during the Republican National
Convention, so that it may pass as far as possible unnoticed in the
general excitement about domestic politics. The American Government's
delay in this matter shows clearly how great the opposition has
been. While we thought to have made important concessions, the
American Government here consider that they have not attained the
objective prescribed for them by public opinion.

"Further, the Igel incident is not yet settled. On this question
there is a difference of opinion between the State and Law Departments.
The former confirming our standpoint that the seizure of the papers
was illegitimate and that they must be returned. The Law Department,
on the other hand, holds that Herr von Igel has been guilty of
a legal offence and so has forfeited his diplomatic privileges.
Consequently I get no further, and the case is continually deferred.
It is to be hoped that the State Department will soon bestir itself
to make a decision which will, however, in any case, necessitate
the recall of Herr Igel.

"Mr. Wilson's peace plans are becoming more and more tangible.
The only question is whether he possesses sufficient authority
to force our enemies to agree to negotiations. Colonel House is
convinced that Mr. Wilson will succeed. The President is considering
the plan of calling together a conference at the Hague, in which
the neutrals will only participate so far as the 'Freedom of the
Seas' is concerned. If the project materializes, Colonel House
is sure to take part in the conference, even though he may not
be the official American representative. His influence, however,
would be sure to be great, for no one else is so completely in
touch with Mr. Wilson's views. The latter is still of the opinion
that the United States should under no circumstances take part in
the actual settlement of the peace conditions. He and his _alter
ego_ are meanwhile very much afraid that our enemies might remain
obdurate, since they are under the impression, or are trying to
spread the impression, that the President, in opening the peace
negotiations, is acting for Germany. Certainly England continually
drags this idea into the discussion. At one time it is said that
Prince Bülow is coming here to submit the German peace conditions to
Mr. Wilson; at another, that Germany is on the brink of starvation
and must therefore sue for peace. We ought as far as possible to
counteract this propaganda of our enemies. It is to be hoped that it
will not do serious harm, because the peace vote in America continues
to grow and Mr. Wilson can count with certainty on re-election
if he establishes a peace conference. We shall therefore daily
gain ground here so long as we appear to be ready to encourage the
American peace movement, while our enemies adopt an unfavorable
attitude. The American people is now pacifically minded. It becomes
clearer every day how difficult it is to arouse enthusiasm for war
preparedness, etc. No one who has lived here for any length of
time can help coming to the conclusion that peaceful money-making
is the Americans' chief interest in life. Only when they think that
their rights have been seriously infringed do they lash themselves
into an hysterical war-fever. Why should war passion smoulder in the
hearts of a people whose boundaries are so secure that no enemy
has ever been seen inside them, nor in all human probability ever
will be?"

After the settlement of the _Sussex_ incident the Imperial Government
naturally hoped that Mr. Wilson would take steps to justify our
concessions with regard to the submarine question. Accordingly
I received the following general instructions:

  "Berlin, 7th June, 1916.

  "Order A. 56.


"More than a month has passed since our last Note to the United
States without President Wilson making up his mind to approach
the English Government on the question of the blockade. True I
do not expect that England would allow herself to be influenced
by the United States to abandon her infringement of international
law; nor do I imagine that a rejection of the American demands
by England would lead to a serious disturbance of the relations
between these two countries. The existing arbitration treaty, which
makes it possible in extreme cases to delay the settlement of the
points of contention indefinitely, rules this out. But the complete
passivity of Mr. Wilson, which could be understood so long as he
wished to avoid giving the impression that he was acting under
German coercion, but which cannot continue to be justified on these
grounds, is bound to re-act very unfavorably on public opinion
here and puts the Imperial Government in an extremely difficult

"From the information which has reached you, Your Excellency will
already realize that our surrender to America on the submarine
question has met with approval in wide and influential circles
in Germany. If President Wilson persists in his passive attitude
towards England, it is to be feared that the section of German
public opinion whose attitude has so far been favorable to the
Government will ally themselves with the opponents of the Government
policy, and that the whole of public opinion in Germany will clamor
for the resumption of the submarine campaign on the old lines.
In that case, the Imperial Government would be all the less in
a position to resist this demand for any length of time, as all
the military authorities have always been unanimous in regarding
and urging unrestricted submarine warfare as the only effective
means to bring about the defeat of England. Moreover, as we have
received secret information that the Entente have decided on a
drastic tightening of the blockade, and at the same time have agreed
in future to meet the protests of the neutrals, and particularly
America, with the argument that only in this way can the end of the
war, which is also in the interests of the neutral countries, be
brought about. Your Excellency will therefore bring to the notice
of President Wilson and Mr. House the serious dangers which his
passivity towards England involves.

"With regard to Mr. Wilson's plans for mediation, they are meanwhile
meeting with vigorous opposition in England. If they are rejected
by England, the result cannot but be favorable to us, for we are
naturally sceptical of mediation on the part of a statesman so
partial to England, and at the same time so naïve as President
Wilson. This necessarily follows on the consideration that the
President would primarily be concerned to construct peace on the
basis of the _status quo ante_, and particularly in respect of
Belgium. Although there is to-day little on which to form an estimate
as to how far we shall be in a position to bring about a solution
in conformity with our own interests to the Belgian question, which
is the direct result of the war, so much is certain, that if the
war continues in our favor, a peace on the basis of the absolute
status quo ante would not be acceptable to us. So, as the President
interprets his rôle as the chosen champion of all that, in his
opinion, is right and just, it is to be feared that a refusal on
our part to make peace on this basis might induce him to go over
openly to the enemy's camp. It is not, however, out of the question
that public opinion in England may in time again turn to Mr. Wilson
and his desire for mediation. As soon, therefore, as Mr. Wilson's
mediation plans threaten to assume a more concrete form and there
is evidence of an inclination on the part of England to fall in
with them, it will be Your Excellency's duty to prevent President
Wilson from approaching us with a positive proposal of mediation.
The choice of means for attaining this object without endangering
our relations with the United States I think I may leave to Your
Excellency's diplomatic skill, as from here I am not in a position
to get a clear insight into the position of affairs in America.


I have already mentioned that Mr. Wilson had for some time past
subordinated the question of the "Freedom of the Seas," i.e., in
this concrete instance the English blockade, to his desire for
mediation. Regarded from his point of view, this new ordering of his
plans was based on an entirely correct political train of thought.
The President gave first place to the attainable, with a view to
taking up later what was for the time being unattainable. In view
of the fact that we could bring no pressure to bear to change Mr.
Wilson's point of view, it only remained for us to exploit his
plans as far as possible in the interests of German policy.

As my instructions on the most important point--the question of
mediation--did not appear to me sufficiently clear, I asked in the
following report, dated from the summer quarters of the Embassy,
for a more detailed explanation:


  "In reply to Order A. 56,
  "Rye, 13th July, 1916.

"The inactivity of Mr. Wilson, who has only one thought, re-election,
is due in the first place to the fact that no pressure is being put
upon him by American public opinion to take action with regard to
England. It is obvious that conditions here are not favorable to
such action. Those American circles which are suffering financial
losses as a result of the English blockade, have no weight in face
of the tremendous stream of gold which our enemies have poured
lavishly over this country, not haggling over details, and conniving
at 'graft.' For the rest, Mr. Wilson's train of thought with regard
to action in respect of England practically coincides with that
expressed by Your Excellency. He does not think at present that it
is likely to meet with any success, as he has no means of bringing
pressure to bear. No one would take him seriously if he threatened
England with war.

"The position is quite different with the President's well-known
anxiety to bring about peace in Europe. In this matter he now has
the whole of American public opinion behind him. He also believes
that, after the expected failure of their present offensives, our
enemies will be ready to open peace negotiations. If this assumption
proves unfounded, and our enemies reject an American invitation
on these lines, the main question dealt with in Your Excellency's
instructions to me will be settled. Meanwhile, he is sure to make
an attempt to negotiate peace, if only for election purposes. I
therefore venture to request Your Excellency to cable me further
brief instructions as to how I am to interpret the words 'more concrete
form of mediation plans,' and 'positive proposal of mediation.' I
am assuming that the main part of my respectful reports will only
reach Your Excellency at the same time as this. Therefore, Mr.
Gerard, when Your Excellency spoke with him at the beginning of
May, on the question of mediation, would not have received detailed
instructions as to the President's intentions. In any case, he
was mistaken as to the attitude Your Excellency should adopt with
regard to an American peace-movement. On the strength of a telegram
received at that time from Mr. Gerard, Mr. Wilson believed that
the Imperial Government was ready to accept his mediation, and
I accordingly contradicted this assumption as instructed. As far
as I know, Mr. Wilson refuses definitely to take any part in the
discussion of territorial questions, but confines his interest to
'disarmament' and 'Freedom of the Seas.' His idea is that there
should be a conference at the Hague, in which the United States
and other neutral Powers would only take part in so far as these
two questions are concerned. 'Disarmament' may certainly be very
undesirable for us, but, on the other hand, the 'Freedom of the
Seas,' ought, without a doubt, to bring us on the side of the United
States. If it once comes to peace negotiations between the combatants,
I regard it as out of the question--even were they to fail--that
the United States would enter the war against us. American public
feeling in favor of peace is too strong for that. It required the
hysterical excitement roused by the _Lusitania_ question, and the
incidents connected with it, to produce a state of mind among Americans
which at times made war seem inevitable. In the absence of similar
incidents, such a state of public feeling could not be aroused. The
admiration with which the cruise of the submarine _Deutschland_
was regarded showed plainly which way the wind blows now.

"I made the above mentioned request because I consider it out of
the question to prevent Mr. Wilson from taking action with regard
to peace. I am in doubt, however, whether by a 'positive proposal
of mediation' your Excellency means such a proposal as that made
by Mr. Roosevelt after the Russo-Japanese War. On that occasion it
is well known that the negotiations were carried on under direct
American influence. This, as I have already said, is not what Mr.
Wilson wants. He only wants to play the part of peace-instigator; he
would like to deserve the credit for having brought the combatants
to negotiate one with the other. Such a success would, in view of
the state of feeling here, probably assure his re-election.

"I am therefore convinced that within the next few weeks the President
will institute proceedings with regard to peace, provided that the
enemy offensive continues to prove abortive. Mr. Wilson will then
tell England that he has been obliged on the grounds of domestic
politics to make a sharp protest against the blockade, provided that
peace negotiations have not been opened. For me the question now
arises whether I am to try to stand in the way of these proceedings.
Of course I could exert strong influence on Colonel House. Wilson,
however, would immediately suspect that we were attempting to deal
with his successor, and to give Mr. Hughes the honor of instigating
peace proceedings.

"As far as I can judge from here, there seem to be three possibilities:

"1. That the Wilson peace movement should fail in consequence of
the obduracy of our enemies. In that case, if we were to reopen
the submarine campaign to bring England to her knees, the situation
would at least be more favorable to us than before.

"2. That the peace movement should fail through us, and that we
should resume the submarine war.

"3. That the peace movement should be accepted by both sides.

"In the first case, I consider war with the United States probable;
in the second, certain. This is the reason for my request for more
definite instructions as to whether I am to impede a peace movement, or
only a positive proposal that would bind us in respect of territorial

To this report I received the following reply, containing quite
clear instructions, emphatically to encourage Mr. Wilson in whatever
course he might take:


  "Berlin, 18th August, 1916.

  "In reply to report A. 350 of the 13th inst.

"Mediation by the President intended lead to the opening of peace
negotiations between the combatants we are gladly ready to accept.
Please encourage emphatically the President's efforts in this direction.
Naturally it must not be imagined that in accepting such mediation
we bind ourselves to any concrete peace conditions. A general peace
conference with participation of neutrals only tolerable on the
lines of previous successful peace-negotiations between combatants
with regard to general and international questions of Freedom of
the Seas and Disarmament.


In close connection with the above exchange of letters with Berlin,
stood an interchange of telegrams dealing with the eventual reopening
of the unrestricted submarine campaign. I received the following


  "(Strictly confidential.)

  "Berlin, 12th June, 1916.

"The Army and Navy are again urging submarine warfare as the only
weapon against England, and particularly against her blockade, to
which President Wilson has never, nor can very well, take exception.

"It now remains to be decided:

"1. Whether after his nomination Wilson would still be prepared
to press matters as far as a rupture and war, even if we spare
human life in the new submarine war?

"2. What attitude the Republican candidate would adopt on this matter?

"Public opinion in England is opposed to mediation by Wilson, which
is also not wanted on principle here, because too unpopular.


I dispatched as quickly as possible to Berlin the following telegram:


  "Washington, 19th June, 1916.

"Assuming that it is intended that the resumption of the submarine
campaign be accompanied by the official or clandestine withdrawal of
the concessions granted in our Note of the 4th May, such a withdrawal
or modification of our concessions would in my opinion lead to a
rupture and America's entry into the war. By condoning such a move
Wilson would forfeit all hope of being re-elected and Hughes, who is
already suspected of being the German candidate, could not afford
to recommend a surrender. With regard to mediation and blockade I am
in constant communication with House. The former to be expected
in course of summer, for election reasons; probably Wilson will
inform our enemies that he will have to resort to sharp measures
if peace is not attained."

From the orders and telegrams here reproduced I gathered that the
political situation was, as far as I was concerned, to be regarded
as a kind of race between the unrestricted submarine campaign on
the one hand and the American peace mediation on the other. There
was apparently no third possibility.

On the 1st September I saw Colonel House again. In order that this
visit should not attract notice I went to stay with other friends
in New Hampshire for the customary American September holidays
(Labor Day). From there I motored to New London, where Colonel House
had been spending the summer. The conversation brought out that the
President considered a postponement of mediation unavoidable, because
the Entente were now filled with hopes of victory in consequence of
Rumania's entry into the war. In all my conversations with Colonel
House we both proceeded from the assumption that an attempt to
bring about American mediation could only succeed provided that
the Entente had given up hope of victory without the entry into the
war of the United States. For this reason Colonel House repeated
his advice that there should be less public talk in Berlin of an
early peace than had hitherto been the case, since in this way we
were betraying weakness and making America's task more difficult.

Colonel House also said that the President now intended to await
the further development of the war, and, if he should be re-elected,
immediately to take steps towards mediation. Before the presidential
election the time was too short for any action, for the Entente
would pay no heed to the mediation of a problematical candidate.

Looking back, I am still convinced even to-day that Colonel House's
estimate of the situation with regard to the President was entirely
correct from the American point of view. Mr. Wilson could only afford
to offer his mediation provided that he was sure of success. For us
the position was in my opinion different. For Germany American
mediation would have been welcome at any time. It would either
succeed and bring about an acceptable peace, or the Entente would
reject Wilson's proposal after we had accepted it. In the latter
case we should score a diplomatic success in Washington which would
make it very difficult for the American Government to enter the
war. The third possibility, that the German Government, after all
that had passed, might refuse Mr. Wilson's mediation, I did not
even consider.

Immediately after my return from New Hampshire I telegraphed the
following to the Foreign Office:


  "Rye, 6th September, 1916.

"Wilson's mediation postponed until further notice because for
the moment out of question, owing to Rumania's entry into war and
consequent renewed prospect of victory for our enemies. Wilson
thinks he cannot now mediate before the election, because England
might pay little attention to him until after the election, and
if he were not elected would have nothing further to do with him.
If, however, Wilson wins at the polls, for which the prospect is at
present favorable, and if the war meanwhile remains at a standstill,
the President will at once take steps towards mediation. He thinks
in that case to be strong enough to compel a peace conference.

"Wilson regards it as in the interest of America that neither of
the combatants should gain a decisive victory."

This telegraphic report of my conversation with Colonel House reached
Berlin when they were beginning to grow impatient of the delay in
the peace movement. According to Karl Helfferich's account the
question was discussed at the time between himself, the Imperial
Chancellor and Herr von Jagow. Thereupon, according to General
Ludendorff's "War Memories," "the Chancellor proposed to His Majesty
that instructions should be given to Ambassador Count Bernstorff
to induce the President at the earliest possible moment, and in
any case before the presidential election, to make a peace offer
to the Powers." Herr Helfferich then goes on to report that the
Chancellor cabled to me to question me quite personally as to my
opinion of Wilson as a peace mediator. The accounts of both these
gentlemen are doubtless accurate, but they do not mention that
the inquiry addressed to me did not, nor was intended to, create
a new situation, but had as its sole object to obtain my opinion
as to the prospects of a movement which had long been set on foot.
In the inquiry, as Herr Helfferich also reports, I was informed
that we would evacuate Belgium. This was of course a necessary
preliminary to Mr. Wilson's mediation, which otherwise, in view
of the feeling prevailing in America, would have been entirely
out of the question.

The Chancellor's inquiry read as follows:


  "Berlin,2nd September, 1916.


"Our West Front stands firm. East Front naturally threatened somewhat
by Rumania's declaration of war. Rolling up of front or collapse
of Austria, however, not to be feared. Turkey and Bulgaria to be
relied on. Greece uncertain. Hopes of peace before winter, as result
of Russian or French war-weariness, diminished by this development.
Apparently, if no great catastrophe occurs in East, Wilson's mediation
possible and successful if we guarantee required restoration of
Belgium. Otherwise, unrestricted submarine warfare would have to
be seriously considered. Request you give purely personal opinion
without inquiry in any quarter.


To this inquiry I replied as follows:


  "Rye, 8th September, 1916.

  "In reply to Telegram No. 74.

"Your question answered in substance by my telegram No. 100. I take
it then that your Excellency intends yourself to invite Wilson's
mediation. In so far as the United States of America concerns itself
with territorial questions--which hitherto I have always categorically
opposed--restoration of Belgium should constitute America's principal
interest, since public opinion is almost exclusively favorable to

"If Wilson is re-elected, I think there is good prospect of his
mediation before the end of the year.

"From this point of view the attainment of peace through unrestricted
submarine war seems hopeless, since the United States would inevitably
be drawn into the war--no matter what may be the result of the
election--and consequently the war would be prolonged."

I should like particularly to draw the reader's attention to this
telegram, because it expresses definitely my opinion that the submarine
campaign could not bring us peace.

Soon afterwards I was again instructed by the Chancellor to hasten
Mr. Wilson's peace movement. His telegram is here reproduced:


  "Berlin, 26th September, 1916.

  "For Your Excellency's personal information.

"The enemy's intention of breaking through our fronts has not, so
far, succeeded, and will not succeed, any more than his Salonika
and Dobrudja offensives. On the other hand, the operations of the
Central Powers against Rumania are making encouraging progress.
Whether we shall succeed this year in gaining a victory there that
will bring the war to an end is still doubtful; therefore, for the
present we must be prepared for a further prolonging of the war.
Meanwhile, the Imperial navy is confident that by the unrestricted
employment of large numbers of submarines they could in view of
England's economic position, meet with a success which would in
a few months make our principal enemy, England, more disposed to
entertain thoughts of peace. It is therefore essential that G.H.Q.
should include a submarine campaign among their other measures to
relieve the situation on the Somme Front, by impeding the transport
of munitions, and so making clear to the Entente the futility of
their efforts in this area.

"The whole situation would change if President Wilson, following
out the plans he has already indicated, were to make an offer of
mediation to the Powers. This would, of course, not have to include
any definite proposals of a territorial nature, as these questions
should form part of the agenda of the peace negotiations. Such a
move, however, would have to be made soon, as otherwise we could
not continue to stand calmly aside and watch England, realizing
as she does the many difficulties to be reckoned with, exert with
impunity increasingly strong pressure on the neutrals, with a view
to improving her military and economic position at our expense, and
we should have to claim the renewed liberty of action for which
we stipulated in the Note of the 4th of May of this year. Should
Mr. Wilson insist on waiting until immediately before or after
the election, he would lose the opportunity for such a step. Also
the negotiations should not at first aim at the conclusion of an
armistice, but should be carried on solely by the combatant parties,
and within a short period directly bring about the preliminary
peace. A further prolongation would be unfavorable to Germany's
military situation, and would result in further preparations being
made by the Powers for the continuance of the war into next year, so
that there would be no further prospect of peace within a reasonable

"Your Excellency should discuss the position cautiously with Colonel
House, and find out the intentions of Mr. Wilson. A peace movement
on the part of the President which bore the outward appearance of
spontaneity would be seriously considered by us, and this would
also mean success for Mr. Wilson's election campaign.

"Gerard has applied for leave, as the result of a private letter
from Colonel House, but he has received no reply from the State


The explanation of the final sentence of the above telegram is as
follows. I have already mentioned that Mr. Gerard was not popular in
Berlin, owing to his very highly-strung temperament, his impetuosity
and his want of tact. His recall was eagerly desired. Consequently, I
had received instructions to arrange, if possible, for the replacement
of Mr. Gerard, and in any case that the Ambassador should be recalled
for a time to Washington, so that his nerves might have a chance
to rest. As always, in strictly confidential matters, I referred
this to Colonel House, who told me that in view of the existing
political situation there could be no question of a recall of Gerard.
He would, however, arrange for the Ambassador to be summoned at once
to Washington for fresh instructions. If once Mr. Gerard learned
that the President now had the definite intention of mediating
with a view of peace, Colonel House thought he would be received
in a more friendly manner in Berlin.

I answered the Chancellor's last telegram as follows:


  "Washington, 5th October, 1916.

  "No. 121.

"Telegram No. 89 discussed according to instructions.

"No change here in the situation reported in telegrams Nos. 100
and 101.

"In view of possibility of surprises in war and election, Wilson,
for reasons already stated, refuses to attempt mediation until
re-elected. Result of election, which is being fought exclusively on
foreign politics, uncertain. President showing surprising firmness.
If unrestricted submarine campaign unavoidable, advise emphatically,
postpone at least until after election. Now, immediate rupture with
United States would be certain; after election Wilson's mediation
probable on the one hand; on the other hand at least slight possibility
of finding _modus vivendi_ by negotiation with United States."

The instructions from Berlin gave me occasion for repeated conversations
with Colonel House. The Imperial Government were now ready to accept
Mr. Wilson's League of Nations programme, which provided for general
disarmament, freedom of the seas, and compulsory arbitration. My
reports to Berlin on this question had the result that on 9th November
the Chancellor in a speech publicly espoused this programme, and
that I, at my own suggestion, received permission to communicate
officially the Chancellor's speech to the American Peace League,
which published my communication.

On the other hand, the Imperial Government desired that the territorial
questions should be regulated by direct negotiations between the
combatant Powers. Mr. Wilson, as Colonel House told me, was in
agreement with this. Mr. Wilson had already expressed himself to
this effect in the above mentioned speech of the 27th May, and
in general adopted the point of view that the United States had
no interest in the details of territorial adjustment; but that it
was of equally fundamental importance for America as for Europe
that in future wars should be avoided. The President was only willing
to intervene in so far as he was certain of having American public
opinion behind him. In my conversations with Colonel House we never
spoke of the evacuation of any German territory. We always confined
ourselves exclusively to a real peace by negotiation on the basis
of the _status quo ante_. With such a peace Germany's position
in the world would have remained unimpaired. The freedom of the
seas, a principal point in the Wilson programme, could not but
be welcome to us. The President and Colonel House have been the
sponsors of this idea in America. Both were indefatigable in their
efforts to materialize this idea in such a way that war on commerce
should be abolished and that all commerce, even in war-time, should
be declared free. As a necessary result of this development of
the laws of naval warfare Mr. Wilson hoped to bring about general
naval disarmament, since navies would lose their _raison d'être_
if they could only be used against each other and no longer against
commerce and for purposes of blockade. It is a regrettable fact
that at the Hague Conference we accepted the English standpoint
on the question of war on commerce, and not the American.

In October I was again instructed from Berlin to speed up Mr. Wilson's
peace movement. With regard to this new urgency Herr von Jagow,
on the 14th April, 1919, granted an interview to the Berlin
representative of the _New York Sun_, the substance of which was
as follows:

"In the autumn of 1916 the Emperor, Count Bernstorff and I opposed
the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, which was urged
with increasing vigor by our military and naval departments, as
being the only means of bringing the war to an early conclusion.
Week after week we watched for the hoped-for peace move of President
Wilson, which, however, did not come. At last, in October, the
Emperor, upon whom increasing pressure was being brought to bear
to give his consent to the unrestricted submarine campaign, sent
a memorandum to the American Government, reminding them or certain
mediation promises which had been made at the time of the _Sussex_

"When this memorandum, addressed to Mr. Gerard, reached Berlin
Mr. Gerard had already left for America. I, therefore, cabled the
text to Washington and instructed Count Bernstorff to hand the
memorandum to Mr. Gerard on his arrival in New York. Count Bernstorff,
who had been made fully aware that the Emperor wished to avert
the submarine campaign and a rupture with the United States, was
also informed by me that the memorandum had been written by the
Emperor in person. For reasons which there is no need for me to
mention here, Count Bernstorff handed the memorandum, not to Mr.
Gerard, but to Colonel House, who certainly communicated it to
the President."

The telegram in which the Emperor's memorandum was communicated
to me read as follows:


  "Berlin, 9th October, 1916.

"His Majesty the Emperor desires that the following memorandum should
be handed to Ambassador Gerard on the latter's arrival.

"Your Excellency should do this in strict confidence and say that
the memoir is not intended to convey a threat of submarine warfare.
I should only like you to remind the Ambassador before his interview
with the President of the expectations we based in the spring on
Wilson and to call his attention to the increasing ruthlessness
with which the enemy is carrying on the war. I take it for granted
that Gerard will treat my memoir as strictly confidential and will
not publish it.

"Should Your Excellency, however, regard the delivery of the memorandum
as indiscreet, I request that it may be deferred.

"For Your Excellency's information (strictly confidential):

"1. The memorandum is written personally by His Majesty.

"2. Unrestricted submarine warfare is for the present deferred.


"Your Excellency hinted to His Majesty in your last conversation at
Charleville in April that President Wilson possibly would try towards
the end of summer to offer his good services to the belligerents for
the promotion of peace. The German Government has no information
as to whether the President adheres to this idea, and as to the
eventual date at which his step would take place. Meanwhile the
constellation of war has taken such a form, that the German Government
foresees the time at which it will be forced to regain the freedom
of action that it has reserved to itself in the Note of May 4th
last, and thus the President's steps may be jeopardized."

Mr. Gerard arrived in New York a few days after I had received the
Emperor's memorandum. He was accompanied by the American journalist,
Herbert Swope, a correspondent of _The World_, who had spent a
considerable time in Berlin. This gentleman professed to be Mr.
Gerard's confidant, and even from the ship sent wireless messages
to his paper in which he reported that the unrestricted submarine
campaign was imminent. The Ambassador also, after landing in New
York, expressed himself, as I at once learned, to the same effect,
and Mr. Swope continued his open Press-campaign in this direction.

Under these circumstances I considered it inopportune to give Mr.
Gerard the Emperor's memorandum, as I assumed that he would read
into it merely a confirmation of his view, and would discuss it
in that light. If, however, the idea spread abroad that we were
about to begin the unrestricted submarine campaign all prospect
of success for peace mediation was lost. It was indeed clear that
the Entente would not accept American mediation if they could hope
for the submarine campaign and consequent declaration of war by
the United States. It must continually be repeated that mediation
could only succeed if the Entente had already abandoned all hope of
American assistance. On these considerations I handed the memorandum
to Colonel House, of whose discretion I had two years' experience.
In this way it came into the hands of the equally unusually discreet
President, without anyone else learning anything about it. The
memorandum at once produced a great effect, as now the American
authorities had no further doubt that the Imperial Government would
accept the intended mediation. This could, however, not be speeded
up because Mr. Wilson did not want to undertake a great political
movement so shortly before the election.

At this time I sent the following report to the Chancellor:


  "Washington, 17th October, 1916.

"For a week there has again been some excitement here about foreign
policy. This is due to a variety of causes. At first the rumor
was that Ambassador Gerard was bringing with him a peace proposal
from the German Government. In spite of all denials this rumor was
believed for a time, because it was started by one of the first
bankers of New York. Unfortunately Mr. Gerard heard of this canard
while he was still on the ship, and as he was travelling with Herbert
Swope a denial, sent by wireless, appeared in _The World_, which
was worse than the rumor itself. In this Swope reported that Mr.
Gerard was coming over to announce the approaching beginning of
ruthless submarine war. Just at this moment the U53 appeared at
Newport, and two days later I had an audience of the President,
which had been arranged a long time before, that I might hand to
Mr. Wilson the reply of His Majesty the Emperor and King on the
question of Polish relief.

"Colonel House, with whom, as is known, I am in constant communication,
expected that on his landing Mr. Gerard would let fall some intentional
or unintentional diplomatic _lapsus linguoe_, and therefore went in
the early morning to the quarantine station in order to protect Gerard
from the reporters. Mr. Gerard received a very hearty reception,
which, however, had certainly been engineered for election purposes,
because it is to the interest of the Democratic Administration to
extol their ambassador and their foreign policy. Immediately after
the reception Gerard breakfasted with House, and there everything
was denied that had been actually said or implied.

"As I have known Mr. and Mrs. Gerard for many years I had a longish
conversation with them on the day after their arrival. The quintessence
of the ambassador's remarks was that he was completely neutral,
but that Berlin expected more than that.

"Now everything has calmed down again here, and nothing is talked
about except the election, which will be decided in three weeks'
time. As I have several times had the honor to report, the result
is most uncertain. While four months ago a Republican victory seemed
certain, to-day Wilson's success is very possible. This is explained
by the fact that Mr. Hughes has made no permanent impression as a
speaker, whereas Roosevelt blew the war trumpet in his usual bombastic
fashion. If Hughes should be defeated he can thank Roosevelt. The
average American is, and remains a pacifist '_Er segnet Friede
und Friedenszeiten_,' and can only be drawn into war by passionate
popular excitement."

With the facts contained in the above report the following telegram
is also concerned, which I despatched after the visit to the President
mentioned above:


  "Washington, 11th October 1916.

"Wilson gave particular force to his remarks by pointing out that
the leaders of the opposition Roosevelt, Lodge and Co., desired
war with Germany, which he was quite unable to understand. His
only desire was to remain neutral, and to help to bring the war
to an end as a decision by force of arms seemed to him out of the
question. He thought that neither of the belligerent parties would
be able to gain a decisive victory. Therefore it was better to
make peace to-day than to-morrow. But all prospect of ending the
war would vanish if the United States were also drawn in.

"As Wilson always spoke as though he was holding himself in readiness,
in case his services as mediator were required, I told him that
in my opinion there was no prospect of any advances being made
by the belligerent Powers.

"It was obvious that Wilson would have preferred to be directly
encouraged to make peace before the election because in that case
he would have been sure of being re-elected. If, however, he were
re-elected without this, he would have to make up his mind to take
the initiative himself. Result of the poll still very doubtful.
Wilson surprisingly strong, as Hughes has little success as a speaker
and Roosevelt does more harm than good."

To this I received the following reply from the Chancellor:


  "Berlin, 14th October, 1916.

"Demand for unrestricted submarine campaign increasing here with
prolongation of war and improbability of decisive military blow,
without, however, shaking the Government's attitude.

"Direct request for Wilson's mediation still impossible, in view
of favor hitherto shown to Entente, and after last speeches of
Asquith and Lloyd George. Spontaneous appeal for peace, towards
which I again ask you to encourage him, would be gladly accepted
by us. You should point out Wilson's power, and consequently his
duty, to put a stop to slaughter. If he cannot make up his mind
to act alone he should get into communication with Pope, King of
Spain and European neutrals. Such joint action, since it cannot be
rejected by Entente, would insure him re-election and historical


The incident of the Emperor's memorandum closed with the following
telegram sent by me:


  "Washington, 20th October, 1916.

"I thought it better to give memorandum to Gerard for House, as
in this way greater discretion is assured. Latter was incautious
in his utterances to Press here. House will speak with Gerard.
Both gentlemen see Wilson shortly, and are accordingly in constant

"It is still not to be expected that Wilson will make peace advances
before the election. Nor that he will get into communication with
Pope or King of Spain as hitherto every suggestion of joint action
has met with immovable opposition, chiefly based on tradition.
Meanwhile prospect of Wilson's re-election becomes obviously greater
every day. Should this occur I believe that Wilson will very soon
attempt mediation and with success, chiefly because the feeling
against England has greatly increased, which England is seeking to
hide. If peace is not concluded serious Anglo-American differences of
opinion are to be expected. Until now every fresh dispute with Germany
with regard to the submarine question has always been exploited by
our enemies here to bridge the differences with England. Already
the agitation in the German Press for unrestricted submarine warfare
is persistently used for this purpose."

After a hard struggle Mr. Wilson was re-elected President. The
pacifist tendency in the United States had won, for the battle
was fought under the watchword that Mr. Wilson had preserved peace
for the United States. "He kept us out of the war" had been the
battle-cry of the Democrats. The few electioneering speeches made
by the President breathed the spirit of neutrality and love of
peace. It is particularly to be noticed that at that time, Mr.
Wilson, in an address, dealt in a thoroughly objective way with
the question of guilt for the origin of the war, which was later to
be the determining factor in his attitude towards us. The way was
now cleared for the opening of the peace movement. Public feeling
had also become more favorable to us, inasmuch as the American war
industry no longer attached so much importance to the prolongation
of the war after the victorious Democratic party had drawn up an
extensive armament programme and so indicated to the industry the
prospect of great State contracts.

On the subject of my own attitude with regard to the election,
innumerable legends have been spread through Germany. The few
German-Americans who shared the views of the so-called "German-American
Chamber of Commerce" have reproached me with having brought about
Mr. Wilson's election by influencing the German-Americans.
Anti-German-American newspapers maintained, on the other hand,
that I had used every lever to bring about the election of the
Republican candidate, Mr. Hughes, so as to punish Mr. Wilson for
his attitude towards the submarine campaign. My position was an
extraordinarily difficult one, as I could neither take part in
the election nor give up the relations which naturally and in the
course of my duty bound me to the German-Americans and pacifists.
In general I may say that the vast majority of German-Americans
had absolute confidence in me throughout. A splendid testimony of
this was given at the great German bazaar which was held in New
York in aid of the Red Cross. This undertaking made the astounding
net profit of 800,000 dollars. At the opening nearly 30,000 people
were present, who gave me an indescribably enthusiastic ovation
simply because they believed that I had prevented war between Germany
and the United States.

I never for a moment denied that I personally should be glad to
see Mr. Wilson re-elected, as I was convinced that he had the
determination and the power to bring about peace. It was at that
time impossible for me to foresee that our Government would change
its attitude to this question. All American pacifists belonged to
the Democratic camp, all militarists belonged to the Republican

A change in our favor was, therefore, not to be expected from the
election of Mr. Hughes. Apart from the usual relations with the
pacifists and German-Americans already mentioned, which were in no
way altered during the election, I held myself aloof as my position
demanded. If it had been possible to accuse me of taking sides,
the agents of the Entente would not have missed the opportunity
of bringing me to book, as this they regarded as their object in
life. I continually received letters from _agents provocateurs_,
asking for my opinion on the elections. Of course I never replied to
these. Neither were the false statements of anti-German newspapers
any more successful which announced that on the day of the election
I had openly shown my support of Mr. Hughes.

New York at night after the polling is one of the sights of America. All
streets, squares, theatres and restaurants are filled to overflowing.
The election results are displayed everywhere by electric light and
cinematograph. Particularly when the result is very uncertain, as
in 1916, the crowd are tremendously excited. At 11 p.m. the election
of Mr. Hughes seemed certain, as the Eastern States had voted for
him almost to a man, and it was said that a Democratic candidate
can only gain the victory if he wins over New York State. Next day
the picture changed, after the results had come gradually from
the West, where the Democratic party was everywhere triumphant.
The majority, however, was so slight that it was several days before
Mr. Wilson's election was secure.

The malcontents among the German-Americans already mentioned maintain
that if Mr. Hughes had been elected, Congress would have used the
four months between the election and the 4th March, during which
Mr. Wilson was powerless and Mr. Hughes had not yet got the reins
into his hands, to rush through the warning of American citizens
against travelling on British passenger-ships. In that case, Mr.
Hughes, on assuming office, would have found himself faced with
a situation which would have prevented him from entering the war,
in view of the national inclination towards peace. Therefore, the
German-Americans ought to have supported Hughes. This had been
clear to the Germans in the East. They maintained that Wilson's
re-election was due to the German votes in the Western States which
had obeyed a more or less clear order from the German Embassy.

This line of argument is yet another proof that the Germans in
question had no idea of the situation in America. They kept exclusively
to themselves in the _Deutscher Verein_, and scarcely ever saw a
real, true-bred American. To begin with, it is difficult to see
why the Germans in the West should obey the alleged order from me
if the Germans in the East did not do so. But the important thing
is that Wilson had firmly made up his mind, in case Mr. Hughes
was elected, to appoint him Secretary of State immediately and,
after Hughes had informed himself on the political position in
this office, to hand over the presidency and himself retire. Mr.
Wilson considered it impossible to leave the country without firm
leadership at such a dangerous moment.

Immediately after the official announcement of his reelection,
Mr. Wilson wrote a Peace-Note, but unfortunately kept it in his
desk, because, unhappily, just at that time a new anti-German wave
swept over the country on account of the Belgian deportations. Mr.
Wilson was at that time in the habit of typing the drafts of his
Notes and speeches himself, and only submitting them to his advisers
on points of law or other technicalities. Whether he still works
in this way I do not know. If the unhappy measure of the Belgian
deportations had not been adopted, and particularly just as we had
informed the President that we did not want to annex Belgium, the
history of the world would probably have taken a different course.
The American mediation would have anticipated our peace offer and,
therefore, would probably have succeeded, because we could not
then have reopened the unrestricted submarine campaign without
letting the mediation run its course.

In November several submarine incidents occurred in which there
was a doubt as to whether the rules of cruiser warfare had been
followed. The ships _Marina_ and _Arabia_ came under particular
consideration. I will not go into these cases as they had no political
importance. President Wilson caused the investigations to be carried
on in a dilatory fashion because he did not want to see his peace
move disturbed by controversies.

Of greater importance was the wish that was again cropping up in
Berlin to open the so-called "intensified submarine campaign." I
learned this in the following from Secretary of State von Jagow:


  "Berlin, 8th November, 1916.

"Navy wishes at least torpedo armed enemy cargo-vessels without
warning. Does Your Excellency consider this dangerous, apart from
probable mistakes, particularly in view of fact that now many Americans
are lured to travel on such steamers!


As the "intensified submarine campaign" would have destroyed all
prospect of American intervention, I advised strongly against it
in the two following telegrams:


  "Washington, 17th November, 1916.

"It is urgently desirable not to reopen disputes about armed
merchantmen, especially in view of Wilson's peace plan."


  "Washington, 20th November, 1916.

"In reply to telegram No. 112 which was delayed.

  "Pursuant to Telegram No. 152.

"Urge no change in submarine war, until decided whether Wilson will
open mediation. I consider this imminent."

At the same time I received the first news of the intended peace
offer of the German Government. To begin with, the following telegram
arrived from Secretary of State von Jagow:


  "Berlin, 16th November, 1916.

"Desirable to know whether President willing to take steps towards
mediation, and if so, which and when? Question important for decision
of possible steps in same direction elsewhere.

"How does Mexican question stand?


Then followed a further telegram which read as follows:


  "Berlin, 22nd November, 1916.

  "Strictly confidential.

"For Your Excellency's strictly personal information. So far as
favorable military position permits we intend, in conjunction with
our Allies, immediately to announce our readiness to enter into
peace negotiations.


To the first of these two telegrams I sent the following reply:


  "Washington, 21st November, 1916.

"Wilson spontaneously commissioned House to tell me in strict confidence
that he is anxious to take steps towards mediation as soon as possible,
probably between now and the New Year. He makes it a condition,
however, that until then, mediation should be spoken and written
of as little as possible, and further, that we should conduct the
submarine war strictly according to our promises and not allow
any fresh controversies to arise.

"Wilson's reasons for the above conditions are as follows: He believes
that he can only resort to mediation provided that public opinion
over here remains as favorable to us as it has been during the
last few months. On this account he deplores the so-called Belgian
deportations. Any new submarine controversy would again affect
public feeling adversely for us, whereas if this question can be
eliminated the tension with regard to England will increase. The
British reply on the subject of the black lists and the English
Press utterances on Wilson's election have created a bad impression
in Government circles over here. The submarine question, however,
will always divert this resentment against us again.

"Wilson still hesitates to intervene because the State Department
expects a refusal on the part of our enemies, while House urges it
strongly and is very hopeful. I have, according to instructions,
encouraged him as much as possible, by telling him, that in my
opinion, our enemies would be quite unable to refuse to enter into
negotiations, and that is all that Wilson has in view. House seemed
very much impressed when I reminded him how, throughout the whole
war, the English Government had tried by lying and diplomatic trickery
to bring public opinion on to their side. This house of cards,
built on lies and deception, would immediately collapse if our
enemies were now to refuse negotiations and thus would have to
admit openly their desire for conquest. I am rather afraid that
England may make a pretense of entering into negotiations and then
try to put us in the wrong.

"I chose this line of argument because Wilson fears above all things
the humiliation of a refusal. If it does come to negotiations, even
unsuccessful, Wilson will have scored a great success. Whether
the negotiations will lead to a definite result I cannot judge
from here. In any case, if it should come to negotiations, strong
pressure will be exerted by the Government over here in the direction
of peace.

"The Mexican question is still in a state of stagnation as a result
of diplomatic negotiations. This affair interests practically no
one any more and proved to have no influence on the election.

"If Your Excellency still desires Wilson to intervene it is necessary,
in view of the above, to get rid as soon as possible of the _Marina_
and _Arabia_ incidents without further controversy and not to allow
any fresh controversies to arise. I think that, with the help of House,
I can bury these two incidents without attracting much attention, as
this is the wish of Wilson himself. As House said, the President
takes a tragic view of these incidents, because, after the _Sussex_
Note, he could not possibly write another Note, and therefore,
there is nothing left but to break off diplomatic negotiations,
should it be impossible to dispose of the matter privately and
confidentially with me.

"Next week Gerard will be in Washington for a day or two: he will
lunch with me and dine with Lansing. House keeps him in strict
control. In case Gerard's return to Berlin is not desired, please
send me instructions. Otherwise he should be there again at the
end of the year."

To this telegram, which announced very definitely the American
mediation, I received from the Foreign Office the following reply:


  "Berlin, 26th November, 1916.

"Replacement, or at least further retention, of Gerard in America
desired in Berlin, provided that it is possible without wounding
his vanity and sensitiveness to our disadvantage, that it is certain
that this hint from our side will not become known in America and
that a suitable successor is available.

"We should prefer Wilson's peace move to the step on our part mentioned
in our telegram No. 116 of the 22nd November. For this reason it
is eminently desirable that Wilson should make up his mind for
immediate action if possible at the opening of congress or immediately
afterwards. If it is put off until the New Year or later, the lull
in military operations during the winter campaign would moderate
the desire of public opinion for peace, and on the other hand would
make preparations for the spring offensive necessary which would
probably strengthen the military opposition of a peace movement.
Please place this point of view cautiously and without _empressement_
before House as your personal opinion and keep me closely instructed
by telegram as to the position.


To this telegram I sent the following replies:



  "Washington, 1st December, 1916.

"To-morrow I shall see House in New York and will try to arrange
that Gerard, who is to sail on 5th December, is kept back.

"Lansing expressed himself very strongly to me on the subject of
the American protest with regard to the Belgian deportations. These
have endangered the whole Belgian relief movement; in addition,
feeling here has been poisoned against us, and that just at a moment
when it looked as though peace negotiations might be begun. Lansing
expressed the view that, if the Imperial Government could find a
way of yielding to the protests of the neutrals, this would make a
strong impression in our favor and that it would probably be possible
immediately afterwards to propose the opening of peace negotiations.
Hitherto, unfortunately, something has always intervened.

"The Federal Reserve Board's warning to the banks against unsecured
promissory notes of foreign States is the first sign that the Government
here wishes to put pressure on our enemies."


  "Washington, 4th December, 1916.

"Pursuant to Telegram No. 164 of the 1st inst.

"House told me in strict confidence question of Mr. Gerard's return
has been thoroughly discussed by him with Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lansing.
Mr. Gerard's unpopularity in Berlin and his unfriendly manner were
well known here. However, no satisfactory successor was available,
and Mr. Gerard is at least straightforward and does exactly what he
is told. He has received very detailed instructions here, and is
even quite enthusiastic over the idea of assisting in bringing about
peace. In addition, Mr. Gerard was so pleased at the appointment of
the Secretary of State that he is sure to adopt a more friendly
attitude in future.

"As a matter of fact, Mr. Gerard has everywhere described the changes
in the personnel at the Foreign Office as extraordinarily favorable
for German-American relations, and laid particular stress on his
personal friendship with the Secretary of State.

"Everything is prepared for a peace move, but with Mr. Wilson still
hesitating, it is still doubtful when he will take action. All
the authorities here have now been won over to favor such a step.
This may then come at any time, especially if it is possible for
us to adopt a conciliatory attitude on the Belgian question. Mr.
Wilson believes that he is so hated in England that he won't be
listened to. This train of thought largely explains his eagerness
in the Belgian question. In any case, so much is certain, that
House is continually urging Mr. Wilson to take action; moreover,
peace propaganda here is steadily increasing, notwithstanding that
it is for the moment very seriously hampered by the Belgian question.
If Mr. Wilson--as is to be expected--finds a strong feeling for
peace in Congress, he should at last make up his mind."

After a stay of about two months in America, Mr. Gerard, furnished
with fresh instructions, left for Berlin on the 5th December. When
later the Ambassador, at the much discussed Adlon dinner, declared
that the relations between the United States and Germany had never
been so good as at that moment since the beginning of the war,
this speech was the keynote of his instructions. If on the other
hand Herr Helfferich said that the exuberance of the Ambassador
astonished him, this is explained by the fact that Berlin never
believed in Mr. Wilson's intention to bring about peace. Why such
incredulity should persist notwithstanding that Colonel House had
twice travelled to Berlin for this very purpose, and that the
President's peace policy had been the burden of all my reports,
I shall never be able to understand, while, on the other hand, I
can quite understand that Mr. Wilson's passivity with regard to
the English breaches of international law had engendered strong
distrust of him in Germany.

For the rest, Mr. Gerard seemed to be imperfectly informed about
the situation in Berlin. He was certainly right in his prediction
of the unrestricted submarine campaign, but in this case the wish
was father to the thought. It accorded with Mr. Gerard's anti-German
feeling, to which he gave expression later in his gossipy literature
and film production, that he should welcome the submarine campaign,
and with it the rupture with the United States, as well as our
defeat. But after all, the Ambassador' proved at the Adlon dinner
that he could sing another tune.

When Mr. Gerard lunched with me in Washington, I had just learned
by cable from Berlin that Herr von Jagow had resigned and had been
replaced by Herr Zimmermann. On hearing this news, the Ambassador
said that now there would be no rupture between Germany and the
United States, for Herr Zimmermann was his personal friend and
was opposed to war, while Herr von Jagow, as an aristocrat, did
not love the Americans, and looked down on bourgeois Gerard. A
grosser misreading of the actual situation in Berlin can scarcely
be conceived, as the unrestricted submarine campaign was only made
possible by the resignation of Herr von Jagow, who was the chief
opponent in Berlin of the submarine campaign, and the pillar on
which the idea of American intervention rested. As long as Herr
von Jagow remained Secretary of State, a breach with the United
States was regarded as impossible. One of his last official acts
was to write a private letter to me on the 20th November, 1916,
concluding with the following sentence:

"As you have seen from your instructions, we are thoroughly in
sympathy with the peace tendencies of President Wilson. His activity
in this direction is to be strongly encouraged. Naturally his mediation
tendencies must not extend to concrete proposals (because these
would be unfavorable to us.)"

We now come to the moment in this account when the peace offer of
the Imperial Government got involved with Mr. Wilson's plans for
mediation. It is not my intention to go closely into the events
that occurred in Berlin or the considerations that took effect there,
as I only know them through their reaction on the instructions
sent to me. I will only mention briefly, that, according to the
statement of Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg before the Commission of
the National Assembly, the peace offer of the Imperial Government
was made with a view to influencing the pacifist minorities in
the Entente countries, and working, through the people, on the
Governments. Beyond this there was no intention of cutting out
Mr. Wilson's peace move, but the Imperial Government wanted to
have "two irons in the fire." Finally, all the utterances of the
Imperial Government, which do not seem to tally with these two
principles of their policy, are to be regarded as based on purely
tactical motives. Accordingly, the decisive turn in our policy
did not occur until the 9th January, 1917, when the decision to
resort to the unrestricted submarine war was taken. Until then
the policy followed was that of "two irons in the fire."

This is the way in which I read the situation in Washington at
the time. If I had been convinced that the resignation of Herr von
Jagow and the German peace offer meant a definite departure from
the policy which we had hitherto followed with regard to Mr. Wilson's
peace step, I should have immediately sent in my resignation, as
I was completely identified with this policy. However, I shall
return to this side of the question later.

The following telegram from the Foreign Office gave me the official
information of our peace offer:


  "Berlin, 9th December, 1916.

"Confidential, for your personal information.

"We have decided to make use of the favorable position created
by the fall of Bukarest in order, according to telegram number
116 of the 21st November, to make a peace offer in conjunction
with our Allies, probably on Thursday, the 12th December. We do
not at the present moment run any risk of damaging our prestige
or showing signs of weakness. Should the enemy reject the offer
the odium of continuing the war will fall upon them. For reasons
stated in telegram number 121 we could not wait any longer for
President Wilson to make up his mind to take action.

"The American Embassy here will at the given moment receive a Note
in which the American Government will be requested to communicate
our peace offer to those of our enemies with whom they represent
our interests. Our other enemies will be informed through the medium
of Switzerland and Spain respectively. American representative in
conversation with Chancellor on 5th December expressed himself,
in confidence, on the President's mission, among other things, as
follows: 'What the President now most earnestly desires is practical
cooperation on the part of German authorities in bringing about
a favorable opportunity for soon and affirmative action by the
President looking to an early restoration of peace.' Chancellor
replied to American representative, he was 'extremely gratified
to see from the President's message that in the given moment he
could count upon the sincere and practical co-operation of the
President in the restoration of peace, as much as the President
could count upon the practical co-operation of German authorities.'
We think we may assume that our action meets the wishes of the

"Please interpret it in any case in this sense to the President
and House.


To this telegram I replied as follows:


  "Washington, 13th December, 1916.

  "In reply to Telegram No. 128.

"Have carried out instructions with House, who is at present staying
at the White House. I have not yet received answer from Wilson,
but it is generally believed here that he will strongly support
peace proposals.

"Mr. Gerard, in a speech at a farewell dinner given to him in New
York, declared that Germany had won, and could not be robbed of her
victory. Although not published, this speech attracted attention,
especially as Mr. Gerard emphasized the fact that he had reported
to Mr. Wilson in this sense."

Before the Commission of the National Assembly I was asked whether
I had made an attempt to stand in the way of our peace offer, lest
it should interfere with Mr. Wilson's action. I took no such steps,
because I thought that I was faced with a firm resolve of the Imperial
Government, and because I did not think that our peace offer would
substantially compromise Mr. Wilson's action.

It was also stated before the commission that I might have helped
my policy to prevail in Berlin if I had insisted on it more strongly.
With regard to this, I must say at once, that I did not consider
stronger influence on my side really called for, as my instructions
had always categorically laid down that I was to encourage Mr.
Wilson to take peace action. I had also been informed that the
Imperial Government would prefer such action to a peace offer from
our side, and that the correct moment for the latter would have
to depend on the military situation. I was, therefore, until the
arrival of the Berlin telegram, number 128, not clear as to which
of the actions would come first, especially as, according to my
instructions, I was to keep our peace offer secret and could not
discuss it with Colonel House.

Under ordinary circumstances, I should have travelled to Berlin
several times during the war to confer with the authorities.
Unfortunately, however, that was impossible, as the English would
never have allowed me to travel to and fro. If I had had the ways
and means to enlighten German public opinion on the situation in
America, it would certainly have done a lot of good. According to
the evidence given before the Commission of the National Assembly,
the chief reason for our rejection of mediation was distrust of
Mr. Wilson. Nevertheless, I still believe that ignorance and
undervaluation of America was a stronger influence. At least I
cannot conceive that all the authorities concerned would have voted
for unrestricted submarine war if they had been firmly convinced
that the United States would come into the war with all her military
and economic power. However that may be, I tried at least to do what
I could and I made an attempt to send Herr Albert, who was completely
in accord with me, to Berlin on the submarine _Deutschland_. The
captain of the _Deutschland_, however, had scruples against carrying
passengers, and Herr Albert's voyage had therefore to be given up.
After my experience of the journeys of Herren Meyer Gerhardt and
Dernburg, I certainly do not think that Herr Albert would have done
very much in Berlin. Even I could hardly have hindered the opening
of the unrestricted submarine campaign where Herr von Jagow, Herr
von Kühlmann and others had failed, and after all, that was the
main point.

Mr. Wilson's intention of bringing about peace had been reported
to me so definitely and so often that I took it for granted that
the President would carry through his plan in spite of our peace
offer. As I had received no instructions to the contrary, I held
to my previous interpretation of the situation, and assumed that,
although it was true that we had ourselves made a peace offer because
Wilson's action was so long in coming, we should nevertheless still
be glad to avail ourselves of the President's help. In my opinion,
this was the only interpretation that could be put on the Foreign
Office telegram number 128, given above. The President himself,
as Colonel House told me, was very disappointed when he received
the news of our peace offer. Colonel House told me that he would
naturally have liked to take the first step himself. Apart from
this, he had always warned us against mentioning peace, because
this would be interpreted by the Entente as weakness. He therefore
regarded our peace offer as an obstacle to action on his part,
as it was bound to diminish the enemy's readiness to enter into
negotiations. On the other hand, the step of the Imperial Government
exerted a favorable influence on American public opinion, and this
influence would have been even more favorable if the offer had been
made less in the tone of a victor. The attitude of American public
opinion, and the fear lest peace negotiations might be opened without
his co-operation, must have been the chief reasons that influenced
Mr. Wilson publicly to support our peace offer. In connection with
this I sent the following information to Berlin:


  "Washington, 16th December, 1916.

"Lansing tells me the following statement, which I could not send
by wireless to-day, comes from Wilson personally.

"President Wilson has decided that the Notes of the Central Powers,
proposing a discussion of peace to the Entente Allies, will be
sent forward by the American Government acting as intermediary
without any accompanying offer of his own. He has not determined
whether any action on behalf of peace will be taken later by the
United States on its own account, but is holding himself in readiness
to serve in any possible way towards bringing the warring nations

"From Lansing's remarks I gather that he is convinced that our enemies
will agree to a conference and that then the American Government will
have an opportunity to speak in favor of peace. As the Press here
is also in general of the opinion that our enemies cannot refuse
a conference without turning public opinion against themselves,
I have grounds for assuming that the American Embassy in London,
in spite of the official statement mentioned above, will assert
this view."

As I expected, the President did not allow himself to be turned
from his purpose, and on the 18th December dispatched the Note which
had long been ready, with certain alterations, to the belligerent
Powers. He certainly would not have taken this step if he had not
reckoned on certain success. Mr. Wilson's Note could not help but
bear out our peace plans, and was therefore regarded throughout
America as "pro-German." For this very reason it caused a sensation.
On the New York Exchange it was followed by a slump in war industry
values. A few anti-German newspapers, which began to suspect that
I was the only diplomatist in Washington who knew anything of the
President's intentions, declared that I had made millions by speculating
on this probability. I had already been accused of every other
imaginable crime by the Jingo and Entente Press. Mr. Wilson's
son-in-law, Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo, was also suspected
of having abused his political information to speculate on the
Exchange. Soon afterwards, when I was dining with the President,
he asked me in jest what I had to say to the accusation of the
American Press that I had made millions in this way. I replied
that I had gradually got used to such attacks, and they only amused
me. Mr. Wilson replied: "That is right. My son-in-law takes the
matter much too seriously. I tell him 'If you get so angry, people
will think the story is true.'"

The American Press was thrown into the greatest excitement by the
President's Note and stormed the State Department. Mr. Lansing
was surrounded by questioners and remarked that the United States
had the greatest interest in bringing the war to an end, because
otherwise she would be drawn in herself. As of late, as has already
been mentioned, several doubtful submarine incidents had occurred,
the Press took this remark to mean that the United States would
enter the war against us if the intervention move came to nothing.
Mr. Wilson immediately, realized that such an interpretation of
Mr. Lansing's words would seriously jeopardize his peace move.
If the Entente could hope for American participation in the war,
there would be no prospect of their consenting to a "peace without
victory." In that case the direction of their policy was defined
beforehand. They only required to reject the offer of mediation
to reach the goal of their long-cherished hopes. The President
therefore at once requested Mr. Lansing to contradict the statements
of the Press. This was done, with the observation that there was
no probability of the United States entering the war. The harm
could not, however, be completely wiped out, as denials are always
regarded with doubt.

The vital parts of Mr. Wilson's Note read as follows:

"The President suggests that an early occasion be sought to call out
from all the nations now at war such an avowal of their respective
views as to the terms upon which the war might be concluded and
the arrangements which would be deemed satisfactory as a guaranty
against its renewal or the kindling of any similar conflict in
the future, as would make it possible frankly to compare them.
He is indifferent as to the means taken to accomplish this. He
would be happy himself to serve, or even to take the initiative
in its accomplishment, in any way that might prove acceptable, but
he has no desire to determine the method or the instrumentality.
One way will be as acceptable to him as another if only the great
object he has in mind be attained.

"In the measures taken to secure the future peace of the world
the people and the Government of the United States are as vitally
and as directly interested as the Governments now at war.

"The President does not feel that it is right and his duty to point
out their intimate interest in its conclusion, lest it should presently
be too late to accomplish the greater things which lie beyond its
conclusion, lest the situation of neutral nations, now exceedingly
hard to endure, be rendered altogether intolerable, and lest, more
than all, an inquiry be done civilization itself which can never
be atoned for, or repaired.

"Yet the concrete objects for which it is being waged have never
been definitely stated.

"The leaders of the several belligerents have, as has been said
stated those objects in general terms. But, stated in general terms,
they seem the same on both sides. Never yet have the authoritative
spokesmen of either side avowed the precise objects which would,
if attained, satisfy them and their people that the war had been
fought out. The world has been left to conjecture what definite
results, what actual exchange of guaranties, what political or
territorial changes or readjustments, what stage of military success
even, would bring the war to an end.

"It may be that peace is nearer than we know; that the terms which
the belligerents on the one side and on the other would deem it
necessary to insist upon are not so irreconcilable as some have
feared; that an interchange of views would clear the way at least
for conference and make the permanent concord of the nations a
hope of the immediate future, a concert of nations immediately

"The President is not proposing peace; he is not even offering
mediation. He is merely proposing that soundings be taken in order
that we may learn, the neutral with the belligerent, how near the
haven of peace may be for which all mankind longs with an intense
and increasing longing. He believes that the spirit in which he
speaks and the objects which he seeks will be understood by all
concerned, and he confidently hopes for a response which will bring
a new light into the affairs of the world."

As this Note in its positive proposals was considered rather tentative
and obscure--with the intention, of course, of making a direct
negative answer impossible--I asked Mr. Lansing what procedure the
President would like. With regard to this conversation I reported
to Berlin in the following telegram:


  "Washington, 21st December, 1916.

"Lansing informed me a few days ago of Wilson's Peace Note, and said
that the American Government were becoming more and more involved
in an intolerable position as a result of repeated infringements
of their rights. Therefore they hoped for frank statements from
the belligerent Powers on their peace conditions. I gave it as
my personal opinion that this would be difficult except through
a conference because of the press, etc. Lansing replied that the
statements could be confidential, and might gradually lead to a
conference. This seems to bear out the view, widely held here,
that Wilson would like to act as a 'clearing house' for the further
steps towards peace. He has American public opinion behind him
with the exception of our inveterate enemies, who regard Wilson's
Note as pro-German."

My conversation with Mr. Lansing, and the wording of the American
Note, made it perfectly clear that the President, in the first
place, only wished to be informed of the peace conditions of both
sides. This was just what the Berlin Government did not want, because
it would have aroused a bitter struggle between the different shades
of public opinion as to the "war aims." My telegram therefore received
the following negative reply:


  "Berlin, 26th December, 1916.

  "In reply to Telegram No. 188.

"I would reply to the American Peace Note that a direct interchange
of ideas seems to us most likely to attain the desired result. We
should, therefore, propose immediate conference of delegates of
belligerent States in neutral place. We share President's view that
work of preventing future wars could only begin after conclusion
of present war.

"For your exclusive personal information: as place for possible
conference of delegates only neutral Europe can be considered. Apart
from the difficulty of getting to and from America, the Portsmouth
experiences teach that American indiscretion and interference make
appropriate negotiations impossible. Interference by President, even
in form of 'clearing house,' would be detrimental to our interests
and is, therefore, to be prevented. The basis for future conclusion
of peace we must decide in direct conference with our enemies if
we are not to run the risk of being robbed of our gains by neutral
pressure. We, therefore, reject the idea of a conference. On the
other hand, there is no objection, after conclusion of peace, to
sending delegates to an international congress to confer on problem
of safeguarding future world peace.


From this telegram it might be assumed that the Imperial Government
wished to limit Mr. Wilson's activity to bringing the belligerent
parties to the conference table. We might also very well have gone
on working with the President if the unrestricted submarine campaign
had not intervened. It was, however, understandable that the Imperial
Government, on grounds of domestic politics, should not want to
name our peace terms at once. Accordingly the answer to the Wilson
Note, which reached Berlin with extraordinary promptness on the
26th December, amounted to a friendly negative.

The German Note ran as follows:

"The Imperial Government have received and considered the President's
magnanimous suggestion, that the foundation should be laid on which
to build a lasting peace, in the friendly spirit which permeates
the President's communication. The President points to the goal
which is dear to his heart, and leaves the choice of the way open.
To the Imperial Government a direct interchange of ideas would
seem the most appropriate way of attaining the desired result.
They, therefore, have the honor to suggest, in the sense of their
statement of the 12th inst., in which they offered the hand to
peace negotiations, an immediate conference of delegates of the
belligerent States in a neutral place.

"The Imperial Government are also of the opinion that the great
work of preventing future wars cannot be begun until after the
conclusion of the present struggle of the nations. When this time
has come they will gladly be ready to co-operate with the United
States of America in this noble work."

The reasons of domestic politics which prevented the Imperial Government
from naming our peace conditions were not understood in America.
When Secretary of State Lansing discussed with me the German Note
of 26th December he said that he did not understand why we refused
to name our conditions. If both the belligerent parties communicated
their conditions a compromise would eventually be reached. To my
objection that our demands were so moderate that they would be
interpreted as weakness he replied that we ought to ask for more,
indeed, ask for anything at all so long as we said something that
would provide a starting-point from which negotiations could be
opened and settled.

This conversation had no immediate practical results, as Colonel
House asked me on the same day to call on him in New York With
regard to the result of our conversation I telegraphed to Berlin
as follows:


  "Washington, 29th December, 1916.

"House told me it is Wilson's opinion that a conference will not
come about without previous confidential negotiations, for our
enemies, as things are at present, would refuse the invitation or
make their consent dependent on conditions. These words of Colonel
House were accompanied by an invitation to strictly confidential
negotiations, of which only he and Mr. Wilson should know. Under
these circumstances complete discretion was assured, as Wilson and
House, unlike most Americans, are both fairly clever at keeping

"I beg for early instructions as to whether I should reject such
negotiations, or whether your Excellency wishes to authorize me
to accept and will furnish me with instructions accordingly. As I
have always reported, Wilson lays comparatively little importance
on the territorial side of the peace conditions. I am still of the
opinion that the chief emphasis should be laid on what are here
called the guarantees for the future. If we could give Wilson these
as fully as possible he thinks he could bring about a conference,
for with that the chief argument of our enemies would be disposed
of. The latter maintain that we would like to make peace now in
order to begin the war when a more favorable opportunity occurs,
while our enemies are obliged to hold together the coalition that
has been formed against us in order to attain a lasting peace.
Wilson's ideas about such guarantees are known to Your Excellency.
They consist, in the first place, of disarmament by land and sea
(freedom of the seas), provisions for arbitration and a peace league.
I think, from Your Excellency's speech in the Reichstag, that the
Imperial Government would give such guarantees on condition that
peace was restored.

"With House I adopted chiefly a listening attitude in order not
to compromise Your Excellency in any way. However, I agree with
Colonel House's view that a peace conference cannot be brought
about without the help of the United States. Our enemies will try
to put us in the wrong by saying that we did, indeed, propose a
conference but would not breathe a word about our conditions or
guarantees. I can, of course, only judge from the American standpoint.
We have, by our peace offer, brought about a great change in public
opinion over here. This advantage we shall lose entirely if the
idea spread by our enemies that we have only made a deliberately
theatrical peace gesture for the benefit of German public opinion
is confirmed. What steps Wilson will take should Your Excellency
empower me to enter upon such negotiations is not yet certain and
depends entirely on Your Excellency's instructions. House had an
idea of travelling to England in person. The more detailed the
information Your Excellency can give me as to our conditions and
readiness to give guarantees the better from my point of view.
However, I do not know whether Your Excellency may not perhaps
prefer to let the negotiations break down rather than accept American
help. In my opinion it is not necessary that the United States
should take part in all the negotiations. All that is necessary
would be for us to pledge ourselves to the guarantees, which would
be settled in detail at a general conference, after a conference
of the belligerents had concluded a preliminary peace.

"I submit to Your Excellency the above proposal because I am convinced
that our enemies will not consent to negotiations unless strong
pressure is brought to bear. This, however, will, in my opinion,
occur if Your Excellency thinks it possible to accept American
intervention. With the exception of the Belgian question the American
Government ought to bring us more advantage than disadvantage, as
the Americans have only just come to realize what England's mastery
of the seas means."

This telegram I consider the most important of the entire negotiations,
inasmuch as it reached Berlin on the 3rd January, therefore six days
before the decision in favor of unrestricted submarine war. When
I re-read my telegrams to-day, I still--even after the evidence
given before the Commission of the National Assembly--have the same
impression as at that time, that Mr. Wilson agreed with our wishes
and regarded it as his principal task to bring about a conference of
the belligerent parties. I cannot, therefore, understand how it was
possible to regard this American offer as anything but an offer of
peace mediation, and how the Foreign Office could declare to G. H.
Q. that there had never been any question of peace mediation by Mr.
Wilson. On the other hand, I quite understand that Bethmann-Hollweg,
as he stated before the Commission of the National Assembly, was
very sceptical with regard to the President's policy. Nevertheless,
an offer of mediation was made which had to be accepted or refused.
In the first case it was necessary to bring forward the submarine
war as little as possible; in the other we should have to create a
clear diplomatic situation in Washington, if we were to avoid the
reproach of having negotiated with Wilson on the subject of peace
while at the same time planning the submarine campaign, which was
bound to bring about a rupture with the United States.

When I spoke with Colonel House at that time I assumed that the
principal aim of the German Note of the 26th December was to lay
particular emphasis on our old point of view, already known to
Mr. Wilson, according to which the regulation of territory was to
be dealt with by the belligerent Powers, and the League of Nations
question in a world conference under the American presidency. At the
time Colonel House himself always spoke of two conferences which
the President hoped to bring together at the Hague. The one was
to consist only of the belligerent Powers and settle the territorial
questions, the other was to be a world conference to found the
League of Nations. Mr. Wilson did not wish to invite the conference
to Washington because of the great distance from Europe and the
peculiar position of the American Press.

As I have already mentioned, their opening of the "intensified
submarine campaign" had been planned weeks before. This question
had now become acute, and I received the two following Foreign
Office telegrams on this subject:


  "Berlin, 4th January, 1917.

"Question of armed merchantmen in opinion of navy and G. H. Q. cannot
be further postponed.

"Request you discuss with Lansing following memorandum which is
closely connected with American memorandum of 25th March and leave
with him as _aide-memoire_. Our action against armed merchantmen,
which will follow the lines of the memorandum, does not, of course,
imply any withdrawal of our assurance in the Note of 4th May, 1916,
as to sinking of merchantmen.



  "Berlin, 5th January, 1917.

  "Pursuant to Telegram No. 145 of 4th January.

"Please telegraph to me immediately Your Excellency's personal
opinion as to impression and consequent action with regard to Telegram
No. 145. This must, not, however, be discussed with Lansing, as,
for your own strictly personal information, action against armed
ships will begin immediately.


As the question of the "intensified submarine war," in consequence
of the further course of events, became of no importance, there
is no need for me to go into detail, and I will confine myself
to giving my two answers as follows:


  "Washington, 9th January, 1917.

"Telegrams Nos. 145 and 148 received to-day.

"Request most urgently to postpone further steps till you have received
my answer."


  "Washington, 10th January, 1917.

  "In reply to Telegram 1488.

"Memorandum Lansing received. In my opinion steps in sense of this
memorandum will cause collapse of Wilson's peace mediation, and bring
about instead a rupture with America, unless action is postponed at
least until agreement is reached with American Government. It may
perhaps be possible to arrange that Americans should be warned against
serving on ships armed for attack. In any case, however, time must
be allowed the Government here to bring this about. As everything
is decided by Wilson, discussion with Lansing is mere formality.
He never gives an answer until he has received instructions from
Wilson. In present case latter must read memorandum first.

"How much importance Your Excellency attaches to Wilson's peace
mediation I cannot judge from here. Apart from that it is my duty to
state clearly that I consider rupture with the United States inevitable
if immediate action be taken on the lines of the memorandum."

At the time of sending the telegram I received, in the following
telegram, the reply of the Foreign Office to Mr. Wilson's last
proposals, which had been communicated to me through Colonel House:


  "Berlin, 7th January, 1917.

  "In reply to Telegram No. 192 of 29th December.

  "For your personal information.

"American intervention for definite peace negotiations is entirely
undesirable to us owing to public opinion here. Also at the present
moment we must avoid anything that might deepen the impression
among our enemies that our peace offer is in any way the result
of our finding ourselves in a desperate position. That is not the
case. We are convinced that economically and from a military point
of view, we can bring the war to victorious conclusion. The question
of stating our conditions, therefore, Your Excellency will handle
dilatorily. On the other hand, I authorize you to state now our
readiness to cooperate in that part of the programme in which the
President is particularly interesting himself, and which seems
to be identical with the so-called 'Second Convention' outlined
by Colonel House here. In this we include arbitration machinery,
peace league, and examination of the question of disarmament and of
the freedom of the seas. We are, therefore, in principle, prepared
for those guarantees which could be settled in detail in a general
conference after a conference of the belligerents has brought about
a preliminary peace. To prove our _bona fides_ in this direction,
we are also ready in principle to open immediate negotiations with
the United States.

"Your Excellency will be so good as to inform the President of this,
and request him to work out the programme for the conference to
secure world peace, and to communicate it to us as soon as possible.

"Please also emphasize to Colonel House and President Wilson that
our actual peace conditions are very moderate, and, in contrast
to those of the Entente, are kept within thoroughly reasonable
limits; this is also particularly the case with regard to Belgium,
which we do not wish to annex. Moreover, we desire regulation of
commercial and traffic communications after the war without any
idea of a boycott, a demand which we think will be understood at
once by all sane people. On the other hand, the question of Alsace
and Lorraine we cannot consent to discuss.

"I should like to know how Your Excellency thinks that pressure
could be brought to bear by President Wilson to incline the Entente
to peace negotiations. In the light of our experience during the
two years of war, it seems to us that a prohibition of the export
of war material and foodstuffs, which would be the step most likely
to bring the Entente into line and would also be the best for us,
is unfortunately little likely to be realized. Only an effective
pressure in this direction could relieve us on our side of the urgent
necessity of resorting again to unrestricted submarine warfare. Should
Your Excellency have proposals to make as to how the unrestricted
submarine warfare can be conducted without causing a rupture with
America, I request you to report, immediately by telegram.


I understood from this telegram that I was to continue the negotiations
with Colonel House. The refusal contained in this telegram was only
concerned with a demand which had never been made by the United
States. Moreover, I have never personally had much faith in the
appeal to public opinion which would have nothing to do with Mr.
Wilson. If the Imperial Government had a few weeks before desired
such intervention, they must have believed that German public opinion
would agree to it. In my opinion, too, an agitation in favor of
American intervention would have set in in Germany quite on its
own account if the German people had known that such action by
President Wilson offered good prospects of leading to a peace by
understanding. Later, when I returned from America to Germany,
I was struck by the small number of my countrymen who privately
favored the submarine war. I therefore still think that German public
opinion could easily have been persuaded to accept Mr. Wilson's
mediation, if the terrorism of the supporters of submarine war
had been dealt with in time. Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg has spoken
before the Commission of the National Assembly of the hypnotic
effect exerted on German public opinion by the submarine war.

Though the Foreign Office telegram of the 7th January mentions
the ways in which President Wilson could bring pressure to bear
on the Entente, it had already struck me at that time that the
first step taken by the United States to force the conclusion of
peace had not made the impression in Germany that its importance

The various "War Memories" that have now been published in Germany
do not touch on this point. As has already been mentioned, the
"Federal Reserve Board," which corresponds to our Reichsbank, had
issued a warning against the raising of loans for belligerent States.
In this way the American source of funds was practically cut off.
Already foreign securities were in general unwillingly handled.
If the loans had been completely forbidden, such results would
not have transpired, as the American avails himself of bank credit
to a far greater extent than is usual in other countries. It is
well known that the Government of the United States, after they had
entered the war, themselves raised "Liberty loans," and advanced
money to their Allies because this procedure accorded much more
closely with American inclinations than the raising of foreign

As is well known, after the German peace action had failed, the
definite decision to declare unrestricted submarine war was taken in
Pless on the 9th January. In this way, as the Chancellor said, the
Rubicon was crossed. War with the United States seemed inevitable,
unless it were found possible at the eleventh hour to annul the
decision of the German Government. Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg has
declared before the Commission of the National Assembly that he had
not sufficient faith in Mr. Wilson's peace intervention to advise
the Emperor to oppose the demand of G. H. Q. for the declaration
of unrestricted submarine war.

At the end of this chapter I give a report which I drew up on the
attitude of American public opinion towards intervention.

I should like once more to emphasize that in judging and estimating
American politics I have always given more weight to public opinion
than to the views or intentions of any individual statesman.

  "Washington, 11th December, 1916.

"During the last phases of the presidential elections the American
Press used to be so much occupied with questions of domestic policy
that there was little space left for the discussion of foreign
events. In contrast with this, in this year's campaign the Press
politics on questions of foreign policy played a very important
part, but the discussion was naturally so much under the influence
of the aims and considerations of party politics that a report
on the attitude of the Press towards the European belligerents
at that time could not have given a true picture. This was quite
particularly the case with regard to Germany. On one hand the Republican
organs, out of regard for the votes of the German-Americans, found
it necessary considerably to moderate their speech, while on the
other the Democratic Press branded the Republican candidate as a
'Kaiserite,' owing to his German-American following, and at the
same time threw more mud than ever over Germany and everything
German; until in the last weeks of the election campaign the dawning
hope of bringing over great masses of _Bindestrichler_ into the
Democratic camp brought about a sudden moderation in the tone of
this organ.

"Only now, after the absurdities of the presidential election are
over, is it again possible to arrive at an approximately clear
judgment as to the attitude of the Press towards Germany and the
other belligerent nations.

"This judgment may be briefly stated as follows:

"The American Press in general takes sides less passionately with
either party than was formerly the case, and is heartily tired of
the war. This does not in any way imply that our enemies have not
still the support of a number of very influential partisans, who
are all the time fighting loyally for the 'Cause of the Allies,'
let slip no opportunity to malign Germany and, in the event of a
threatened crisis, form an element of danger for us which should
not be underestimated. It may even be admitted that the tone which
the organs of this tendency, particularly strongly represented
in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, adopt against Germany has
become, if possible, more bitter during the last few months. But it
is questionable whether the great mass of the influential papers,
particularly in the remoter districts of the Atlantic coast, have
become more impartial. They don't like us and don't trust us, but
have also gradually got to know but not to esteem England.

"The present attitude of America towards the cause of the Entente
Powers, with which that of the greater part of the independent Press
coincide, was defined as follows by the _New York Tribune_, one
of the most inveterate champions of our enemies at the present time:
'Despite a very widespread sympathy for France and a well-defined
affection for Great Britain in a limited circle of Americans, there
has been no acceptance of the Allied points of view as to the war,
and there is not now the smallest chance that this will be the
case.... The thing that the British have failed to get before the
American people is the belief that the war was one in which the
question of humanity and of civilization was uppermost for the
British. The Germans have succeeded in making Americans in very
great numbers believe that it is purely and simply a war of trade
and commerce between the British and the Germans, and the various
economic conference proposals have served to emphasize this idea.'

"The violation of Greece, the ruthless procedure against Ireland
since the Easter rebellion--on which a well-directed Press service
of American-Irish, in spite of the strict English censorship, keeps
public opinion constantly informed--the selfish sacrifice of Serbia,
Montenegro and Rumania, as well as the illegal economic measures
against Holland and Scandinavia, have seriously shaken England's
reputation here as the protectress of the small nations.

"Certain remarks of the English Press of altogether too free a
nature on the American Government, their disparaging cartoons of
the President and the patronizing air adopted by many English war
journals and often in the English daily Press towards America--as,
for example, in a recent number of the _Morning Post_, alleged
former German hankerings for colonies in South America, from the
realization of which the Union is said to have been protected by
England--are arousing increasing dissatisfaction here. The persistent
and systematic attempts of the British Press Bureau to sow dissension
between America and Germany on the question of the submarine war
are resented. The sharp British replies to American representations
on the question of the 'black list' and the 'post-blockade,' and,
England's latest pin-prick, the refusal of the request for a free
passage for the Austrian Ambassador, condemned even by such a
pro-British paper as the Philadelphian _Public Ledger_ as a 'British
affront,' have created a very bad impression. 'It is unmistakable,'
says the pro-Entente _Evening Sun_, 'that American opinion has been
irritated and sympathy estranged by many acts which have damaged
our interests and wounded our national self-respect.'

"Above all, however, the serious shortcomings of the enemy General
Staffs, which are criticised here with unprofessional exaggeration,
and their ineffectiveness--'a lamentable succession of false moves,'
as they are called by the respected _Springfield Republican_--have
produced a general disillusionment as to the efficiency of our
enemies, which has damped even the old enthusiasm over the heroic
bearing of the French army and its commander-in-chief, who is very
popular over here. 'We give thanks for Joffre,' was the heading of
a typical leading article in the _New York Sun_ on Thanksgiving
Day. The recent warning of the American banks by the Federal Board
against accepting through the post large quantities of unsecured
foreign treasury notes--a warning which could only refer to the issue
by the Morgan bank of English and French short-dated securities--has
also shattered the belief in the inexhaustible economic resources
of France and England. With a quite exceptional expenditure of
effort the newspapers under British or French influence, of which
the most important are the _New York Times_, _New York Herald_
and _Evening Telegram_; the Philadelphian _Public Ledger_, the
_Chicago Herald_, and the _Providence Journal_, in addition to
a number of other sworn partisans of the Entente Powers, among
which may be mentioned particularly the _New York Tribune_, New
York _Sun_ and _Evening Sun_; _New York Evening Post_, _Journal
of Commerce_, _New York Globe_; Brooklyn _Daily Eagle_, Boston
_Evening Transcript_ and Philadelphian _Inquirer_, have lately
been trying to raise our enemies in the esteem of public opinion
here. This is shown particularly in the headlines and the arrangement
of the war news in these papers. All news that is detrimental to
the German cause, even when it comes from an unreliable source,
is printed in heavy type in the most striking position. Every gain
of ground by the Allies, however, slight, is hailed as a great
victory, and even the communications of private agencies which
are in contradiction to the official reports of the enemy, and
obviously inventions, appear as accomplished facts in the headlines
of the papers. Their leading articles pour out hatred and malice
against Germany. Their letter boxes are filled with contributions
which are full of venom and gall against Germany and her allies, and
their feuilletons or Sunday supplements contain about the strongest
attacks that have ever been brought against us even in the American
Press. But it looks as though their tactics no longer have the same
success as of old. Their utterances, apart from such as deal with
the Belgian or _Lusitania_ themes, no longer make any impression.

"On the other side the consistently friendly attitude of the ten
papers of the Hearst syndicate, which come daily into the hands of
more than three million readers in all parts of the country, has
of late become even much more friendly as a result of the English
boycott of the International News Service and the exclusion of all
the Hearst publications from circulation in Canada. Mr. Hearst
has replied to the inconceivably shortsighted policy of the British
authorities towards his news service in a series of forcible, full-page
leading articles against the British censorship which must have
seriously shaken the confidence, apart from this already weakened
long ago, of the American Press in all news coming from England.
Not only did the articles in question contain a crushing criticism
of the English system of suppressing and distorting the truth,
but they also proved that for years America had been misled
systematically from London in its judgment of foreign nations--e.g.,
the 'degenerate' French. Apart from this the Hearst newspapers
repeatedly explained in detail how in the autumn of 1916 the position
of the Central Powers was excellent, while that of England and
her allies was completely hopeless. It should be emphasized that
the Hearst newspapers are, nevertheless, not to be regarded as
blindly pro-German, for they publish a good deal that can hardly be
desirable for us--e.g., occasional articles on the 'German Peril,'
for which new food was provided by the exploits of the _Deutschland_,
and more especially U53, and was exploited here to support the
idea of increasing the army and navy. The papers named are based
on a sound American policy, but with their sharp, anti-English
tendency do us much more good than papers with admitted pro-German
bias. The chief value of the pro-German attitude of the organs of
the Hearst syndicate lies in the fact that their influence is not
limited to any particular town or district, but extends over the
whole Union. An English critic, S. K. Ratcliffe, recently wrote
about American newspapers in the _Manchester Guardian_.... 'Northern
papers are of no account in the South; the most influential New
York journals do not exist for the people of the Pacific coast,
and carry little weight in the Middle States. Hence, summaries of
opinion--confined to a small number of papers published east of
the Mississippi--are imperfectly representative of the Republic.'
This accurately observed geographical limitation of the influence
of the leading American newspapers is substantially overcome by
the Hearst organization, for the leading articles which appear
in the _New York American_ to-day will appear to-morrow in the
allied papers of Boston, Chicago and Atlanta, and the day after
in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"Another factor that has improved the attitude of the American
Press towards Germany is the recent important development of the
wireless news service. By this I do not mean so much the extension
of the trans-Atlantic service in the communications of which a
considerable part of the Press here seems unfortunately to take
little interest, but the radiographic transmission of the full
reports of American correspondents in Berlin and on the German
fronts to the American newspapers or news agencies. Among the
interesting reports that have been received direct and unmutilated
in this way those of Messrs. William B. Hale, Karl von Wiegand, Cyril
Brown and Karl W. Ackerman have exerted a particularly favorable
influence for us, especially at the critical moments of the
break-through in southern Galicia and the battles of the Somme,
when, without the special news service via Nauen, the American
Press would have been completely misled by the mass of reports
that were flowing in from London. Among American journalists who
worked in Germany, Herbert Swope should be particularly mentioned,
who, after his return, published in _The World_ and other Pulitzer
papers, a series of fourteen articles on the situation and feeling
in Germany which attracted the attention of both the Press and the
reading public. In a most undesirable way Mr. Swope in his first
articles which appeared immediately before the election--it was
simply an electioneering manoeuvre--emphasized the deep hatred
of the German people for the United States and the alleged general
wish of all German circles to see Mr. Wilson defeated at the election
as a punishment for his unneutral attitude. To compensate for this
he performed a very valuable service for us in his later articles
by giving a convincing account of the economic situation in Germany
at that time, which removed all doubt over here as to the ability
of our enemies to starve Germany out, and revived public respect
for Germany's efficiency and organizing-power.

"The great and respectful tribute which the American Press pays
to German 'efficiency' at every opportunity--and during the last
few months there have been many such opportunities--can, however,
do little or nothing to alter the deep 'sentiment' against Germany.
As soon as the above-mentioned themes of Belgium and the _Lusitania_
are mentioned, there are few papers that do not indulge, either
in aggressive or more moderate terms, in expressions of horror
at German 'frightfulness' and 'ruthlessness.'

"This deep-rooted feeling of the whole Press has been once more
revived in very regrettable fashion by the recent Belgian deportations.
The indignation of the Press at this 'slavery' which is being imposed
on Belgium is general, deep-rooted and genuine. Even newspapers
which express themselves in pretty harsh terms on the subject of
the English illegalities condemn these deportations in no measured
terms. The interview given by Governor-General von Bissing to the
journalist Cyril Brown on the subject of these deportations, published
on the front page of the _New York Times_, has unfortunately not
made the slightest impression here. General von Bissing's second
statement on the same subject in which, among other things, he
emphatically declared it his duty to see that as few Germans as
possible should be kept out of the firing line to guard Belgium, was
grist for the mill of the enemy Press. 'The cat is out of the bag,'
writes the _New York Times_, which does not miss the opportunity of
reminding its readers of General von Bissing's responsibility for
the shooting of Edith Cavell. 'Not a word about economic necessity,
Germany needs men at the front. Simple, almost crude in fact, and
completely German.' The Philadelphian _Public Ledger_ says: 'The
original offence, the invasion of Belgian territory, regardless of
treaty obligations, has almost been obliterated by the cruelty which
is now depopulating the land, stripping it of all its resources,
sending its people into exile and slavery, making a wilderness
and calling it order. There has not been such a tragedy since the
fierce barbarian tribes swept over Europe; none would have believed
two years ago that it could be enacted.' Such expressions as 'Huns,'
'Attila,' 'Hohenzollern slave trade,' and others of a similar nature
are the order of the day, and the excitement is further fanned by
reports from London and Le Havre, which no one here can verify,
and provocative interviews, among which special mention must be made
of that of Herr Carton de Wiart with the _World_ correspondent.
The news that Mr. Lansing had forwarded to Berlin a protest against
the Belgian deportations was received with great applause by the
whole of the Press. The resulting official statement that this
protest had been made not in the name of the United States but in
the name of the Kingdom of Belgium, represented by the American
Government, caused dissatisfaction and a demand that the United
States Government should also protest to Berlin on its own account.
Resolutions of protest were sent to the President and published in
the Press, and indignation meetings on a large scale are announced
to take place in Boston and New York which will offer the Press
further opportunities for anti-German demonstrations.

"With regard to the question of submarine warfare the American
Press are quite unanimous on one point, that a withdrawal of the
assurances given by Germany after the _Sussex_ incident, or even
an intentional breach of these, is bound to bring about, as it
were, automatically, a breaking-off of diplomatic relations with
Germany; and it is also clear that such a rupture would only be
the first step towards open war. The great majority of the leading
American newspapers express at every opportunity the genuine hope
that such a contingency will not arise. Only the chauvinistic,
anti-German element in the Press holds that the _casus ruptionis_
has actually arisen and devotes itself to publishing and commenting
on, in the most sensational manner, the alleged crimes of the German
submarines. The newspapers of this order are abundantly supplied
with pertinent material, particularly news of alleged sinkings
without warnings, of which they on their side--probably with the
co-operation of the British authorities here--know how to increase
the effect by means of exaggerated reports of out-of-date 'sacrifices
to German frightfulness,' which are eagerly swallowed here. In spite
of the masterly skill with which this working on public feeling
against the handling of our submarine war is managed, it may be
taken for granted that it does not get a hold. However deep and
however genuine may be the horror with which the American people
regard such incidents as the sinking of the _Lusitania_--a fact
that must be continually emphasized--equally great is obviously
their indifference towards the destruction of non-American neutral
shipping, _so long as the rules of cruiser warfare continue to
be observed_. People over here have gradually got accustomed to
reading daily reports of the sinking of another half dozen British
or other vessels. The daily papers print them quite as a matter of
course, and only in a prominent position when the bag reaches an
unusually high figure. In the editorial columns of many papers a
certain malicious joy is even observable, that England, who boasts
of having mastered the submarine, should now be so mercilessly
and persistently bled.

"One phase of the submarine war has, indeed, thrown nearly the
whole of the American Press into a state of excitement, namely, the
piratic exploits of U53 off the coast of New England. The destruction
wrought by this boat so close at hand, and the consequent paralysis
for several days of all merchant shipping, was too much even for
the moderate papers, and resulted in strong outbursts against our
'ruthlessness.' Apparently this circumstance has recently been
exploited by our enemies as a new way of influencing public opinion
against us. Mysterious British battleships off the Atlantic coast are
supposed to send out wireless warnings against the alleged approach
of German submarines, and these are published in the American Press
partly under panic headlines, and arouse indignation. This shady
procedure, in which the pro-English press naturally takes the lead,
recently aroused Mr. Lansing to make a forceful speech against
the unknown originators of these rumors. It may be particularly
emphasized, speaking quite generally, that the great influence
exerted by the State Department on the Washington correspondents
of the leading newspapers during the last few months, during which
there has been a constant threat of the submarine question coming
to a head, has always been on the side of peace, with the result
that in more than one case, and particularly in the cases of the
sinking of the _Marina_ and _Arabia_, any serious agitation on
the part of the Press has been avoided. With regard to the general
war situation, the conviction has for some time been gaining ground
with the great majority of the leading American newspapers, that a
decisive victory by either of the two belligerent groups of Powers
is no longer to be expected. With the exception of a continually
dwindling minority which even to-day still promise their readers
the 'ultimate victory' of the Entente Powers, the verdict of the
American Press on the probable result of the war is 'a draw,' 'a
stalemate.' Only a few newspapers, to which belong those of the
Hearst Syndicate, confess to the belief in 'a stalemate, or a victory
of the Teutonic Allies.' How those newspapers which are at the
service of our enemies, and which still hold to the legend of a
miscarried German war of aggression, really judge the situation is
only seen occasionally from incidental statements like the following
confession of the _New York Tribune_, which preaches against a
peace on the basis of the present position; this paper says that
the American people should see that if the Allies were to conclude
peace now the result would be a tremendous victory for Germany.
Such isolated, misleading views as this do not, however, succeed
in affecting in any way the general impression that by far the
greater part of the leading newspapers regard the war as indecisive,
especially after the fruitless conclusion of our operations before
Verdun, the collapse of the great offensives on the Somme and in
southern Galicia, as well as in view of the fact, confirmed on
many sides, that the British blockade has not attained its end,
the starvation of Germany.

"Our recent feats of arms in Rumania have hardly affected this
opinion. In view of the great hopes, placed by our enemies and
the newspapers in their service, on Rumania's entry into the war,
these successes are recognized on all sides readily or grudgingly
and without any spark of sympathy for the defeated country, and in
some cases are even hailed as brilliant military achievements of
the first rank. The preponderating opinion of the Press, however,
passes over the fact that the conquest of Rumania, although opening
up to Germany important new resources, is scarcely likely to influence
to any considerable degree the situation which has resulted from the
war of positions in East and West, and the still unbroken British
mastery of the seas.

"The view that the war has reached a stalemate which, since President
Wilson's speech at Charlotte in May of this year, had been maintained
by several papers, but which has recently become general, apart
from the definitely pro-Ally organs, is closely connected with
the discussion of the question of peace restoration which for the
American Press is in many cases synonymous with the question of
intervention by the United States or all the neutral nations.

"There was a time when a very important part of the American Press
seemed to stand on the level of the catch-phrase which was going
the round at that time: 'Wall Street now fears nothing except the
outbreak of peace.' These times, however, are long since past. The
desire for a speedy end of the hostilities in Europe is to-day
genuine, and shared by almost the whole Press. From the enemy camp
we get the following testimony in the _New York Tribune_, which would
like to convert its readers to less humane views: 'For millions of
Americans this war is a tragedy, a crime, the offspring of collective
madness,' and in its view the greatest service that America can
render to the world--an allusion to the catch-phrase coined by
Henry Ford for his ill-starred peace mission is--'to fetch the
lads out of the trenches.' The discussion of the premises for the
conclusion of peace, therefore, has for some time occupied an important
place in the daily papers, and also to some extent in the reviews.
Reports on the meetings of the many American peace societies are
given with the greatest fulness, and anything in the overseas news
connected with the question of a restoration of peace is printed in
a prominent position and duly discussed in the leading articles.

"It would lead me too far to give even an approximately complete
picture of this discussion with which the whole Press is occupied.
But one point demands closer examination: the attitude of the leading
papers to the German readiness for peace, publicly expressed by
Your Excellency on three different occasions in the last few weeks.

"Your Excellency's great speech before the Budget Committee of
the Reichstag unfortunately reached here at a time when the whole
interest of the Press and public was directed to the at first uncertain
result of the presidential election. Though generally printed, in
the evening papers for the most part only in extracts, it was
practically passed over in the editorial columns. An attempt to
start a belated Press discussion of the speech by circulating it
in the form of specially printed brochures, or at least to induce
those papers which had only given extracts to publish the whole
text, unfortunately failed; only the _Current History_, a special
war magazine of the _New York Times_, felt itself called upon to
reprint the speech _in extenso_ in its December number. On the
other hand, the passage of the speech which stated our readiness
after this war to take a part in international organizations for
insuring peace was widely circulated here, and attracted corresponding
attention. As I, according to instructions, communicated this passage
to the 'League to Enforce Peace' as the official German message
for their banquet held here on the 24th inst., it was circulated
throughout the country in the detailed Press reports on this
association, which is greatly respected here, and commented on by
many newspapers with all the more sympathy since Germany's sceptical
reserve hitherto towards the question of a peaceful settlement of
international differences has always worked strongly against us

"The interview granted by Your Excellency to the American journalist
Hale has been printed particularly fully by the ten Hearst newspapers,
and further by all the other subscribers to the International News
Service. In the _New York American_ on Thanksgiving Day it occupied,
together with a portrait of Your Excellency, the whole front page.
At special request from many quarters the paper repeated the report
three days later.

"Germany's readiness to enter into peace negotiations, expressed
once more by Your Excellency at this interview, as well as Your
Excellency's statement in the Reichstag on the 29th inst., that
Germany is ready for any peace that will guarantee her existence
and future, have during the last few days been fairly thoroughly
discussed in the New York papers, which particularly dwell on the
words 'a peace guaranteeing our existence and future,' and agree
unanimously as to the urgent desirability of a further and more
exact formulation of the German peace conditions.

"The _New York Times_ says: 'All depends on what guarantees of
the existence and the future of Germany are expected.' The paper
goes on to ask how Germany could imagine her future assured from
a territorial point of view, but points out in conclusion that
these are only external details, and concludes, returning to its
favorite theme, as follows: 'Deeper than all, fundamental in any
discussion of peace, is the question of the German political ideals,
of German _Machtpolitik_ and _Weltpolitik_, of Prussian militarism.'
... 'The fear, the practical certainty, that Von Bethmann-Hollweg's
guarantees would be not merely guarantees of the existence and
future of Germany, but of new and not distant wars with her, stands
in the way of any serious discussion of his remarks.'

"The _Evening Sun_ remarks sarcastically that obviously no such
guarantees as _Deutschland über Alles_ should be given to any country.
Its verdict, too, is that: 'The peace that Germany craves still is
a peace that will enable her to begin the next war in five or ten
years, with a certainty of immediate victory and complete conquest
of the overlordship of Europe, if not America.' The _Brooklyn Daily
Eagle_ writes: 'If an inconclusive peace, a peace based upon the
theory that the war is a draw, a peace fertile in the liabilities
to future trouble, is not in the mind of the German Chancellor, what
is in his mind? He should speak out. He will never have a better
opportunity to be specific. The whole neutral world is listening,
ready to give careful and intelligent consideration to his words.'

"More important than these and other utterances of the papers which
follow in our enemies' wake is the trenchant leading article of
the _World_, which on foreign questions generally expresses the
point of view of the Administration. This paper says: 'If Germany
is ready to end the war, the first thing for the Imperial Government
to do is to make definite proposals for peace. Those proposals need
not be made officially to the Allies, to the United States, or any
other intermediary. They could be made to the world at large. The
Chancellor could describe to the Reichstag the conditions under which
Germany would regard her Existence and Future assured.' 'Germany
began the war. It is proper that Germany should take the first
steps towards ending the war, but something more than vague
generalizations is necessary. At present there is nothing to talk
about. There are no terms, not even extravagant and ridiculous
terms, that can be discussed as a possible basis of settlement.
Thus far there has been no evidence of good faith in the repeated
German professions of a desire for peace. In consequence nobody
takes them seriously until there is at least a tentative proposal
of terms. When that is made, the responsible Ministers of other
belligerent Governments will be forced to meet the issue. Public
opinion in Great Britain and France, no less than in Germany and
Austria-Hungary, will have a chance to make itself heard. When
peace comes it cannot be merely the peace of diplomats and of
Governments. It must be a peace in which popular sentiment has
the final word, and popular sentiment has no means of expression
until there is something tangible to discuss.'

"The general impression left by the utterances of the American
Press on the subject of peace is that on the one hand--apart from
a small number of influential papers--it is anxious for peace,
from which anxiety it is obvious that it intends to pass over the
extravagant war aims so often heard from the Entente statesmen;
but that on the other hand it cannot as yet find any practicable
way of bringing about an early conclusion of peace, and also that
it cannot see any advance in this direction in the last statements
of Your Excellency, which only a few papers have discussed to any

"The change in the direction of the Foreign Office has been discussed
at comparative length in the leading articles of the important
newspapers, which, as a rule, deal with European Ministerial changes
only in their news columns--less with regard to the personality of
the retiring Minister, who was not very well known here, than that
of the new Secretary of State. The only paper which devoted a few
friendly words to Herr von Jagow was the _New York Times_, which
described him, in connection with his conferences with Baron Beyens
and Sir Edward Goschen at the outbreak of war, as a 'Gentleman in
War and Peace,' and also recognized his sympathetic attitude during
the negotiations on the submarine war controversy. Herr Zimmermann's
appointment as Secretary of State, on the other hand, was greeted by
many papers, and indeed by the Press in general--only a few papers
were made somewhat uneasy by the news received lately by telegram,
of his attitude towards the question of armed merchantmen--with
great applause. The tone of these comments must have been set by
the flattering and sympathetic utterances of Ambassador Gerard
and the journalist Swope, on the subject of the new Secretary of
State, and a longer article by Gilbert Hirsch published by the
_New York Evening Post_ and other papers under the heading 'Our
Friend Zimmermann.' The note struck by this article and by the
German Press comments transmitted and printed everywhere over here,
that Herr Zimmermann is a particularly warm friend of the United
States was joyfully echoed by the whole American Press. Also the
fact was everywhere emphasized that in Herr Zimmermann the important
post of chief of the Foreign Office hitherto reserved for 'Prussian
Junkerdom,' had been given to a member not of the diplomatic, but
of the humbler consular service, and indeed, to a bourgeois. Here
and there speculation was indulged in as to whether this appointment
might not be interpreted as the first step towards a 'Liberal régime,'
in which a not unimportant section of the American Press still sees
the future salvation of Germany and of the world.

"The announcement of autonomy for Poland is, to say the least of
it, received with scepticism by the American Press which is
comparatively well informed on the Polish question. The words of
the virtuoso Paderewski, who is working here in the interests of the
Polish sufferers through the war: 'This means only more suffering
for my people; it means that another army will be raised, and that
there will be more killing and more devastating,' were reproduced
by many newspapers and regarded as an authoritative statement of
what might be expected from the German-Austrian proclamations.
Many papers declared it to be simply a move to raise more recruits.
Others sarcastically pointed out that the proclamation left the
most vital questions, such as the boundaries of the new State and
its form of government, to be settled later. Only a few of the
leading newspapers, among them the _New York Evening Post_ and
the Philadelphia _North American_, allowed the Allied Governments
a certain modicum of recognition, for, as they pointed out, in no
case could the heavy hand of Russia, which had so long oppressed
the country, be forgotten. The Polish Press here was at first very
reserved. Their point of view is represented by the following leading
article of the weekly paper _Free Poland_, founded since the war
and published by the Polish National Council of America: 'What the
Poles desire is an independent Poland. The Powers have acknowledged
Poland's right to live, but either with a limitation of independence
or diminution of territory. The Russians would fain lop off eastern
Galicia. And now the Germans grant Poland an autonomy, but without
Posen, West Prussia, or Silesia, in return demanding a Polish army
to take up their cause against Russia. Though this move on the
part of Germany will at least draw the world's attention to the
inalienable rights of Poland as a nation, and make of the Polish
question an international one, yet it must not be forgotten that
the Poles in Europe will vehemently protest against any curtailment
of their national aims and aspirations.

"The impression, on the whole unfavorable, made by the Polish measures
on the American Press was gradually in part balanced by the announcement
that the Polish Jews had been recognized as an independent religious
community. Since it was thought in many quarters that this might be
taken to be the first step towards cultural and political emancipation
of the Eastern Jews, it was discussed with great interest, in view
of the strong influence exerted by the American Jewish community on
an important section of the American Press, particularly that of
New York.

"Finally, there remains to be examined the attitude of the Press
towards one question, in itself of a purely domestic, economic
interest, but which promises to become of the most wide-reaching
importance for foreign politics, namely, that of an embargo on corn.
The price of most articles of food has risen to such an abnormal
height during the last few months that the _New York Sun_ can say
without too great exaggeration, that if the war had lasted two more
years the cost of living in Berlin and Vienna would have risen to
the level of that of New York. In particular the serious position
of the wheat market and the fairly certain prospect of an acute
rise in the price of wheat in the course of the winter or next
spring prompt the Press to constant discussion, the burden of which
is the question whether the Government of the United States should
or should not prohibit the exportation of corn. The opponents of
such a measure, among which are the _World_, _New York Times_,
_New York Evening Post_, _Journal of Commerce_, the Boston _Evening
Transcript_, the Philadelphia _Public Ledger_, the Saint Louis
_Globe-Democrat_, the _Pittsburg Post_, the Saint Paul _Pioneer
Press_, the Indianapolis _News_ and many others, maintain that
the supporters of the embargo, whose main object is to injure the
Allies, represent the situation as much more threatening than it is
in reality. The _World_ tries to console its readers by explaining
that the high price of food represents the American people's
contribution to the cost of the greatest war of destruction in the
history of the world; while the _New York Times_ points out the
danger of estranging the Allies through an embargo. The newspapers
which are friendly to Germany, particularly the Hearst newspapers,
and the Milwaukee _Free Press_, energetically urge an embargo on
all articles of food, by which, as they more or less openly allow
it to appear, England would be forced to make peace. But in addition
a number of the most bitter opponents of Germany, for example the
Philadelphia _Inquirer_, favor an early embargo for purely material
reasons. It is to be expected that this question will be one of
the first to come up at the opening of the approaching session of
Congress, when the Press polemics of the opponents of the embargo,
with the _arrière pensée_ of protecting England's interests and
those of her Allies, should reach their climax."



Before I received official notice of the opening of the unrestricted
U-boat campaign, I had a further interview with Mr. House, concerning
the peace activities of the President, and the telegram describing
it which I sent to the Foreign Office, Berlin, is reproduced below:


  "(Answer to Telegram No. 149 of the 7th January.)

  "Washington, January 16th, 1917.

"Your Excellency's authority in regard to Mr. House duly availed
of. He told me Wilson considered this pronouncement of Imperial
Government supremely valuable. As regards further developments
of Wilson's efforts for peace, I can say nothing definite. This
much only is certain, that at present moment President has no other
thought than that of bringing about peace, and will endeavor to
achieve this end with the utmost energy and all means in his power.
A further pronouncement of Wilson's is expected almost immediately;
it will probably take form of a communication to Congress. Apparently
it will consist of an appeal to the American people to help him to
enforce peace; in any case both he and House praise the Hearst
Press article, which is written from that point of view. Whether
means adopted will be to place an embargo on all exports is difficult
to say. Maybe the threat of an embargo will be enough to force our
enemies to a conference.

"From the above it is clear that we cannot afford to have any
difficulties over the old U-boat question. As regards the question
of armed merchant vessels, I hope to arrive at a _modus vivendi_.
But we must be careful not to act hastily and carelessly, so as
not to create conflict before President has taken further steps.
Remarkable as this may sound to German ears, Wilson is regarded here
very generally as pro-German. His Note was traced to our influence,
and Gerard's speech strengthened this impression. This speech is in
accordance with instructions which Mr. Gerard is receiving. Our
present enemies have gone literally raving mad, and leave no stone
unturned in order to put obstacles in Wilson's way. This explains
the attacks against the President, as also the scurrilous attempt
engineered by the Republicans to charge the Administration with
Stock Exchange speculations. Without any justification, of course,
my name also was mentioned in this regard. The German Embassy, as
is well known, is held responsible for everything by our enemies
in this country."

At the same time as the above telegram, I wrote the following report
describing the prevailing political attitude in Washington:


  "Washington, 14th January, 1917.

"Ever since the Presidential election the political situation here
has not changed. Apart from the question of ending the world-war,
the public mind has not been constantly or earnestly concerned
with any matter.

"Congress has dealt with the customary Budget proposals, and the
fruitless negotiations about the Mexican question drag slowly on.

"Meanwhile, the attitude towards ourselves, which after the _Sussex_
incident took a decided turn for the good, has slowly improved.
This change in the public temper can be observed on all sides. It
is true that it is only very slightly noticeable, if at all, in
the Press, and our most rabid opponents are driven, owing to the
general improvement in German-Americans' relations, to ever more
violent attacks against us. Since President Wilson dispatched his
Peace Note, our enemies' fury knows no bounds. Without exaggeration,
it can be said that this note voices the spirit of almost the whole
American people.

"Only Wall Street and the anti-German ring, as also their friends
in the press, are dissatisfied and are endeavoring to put obstacles
in the President's way. In these circles, which are always under
English influence, the belief has taken root, that Mr. Wilson has
fallen under German spell. The well-known anti-German Republican,
Senator Lodge, boldly expressed this view in the Senate; but he
could not prevent the Senate from voting in favor of Mr. Wilson's
Peace Note, by a huge majority.

"The public mind is engaged principally with the question why precisely
the President dispatched his note immediately after the German offer
of peace. It is well-known that this Note had been prepared for some
time, and would have been sent off at Christmas, quite irrespective
of our own proposals, although, in view of Mr. Wilson's inclination
to temporize, and to treat all questions somewhat dilatorily, this
is by no means certain. I believe that the President's principal
motive was his pressing desire to play the rôle of mediator--a
prospect which seemed to be imperilled if our enemies agreed to deal
directly with us. This may possibly explain why that particular
moment was chosen, for which our enemies regard Mr. Wilson so
unfavorably. A cartoon published by that most anti-German paper,
the _New York Herald_, depicts Mr. Wilson's dove of peace as a
parrot, faithfully babbling out the German proposals.

"Apart from the choice of this particular moment for its expression,
the President's desire to bring about peace is in any case very
comprehensible, seeing that he was re-elected principally on the
basis of this programme. Furthermore, the Americans are genuinely
alarmed by the extension of Japanese power in the Far East, and
finally, since our Rumanian victories, Mr. Wilson has ultimately
come to the conclusion that our enemies are no longer able to defeat
us. One is constantly hearing the opinion expressed, both by members
of the Cabinet and other friends of the President, who enjoy his
confidence, that neither of the belligerent parties will now be
able to achieve a decisive victory, and that further bloodshed
is therefore useless.

"As already stated above, the anti-German party is doing its utmost
to put every possible obstacle in Mr. Wilson's way, while the Press
does not cease from repeating that the Peace Note is to be regarded
as a menace against Germany. It is thus hoped to stiffen our enemies'
backs, by dazzling them with the expectation of America's entry
into the war; much, too, is made of the argument--and this was
particularly so in the Senate--that Mr. Wilson's intervention was
imperilling the traditional policy of the United States, which
rests primarily upon the Monroe Doctrine, and upon the principle
of non-interference with European affairs. Finally, a scurrilous
attempt has been made by the Republican party to attack Wilson
in the flank, by getting a notorious Stock Exchange speculator
publicly to proclaim that members of the Administration, who knew
beforehand of Wilson's action, had taken advantage to speculate
heavily upon it. As this man could, however, produce no proofs,
he simply made himself ridiculous.

"I have already frequently called attention in my report to the fact
that the prolonged war hysteria over here has created an atmosphere
of gossip and tittle-tattle, which at other times would have been
regarded as impossible. For instance, even quite responsible people
believe that I have obtained for cash certain compromising letters
of Wilson's in order to be able to get a hold over him by this
means. Senator Lodge, in his own house, privately expressed the
view that this was a credible rumor, and then turned it to account
in the Senate. The President is so terribly put out by this and
other similar machinations on the part of the Republicans, who
refuse to grant him the fame of the peace-maker, that he recently
kept away from a public festival, because Mr. Lodge was to be the
principal speaker there.

"Owing to the incredible rumors which are bandied from mouth to
mouth here, I regarded it as necessary to bring an action against
one notorious swindler and blackmailer. I wanted to convince public
opinion that the Embassy had nothing to fear. I intend doing the
same thing in the case of all future attempts at blackmail, once
we have got a clean slate in regard to all compromising questions.
Our enemies will, however, persist in leaving no stone unturned in
order to cast a slur upon the Embassy, for their principal object is
to succeed in bringing about my recall, or the rupture of diplomatic
relations with Germany. Once they have accomplished this, they
are convinced that it will be an easy matter to draw the United
States into the war.

"As is well known, President Wilson received a reply from the Entente,
in response to his peace move, which contained conditions utterly
unacceptable to us. Messrs. Wilson and House regarded these conditions
as 'bluff,' and were as convinced, as they had previously been,
that the Entente would accede to a peace by arrangement. People
frequently alluded in those days to the fact that in the last
Anglo-American War of 1812-1814, the English, very shortly before
the peace settlement, had proposed unacceptable peace terms which they
suddenly allowed to drop later. I also believed, and believe still,
that the Entente were perfectly well acquainted with the political
situation in Germany, and wished by proposing such conditions to
strike panic amongst us and compel us to declare an unrestricted
U-boat war. The Entente never diverged from its one object, which
was to draw the United States into the war, and thus to bring about
a decision. Moreover, the negative reply sent to our Government
by the Entente had sufficed to achieve this object; for the final
resolution to declare an unrestricted U-boat war was formed before
the peace conditions framed by the Entente became known in Berlin."

On the 19th of January I received official notice that the unrestricted
U-boat campaign would begin on February 1st, and I was to give
the American Government notice accordingly on the evening of the
31st January. After all that had happened, I could but regard this
intimation as a declaration of war against the United States, and
one which, in addition, put us in the wrong; because it put an end
to the peace overtures made by Mr. Wilson, which had been started
with our approval. I did my utmost to try to get the Berlin resolution
cancelled, or at least to obtain a postponement of the date on
which it was to come into force, and with this end in view I sent
the following telegram to Berlin:


  "Washington, 19th January, 1917.

"War inevitable in view of the proposed action. Danger of rupture
could be mitigated by the fixing of a definite interval of time,
say one month, so that neutral vessels and passengers may be spared,
as any preliminary and timely warning seems impossible if present
programme is carried out. I shall have to give the password for
unnavigable German steamers on February 1st, as effect of carrying
out of my instructions here will be like declaration of war, and
strict guard will be kept. In any case an incident like that of
the _Lusitania_ may be expected soon.

"If military reasons are not absolutely imperative, in view of my
Telegram 212, postponement most urgently desirable. Wilson believes
he can obtain peace on the basis of our proposed equal rights of
all nations. House told me again yesterday, that Wilson proposed to
take action very shortly, for in view of our declaration regarding
future Peace League, etc., he regards prospects of a Peace Conference
as favorable."

In my efforts to avoid a breach with the United States, the President
helped me to the extent of making a communication to the Senate on
January 22nd, which he personally read to them in solemn session. In
this communication, Mr. Wilson exhaustively developed his programme of
a "Peace without Conquest." As the President officially communicated
this proposal to all the belligerent Powers on the same day, it
was to be regarded as a fresh and most solemn step towards peace.
As, on the other hand, it is also a document which expresses most
plainly Mr. Wilson's desires and mentions before his entry into the
war, I quote it verbatim below. Those who read it to-day cannot help
feeling that certainly no more scathing criticism of the Versailles
Peace has ever been written,--a peace which contained all the signs
of having been imposed upon the vanquished, and against which the
President's communication was a warning.

"On the eighteenth of December last I addressed an identical note
to the governments of the nations now at war requesting them to
state, more definitely than they had yet been stated by either
group of belligerents, the terms upon which they would deem it
possible to make peace. I spoke on behalf of humanity and of the
rights of all neutral nations like our own, many of whose most
vital interests the war puts in constant jeopardy. The Central
Powers united in a reply which stated merely that they were ready
to meet their antagonists in conference to discuss terms of peace.
The Entente Powers have replied much more definitely and have stated,
in general terms, indeed, but with sufficient definiteness to imply
details the arrangements, guarantees, and acts of reparation which
they deem to be the indispensable conditions of a satisfactory
settlement. We are that much nearer a definite discussion of the
peace which shall end the present war. We are that much nearer
the discussion of the international concert which must thereafter
hold the world at peace. In every discussion of the peace that
must end this war it is taken for granted that that peace must
be followed by some definite concert of power which will make it
virtually impossible that any such catastrophe should ever overwhelm
us again. Every lover of mankind, every sane and thoughtful man
must take that for granted.

"I have sought this opportunity to address you because I thought
that I owed it to you, as the council associated with me in the
final determination of our international obligations, to disclose
to you without reserve the thought and purpose that have been taking
form in my mind in regard to the duty of our Government in the
days to come when it will be necessary to lay afresh and upon a
new plan the foundations of peace among the nations.

"It is inconceivable that the people of the United States should play
no part in that great enterprise. To take part in such a service will
be the opportunity for which they have sought to prepare themselves
by the very principles and purposes of their polity and the approved
practices of their Government ever since the days when they set up a
new nation in the high and honorable hope that it might in all that
it was and did show mankind the way to liberty. They cannot in honor
withhold the service to which they are now about to be challenged.
They do not wish to withhold it. But they owe it to themselves and
to the other nations of the world to state the conditions under
which they will feel free to render it.

"That service is nothing less than this, to add their authority
and their power to the authority and force of other nations to
guarantee peace and justice throughout the world. Such a settlement
cannot now be long postponed. It is right that before it comes
this Government should frankly formulate the conditions upon which
it would feel justified in asking our people to approve its formal
and solemn adherence to a League for Peace. I am here to attempt
to state those conditions.

"The present war must first be ended; but we owe it to candor and
to a just regard for the opinion of mankind to say that, so far as
our participation in guarantees of future peace is concerned, it
makes a great deal of difference in what way and upon what terms it
is ended. The treaties and agreements which bring it to an end must
embody terms which will create a peace that is worth guaranteeing
and preserving, a peace that will win the approval of mankind, not
merely a peace that will serve the several interests and immediate
aims of the nations engaged. We shall have no voice in determining
what those terms shall be, but we shall, I feel sure, have a voice
in determining whether they shall be made lasting or not by the
guarantees of a universal covenant; and our judgment upon what is
fundamental and essential as a condition precedent to permanency
should be spoken now, not afterwards when it may be too late.

"No covenant of co-operative peace that does not include the peoples
of the New World can suffice to keep the future safe against war;
and yet there is only one sort of peace that the peoples of America
could join in guaranteeing. The elements of that peace must be
elements that engage the confidence and satisfy the principles of
the American governments, elements consistent with their political
faith and with the practical convictions which the peoples of America
have once for all embraced and undertake to defend.

"I do not mean to say that any American government would throw
any obstacle in the way of any terms of peace the governments now
at war might agree upon, or seek to upset them when made, whatever
they might be. I only take it for granted that mere terms of peace
between the belligerents will not satisfy even the belligerents
themselves. Mere agreements may not make peace secure. It will
be absolutely necessary that a force be created as a guarantor of
the permanency of the settlement so much greater than the force of
any nation now engaged or any alliance hitherto formed or projected
that no nation, no probable combination of nations could face or
withstand it. If the peace presently to be made is to endure, it
must be a peace made secure by the organized major force of mankind!

"The terms of the immediate peace agreed upon will determine whether
it is a peace for which such a guarantee can be secured. The question
upon which the whole future peace and policy of the world depends
is this: Is the present war a struggle for a just and secure peace,
or only for a new balance of power? If it be only a struggle for
a new balance of power, who will guarantee, who can guarantee,
the stable equilibrium of the new arrangement? Only a tranquil
Europe can be a stable Europe. There must be, not a balance of
power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an
organized common peace.

"Fortunately we have received very explicit assurances on this point.
The statesmen of both of the groups of nations now arrayed against
one another have said, in terms that could not be misinterpreted,
that it was no part of the purpose they had in mind to crush their
antagonists. But the implications of these assurances may not be
equally clear to all,--may not be the same on both sides of the
water. I think it will be serviceable if I attempt to set forth
what we understand them to be.

"They imply, first of all, that it must be a peace without victory.
It is not pleasant to say this. I beg that I may be permitted to
put my own interpretation upon it and that it may be understood
that no other interpretation was in my thought. I am seeking only to
face realities and to face them without soft concealments. Victory
would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor's terms imposed
upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under
duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a
resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest,
not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between
equals can last. Only a peace the very principle of which is equality
and a common participation in a common benefit. The right state
of mind, the right feeling between nations, is as necessary for
a lasting peace as is the just settlement of vexed questions of
territory or of racial and national allegiance.

"The equality of nations upon which peace must be founded if it
is to last must be an equality of rights; the guarantees exchanged
must neither recognize nor imply a difference between big nations
and small, between those that are powerful and those that are weak.
Right must be based upon the common strength, not upon the individual
strength, of the nations upon whose concert peace will depend.
Equality of territory or of resources there of course cannot be;
nor any other sort of equality not gained in the ordinary peaceful
and legitimate development of the peoples themselves. But no one
asks or expects anything more than an equality of rights. Mankind
is looking now for freedom of life, not for equipoises of power.

"And there is a deeper thing involved than even equality of right
among organized nations. No peace can last, or ought to last, which
does not recognize and accept the principle that governments derive
all their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that
no right anywhere exists to hand peoples about from sovereignty to
sovereignty as if they were property. I take it for granted, for
instance, if I may venture upon a single example, that statesmen
everywhere are agreed that there should be a united, independent,
and autonomous Poland, and that henceforth inviolable security of
life, of worship, and of industrial and social development should
be guaranteed to all peoples who have lived hitherto under the power
of governments devoted to a faith and purpose hostile to their

"I speak of this, not because of any desire to exalt an abstract
political principle which has always been held very dear by those
who have sought to build up liberty in America, but for the same
reason that I have spoken of the other conditions of peace which
seem to me clearly indispensable,--because I wish frankly to uncover
realities. Any peace which does not recognize and accept this principle
will inevitably be upset. It will not rest upon the affections
or the convictions of mankind. The ferment of spirit of whole
populations will fight subtly and constantly against it, and all
the world will sympathize. The world can be at peace only if its
life is stable, and there can be no stability where the will is in
rebellion, where there is not tranquillity of spirit and a sense
of justice, of freedom, and of right.

"So far as practicable, moreover, every great people now struggling
towards a full development of its resources and of its powers should
be assured a direct outlet to the great highways of the sea. Where
this cannot be done by the cession of territory, it can no doubt
be done by the neutralization of direct rights of way under the
general guarantee which will assure the peace itself. With a right
comity of arrangement no nation need be shut away from a free access
to the open paths of the world's commerce.

"And the paths of the sea must alike in law and in fact be free.
The freedom of the seas is the _sine qua non_ of peace, equality,
and co-operation. No doubt a somewhat radical reconsideration of
many of the rules of international practice hitherto thought to be
established may be necessary in order to make the seas indeed free
and common in practically all circumstances for the use of mankind,
but the motive for such changes is convincing and compelling. There
can be no trust or intimacy between the peoples of the world without
them. The free, constant, unthreatened intercourse of nations is
an essential part of the process of peace and of development. It
need not be difficult either to define or to secure the freedom
of the seas if the governments of the world sincerely desire to
come to an agreement concerning it.

"It is a problem closely connected with the limitation of naval
armaments and the co-operation of the navies of the world in keeping
the seas at once free and safe. And the question of limiting naval
armaments opens the wider and perhaps more difficult question of the
limitation of armies and of all programmes of military preparation.
Difficult and delicate as these questions are, they must be faced
with the utmost candor and decided in a spirit of real accommodation
if peace is to come with healing in its wings, and come to stay.
Peace cannot be had without concession and sacrifice. There can
be no sense of safety and equality among the nations if great
preponderating armaments are henceforth to continue here and there
to be built up and maintained. The statesmen of the world must plan
for peace and nations must adjust and accommodate their policy
to it as they have planned for war and made ready for pitiless
contest and rivalry. The question of armaments, whether on land
or sea is the most immediately and intensely practical question
connected with the future fortunes of nations and of mankind.

"I have spoken upon these great matters without reserve and with
the utmost explicitness because it has seemed to me to be necessary
if the world's yearning desire for peace was anywhere to find free
voice and utterance. Perhaps I am the only person in high authority
amongst all the peoples of the world who is at liberty to speak
and hold nothing back. I am speaking as an individual, and yet I
am speaking also, of course, as the responsible head of a great
government, and I feel confident that I have said what the people
of the United States would wish me to say. May I not add, that I
hope and believe that I am in effect speaking for liberals and
friends of humanity in every nation and of every programme of liberty?
I would fain believe that I am speaking for the silent mass of
mankind everywhere who have as yet had no place or opportunity
to speak their real hearts out concerning the death and ruin they
see to have come already upon the persons and the homes they hold
most dear.

"And in holding out the expectation that the people and Government
of the United States will join the other civilized nations of the
world in guaranteeing the permanence of peace upon such terms as I
have named I speak with the greater boldness and confidence because
it is clear to every man who can think that there is in this promise
no breach in either our traditions or our policy as a nation, but
a fulfilment, rather, of all that we have professed or striven

"I am proposing, as it were, that the nations should with one accord
adopt the doctrine of President Monroe as the doctrine of the world:
that no nation should seek to extend its polity over any other
nation or people, but that every people should be left free to
determine its own polity, its own way of development, unhindered,
unthreatened, unafraid, the little along with the great and powerful.

"I am proposing that all nations henceforth avoid entangling alliances
which would draw them into competitions of power, catch them in a net
of intrigue and selfish rivalry, and disturb their own affairs with
influences intruded from without. There is no entangling alliance
in a concert of power. When all unite to act in the same sense and
with the same purpose all act in the common interest and are free
to live their own lives under a common protection.

"I am proposing government by the consent of the governed; that
freedom of the seas which in international conference after conference
representatives of the United States have urged with the eloquence of
those who are the convinced disciples of liberty; and that moderation
of armaments which makes of armies and navies a power for order
merely, not an instrument of aggression or of selfish violence.

"These are American principles, American policies. We could stand
for no others. And they are also the principles and policies of
forward looking men and women everywhere, of every modern nation,
of every enlightened community. They are the principles of mankind
and must prevail."

In Helfferich's account of these matters, the author charges this
appeal of Mr. Wilson's with having favored the Entente side, because
in it the conditions laid down are regarded as an acceptable basis
for peace. When I returned to Germany the Imperial Chancellor advanced
the same argument in my presence; I have heard it repeated again
and again at home, and among other places, before the Examination
Committee of the National Assembly. It seems to me that this view is
rather a Berlin _fable convenue_. There is no word in the document
which would justify one in drawing such a conclusion. The President
stated simply that he had invited both belligerent parties to define
the conditions under which they would make peace, and that the
Entente had replied fully to the invitation, whereas the Central
Powers had not submitted their terms. He then proceeded to say
that in so far as the conditions insisted upon by one side had
become known, we had advanced a step nearer to the discussion of
peace. If we read the wording of the document without prejudice,
and in connection with the views expressed by American statesmen,
it becomes abundantly clear that the President regarded the terms
laid down by our enemies as maximum conditions, and further, that
he believed that we also would submit our maximum terms, and finally
come to an agreement by adopting a middle course.

Herr Helfferich makes a similar charge against Wilson's Note of
the 18th December, owing to the threats that it contained. But
this charge strikes me as being just as gratuitous as the first.
The threats were uttered in London quite as plainly as they were
in Berlin. The charge of partiality would have been justified only
if the threats had been contained simply in the version of the
Note which was sent to Berlin.

Besides, in all Entente countries, it was maintained that both
the Note of the 18th December and the appeal of the 22nd January
revealed partiality for the Central Powers. The diplomats of the
Entente in Washington were quite beside themselves with anger,
and plainly revealed their displeasure to Mr. Wilson. I am not
concerned now with criticizing the President's efforts for peace
in retrospect. The fact that Mr. Wilson became our personal enemy
after the 31st January, 1917, and that he consented to the Peace
of Versailles, is no proof of the contention that, before the 31st
January, 1917, he would have proved a similar failure as a peacemaker.
The President's spiteful censure and treatment of us, both during
the war and at Versailles, may be explained psychologically, by
the fact that we rejected his efforts as a mediator, and declared
the U-boat war.

Mr. Wilson's personal sensitiveness and egocentric nature played
an essential part in all the negotiations. When the French and
English Press derided the President, in November, 1916, after the
first cables had announced the election of Mr. Hughes, Mr. Wilson
was deeply mortified. A further improvement in his attitude towards
us followed, when we showed that we were favorably disposed to his
mediation for peace. The fact that Germany relied on him, stimulated
his self-esteem to such an extent that he became, to a certain degree,
interested in bringing about a peace that would be satisfactory
to Germany. Nor should the interest he showed in this matter be
underrated. I openly confess that it was also my ambition to assist
in restoring peace, in order to save our country from the catastrophe
that threatened to overtake it, and to spare the world any further
suffering. To this day I am still convinced that, had the Germans
skilfully conducted their share in these peace negotiations, we
should have achieved all we wanted to achieve. The happy personal
relations which, in that case, would have prevailed between Mr.
Wilson and the German representatives at the Peace Conference,
would, in view of the element of chance, which is so conspicuous at
such congresses, have turned the scales in our favor to a surprising
extent. On the other hand, I was, and am still, of the opinion
that the peace which would have been settled at that time, would
not have satisfied the public opinion of the moment in Germany.
But I attached no importance whatever to this consideration. He
who practises politics in the interests of his native country,
must be ready at any moment to plunge like Curtius into the abyss,
in order to save his nation. This, however, is what made Curtius
immortal. Besides, in a few years, if not sooner, the German people
would surely have realized that "Peace without Victory" constituted
a victory for Germany.

After the 31st January, 1917, Mr. Wilson was incapable of an impartial
attitude towards Germany. He saw red whenever he thought of the
Imperial Government, and his repugnance against it knew no bounds.
Even to-day the bitter feeling still rankles within him, that the
German Government deprived him of the glory of being the premier
political personage on the world's stage. It goes without saying,
that at Versailles the Entente exploited with a vengeance both
this attitude on the part of the President, and his peculiar
idiosyncrasies. Intercepted wireless messages from Paris had made
us aware of the fact that the original American interpretation
of the fourteen points entirely agreed with our own; and thus we
in Berlin were filled, not without reason, with certain hopes of
America's help. But Mr. Wilson, who would have acted more wisely
had he never gone to Versailles, sat there alone, facing three
European statesmen, for whom he was no match. They played upon
his weakest point, by suggesting to him the view that, in addition
to the German Government, the German people, who were guilty, too,
should also be punished, and that the obligation to punish the
guilty took precedence of the fourteen points. Had Mr. Wilson,
after January, 1917, really come to the definite conclusion that
he held the proofs of Germany's war guilt and lust of world empire?
Whereas, theretofore he had considered the question of war guilt
impartially, he now agreed that the Germans would have been able to
obtain a reasonable peace through his mediation, but had rejected
it and chosen to declare the U-boat war instead, in order to achieve
a complete victory. Consequently, the Germans had not been concerned
all this time with bringing about a reasonable peace, but with
gaining the empire of the world, a conclusion from which their
war guilt was also to be inferred. It was as the result of these
ideas that Mr. Wilson preached the crusade against militaristic and
autocratic Germany, who wanted to achieve the mastery of the world.
Only by means of the belief in a crusade could the peace-loving
American people be prevailed upon to wage war.

Regarding the effect upon the Senate of the President's appeal,
I sent the following telegram to the Foreign Office:


  "Washington, January 23rd, 1917.

"Wilson's appeal has met with general approval in Senate, and is
regarded as a further energetic step in peace movement. Only our
wildest opponents have again attacked President as a pro-German.
Almost throughout views expressed about appeal contain the wish
that Central Powers will also state their peace terms now. House
also begged me urgently that this might be done, either publicly or
secretly. Then Wilson would immediately propose Peace Conference;
President also seems inclined to conclude the Bryan Treaty with
us. Time is now, alas, too short, otherwise treaty might perhaps
have helped us to avert war.

"As result of proposed unrestricted U-boat war, peace movement
will presumably come to an end. Nevertheless, it is possible on the
other hand that Wilson will make redoubled efforts for peace, if a
time-limit be allowed. I should like to leave no stone unturned in
order to avert war with United States. As I understand the situation,
our refusal to submit our peace terms arises out of the fear that
they may appear too moderate to public opinion in Germany. Would
it perhaps be possible, before opening the unrestricted U-boat
war, to state the peace terms, which we should have submitted at
the Peace Conference we proposed, and to add, that, in view of
our enemies' insolent rejection of our scheme, we could no longer
abide by these moderate terms? And then we might hint that, as
victors, we should demand an independent Ireland. A declaration
of this sort would win over public opinion on this side, as far
as this is possible, and might perhaps also satisfy public opinion
in Germany."

The day after the President had read his appeal to the Senate, I
received a telegram inviting me to visit Mr. House in New York.
During the interview the Colonel read me a memorandum of Mr. Wilson's,
in which the President formally offered us to act as mediator, in
order to bring about a peace by arrangement. The memorandum left
me in no doubt whatever that Mr. Wilson was certain of being able
to achieve this end. With the utmost possible speed I sent the
following telegrams about my interview with Mr. House, by three
different routes to Berlin, on the assumption that it was impossible
for us to abide by our former resolve:


  (Most urgent)

  "Washington, 27th January, 1917.

"After having had very important conference request most urgently
postponement till my next two messages received. Suggest reply
by wireless."


  "Washington, 26th January, 1917.

"Wilson offered officially, but in first place privately, to mediate
for peace, on basis of his appeal to Senate, that means without
interference with territorial terms of peace. Wilson's simultaneous
request for communication of our peace terms not to be regarded
as private.

"I am wiring with full particulars through State Department. To
begin U-boat war without previous negotiations regarding above
proposals would among _other things_ put us seriously in the wrong,
and owing to Wilson's personal sensitiveness, would make prevention
of rupture quite impossible."


  "Washington, 27th January, 1917.

"House suddenly invited me to visit him on behalf of Wilson, and
told me the following as an official message from President:

"First of all, Wilson offers privately to mediate for peace on
basis of his appeal to Senate, i.e., therefore without interference
in territorial terms of peace. Wilson's simultaneous request to us
to submit our terms of peace is not to be regarded as private. House
revealed to me following thoughts of the President. Our enemies had
openly expressed their impossible peace terms. Thereupon President
had, as a direct contrast to these, developed his programme. Now
we are also morally bound to make our peace terms known, because
our desire for peace would otherwise appear insincere. After Your
Excellency had informed Mr. Wilson that our peace terms were moderate,
and that we agreed to second Peace Conference, President thought he
had given expression to our wishes in his appeal to the Senate.

"Wilson hopes that we shall communicate our peace terms to him,
which might be published both in Germany and over here, so that
they could become known immediately all over the world. If only
we had confidence in him, President was convinced that he would be
able to bring about both Peace Conferences. He would be particularly
pleased if Your Excellency were at the same time to declare that we
are prepared to enter the second Peace Conference on the basis of
his appeal. Our declaration might be shown to have been actuated
by Wilson's having sent us a direct request for our peace terms.
President is of opinion that Note sent to him by the Entente was a
piece of bluff which need not be taken seriously. He hopes definitely
to bring about Peace Conferences, and quickly too, so that the
unnecessary bloodshed of the Spring Offensive may be averted.

"To what extent Your Excellency will and can meet Wilson, it is
impossible to tell from this side. Meanwhile I urgently beg leave,
to submit the following remarks for your consideration. If the U-boat
campaign is opened now without any further ado, the President will
regard this as a smack in the face, and war with the United States
will be inevitable. The war party here will gain the upper hand, and
the end of the war will be quite out of sight, as, whatever people
may say to the contrary, the resources of the United States are
enormous. On the other hand, if we acquiesce in Wilson's proposal,
but the scheme nevertheless comes to grief owing to the stubbornness
of our enemies, it would be very hard for the President to come into
the war against us, even if by that time we began our unrestricted
U-boat war. At present, therefore it is only a matter of postponing the
declaration for a little while so that we may improve our diplomatic
position. For my own part, I confess that I am of opinion that we
shall obtain a better peace now by means of conferences, than we
should if the United States joined the ranks of our enemies.

"As cables always take several days, please send instructions by
wireless, in case telegraphic privileges 157 cannot be used on
February 1st."

I had hoped that the communication of the President's appeal through
Mr. Gerard, would have led to a postponement of the unrestricted
U-boat war. This, however, was not the case. I can pass over all
that happened in Berlin at that time, and all the deliberations
which led to the ultimate decision, for not only did I not take
part in them, but they have also become general knowledge since
the taking of the evidence before the Examination Committee of
the National Assembly. I need only mention here that I received
the following reply to my proposals, from the Imperial Chancellor:


  "Berlin, 29th January, 1917.

"Please thank President on behalf of Imperial Government for his
communication. We trust him completely, and beg him to trust us
likewise. Germany is ready to accept his secret offer of mediation
for the purpose of bringing about a direct Conference of the
belligerents, and will recommend similar course to her Allies.
We wish our acceptance of offer, as well as offer itself, to be
treated as quite secret.

"A public announcement of our peace terms is at present impossible,
now that Entente has published their peace terms which aim at the
degradation and annihilation of Germany and her Allies, and have
been characterized by President himself as impossible. We cannot
regard them as bluff, as they entirely agree with professed opinions
of enemy Powers expressed not only before, but afterwards. They also
correspond exactly with the objects for which Italy and Rumania
entered the war, and as regards Turkey, with the assurances made on
behalf of Russia by both England and France. So long as these war
aims of our enemies are publicly maintained, it would be impossible
to interpret public announcement of our own peace terms, as anything
else than a sign of weakness which at present does not exist, and
would only lead to a prolongation of the war. In order to give
President Wilson a proof of our confidence, however, tell him just
for his own private information the terms on which we should have
been prepared to take part in peace negotiations, if the Entente
had accepted our offer of peace on the 12th December, 1916.

"The restitution to France of that part of Upper Alsace occupied by
her. The acquisition of a strategical and economic safety-frontier-zone,
separating Germany and Poland from Russia.

"Colonial restitution in the form of an understanding which would
secure Germany colonial possessions compatible with the size of
her population and the importance of her economic interests.

"Restoration of those parts of France occupied by Germany, on condition
that certain strategic and economic modifications of the frontier
be allowed, as also financial compensation.

"Restitution of Belgium under definite guarantees for the safety of
Germany, which would have to be determined by means of negotiations
with the Belgian Government.

"Economic and financial settlement, on the basis of exchange, of
the territory invaded by both sides, and to be restituted by the
conclusion of peace.

"Compensation for German undertakings and private persons who have
suffered damage through the war.

"Renunciation of all economic arrangements and measures, which
after the peace would constitute an obstacle in the way of normal
commerce and trade, with the conclusion of corresponding commercial

"The Freedom of the Seas to be placed on a secure basis.

"The peace terms of our Allies coincide with our own views, and
observe the same limits.

"We are, moreover, prepared to enter the International Conference
which he wishes to invoke after the war on the basis of his
communication to the Senate.

"Your Excellency will give President these details at the same
time as you hand him Note relating unrestricted U-boat war, and
will inform him as follows:

"If his offer had only reached us a few days earlier, we should have
been able to postpone opening of the new U-boat war. Now, however, in
spite of best will in the world, it is, owing to technical reasons,
unfortunately too late, as far-reaching military preparations have
already been made which cannot be undone, and U-boats have already
sailed with new instructions. Form and content of enemy's reply to
our offer of peace, and the Note of the President, were so abrupt
and harsh, that, in view of the life and death struggle which has
once again been proclaimed against us, we cannot any longer delay
the use of those means which appear to us best calculated to end the
war quickly, and for the relinquishment of which we could not have
taken the responsibility in the face of our whole nation.

"As the order regarding the unrestricted U-boat war shows, we are
prepared, at any moment, to make every possible allowances for
America's needs. We would beg the President to prosecute--that is
to say, pursue, his plan notwithstanding, and declare ourselves
ready to discontinue the unrestricted U-boat war the moment we
are completely assured that the President's efforts will lead to
a peace that would be acceptable to us.


I immediately communicated the peace terms contained in this telegram
to Mr. House, and I still cherished a small hope that he would,
after all, perhaps, be able to exercise a favorable influence over
the President. Truth to tell, he actually went to Washington in
order to take part in the deliberations which were to decide the
attitude which America was henceforth to adopt towards us. Apart
from the fact that the secrecy covering the communication of our
peace terms deprived them of all diplomatic value, the simultaneous
declaration of the unrestricted U-boat war gave the death-blow to
all hope of maintaining peace. As Herr von Betmann-Hollweg declared
before the Examination Committee of the National Assembly: "It was
perfectly clear to the authorities in Germany, that the decision
to prosecute the unrestricted U-boat war would destroy all chance of
further efforts on the part of the President to bring about peace.
The U-boat war meant rupture, and ultimately war with America.
The discussions between General Head Quarters and the Political
Leaders had turned upon this question for years. That which led
to the decisive step being taken was, that General Headquarters
was firmly resolved to face even the risk of America's entry into
the war, and that it wished to use the circumstances as a trial
of strength with the political leaders."

On January 31st, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I handed Mr. Lansing
the official communication about the U-boat war. This was my last
political interview in America. We both knew that the end had come,
but we did not admit the fact to each other. The Secretary of State
contented himself with replying that he would submit my communication
to the President. I cherished no illusions regarding the expected
outcome of this interview, for the Ultimatum of April 18th, 1916, no
longer allowed of any chance of preventing the rupture of diplomatic
relations. Consequently on the morning of the 31st January, I had
already given the order that the engines of all ships lying in
American harbors were to be destroyed. I had already been given
instructions to this effect at the time of the _Sussex_ crisis,
and these instructions had now been repeated from Berlin. As a
matter of fact it was, dangerous to allow of any delay, for on
the evening of January 31st our ships were already seized by the
American police. As far as I know, however, all of them without
exception were made unfit for use before this occurred.

On the 3rd February, at twelve midday, Mr. Wilson announced to
a joint meeting of both Houses of Congress, the rupture of all
diplomatic relations with Germany, and at the same time my pass
was brought to me by a higher official of the Department of State.

Thus war was decided upon, even if it was not immediately declared.
Everything that followed amounted only to preparation for war or war
propaganda. Nothing except the abandonment of the U-boat campaign
could have prevented war.

It has frequently been asserted that the notorious Mexico telegram
led to the war with the United States. I do not believe this is
correct. The telegram was used with great success as propaganda
against us; but the rupture of diplomatic relations--as I have
already pointed out--was, in view of the situation, equivalent
in all circumstances to war. I had nothing to do with the Mexico
telegram, which took me completely by surprise. It was addressed, in
the usual way, direct to the legation in Mexico, and passed through
the Embassy at Washington on the same day on which I received the
notification that the unrestricted U-boat war was to be declared.
I had neither the right, nor was it my duty, to hold up the telegram,
although I disapproved of its contents. But even if I had held
it up, I should have served no useful purpose. As I afterwards
heard from a certain Englishman, there was an office in England
which deciphered all the telegrams which we sent over the English
cable and this office placed all their intercepts at the disposal of
the American Government after the rupture of diplomatic relations.
There is nothing surprising in this, for we also deciphered all
enemy telegrams which we were able to intercept. Nowadays there
is no cipher which is absolutely safe, if it has been in use for
some time. At that time, however, I did not know that all our cipher
telegrams were being read by the English. If, therefore, I had held
up the Mexico telegram in Washington, its contents would have been
revealed to the American Government by the English, notwithstanding,
and no one would have believed that the message had not been forwarded
in some way to Mexico. Moreover the telegram, as is well-known,
was only conditional; the instructions it contained were only to
hold good if the United States came into the war. I strained every
nerve, at that moment, to prevent this from taking place. If I had
been successful, the Mexico telegram would have served no purpose.
I am therefore able to say, with a clean conscience, that I did
everything that stood in my power, to remedy the error committed
in the dispatch of the telegram.

In Helfferich's account of these events, the author says:

"If Count Bernstorff was, and apparently is still, of the opinion,
that Wilson was actually engaged in trying to bring about a peace
which would have been acceptable and tolerable to us, and with
a promise of success, this can only be explained as the result
of the enduring effect of suggestion, which, acting upon him for
two years, had had no really adequate knowledge of home opinion to
counteract it. As the communication between Berlin and the German
Embassy in Washington was completely cut off, it is not surprising
that our representatives on the other side of the vast ocean should
have lost touch with their fellow-countrymen struggling for their
lives, and should have failed to retain the proper standpoint in
regard to what was either necessary or tolerable."

To this I should like to reply, in the first place, that the
unrestricted U-boat war did not in the least bring the German people
either what was necessary or tolerable. Furthermore, not only I
myself, but almost all those gentlemen who returned with me to
Germany, had the feeling, on reaching home, that we in America
had formed a much clearer notion of the true state of Germany,
than those of our fellow-countrymen who had been living at home;
for they had been completely cut off from the world by the Blockade.
After we had seen the conditions prevailing in Germany, we could
understand even less than we had before, why the Imperial Government
had not snatched with joy at the chance of making peace.

As to the question whether we should have obtained an acceptable
and tolerable peace through Mr. Wilson's efforts, I am still firmly
convinced to-day, that this would have been the case. The President
would not have offered to mediate if he had not been able to reckon
with certainty upon success, and he was better situated than any
German, to know the attitude of the Entente. In his farewell letter
to me, Mr. House wrote:

"It is too sad that your Government should have declared the
unrestricted U-boat war at a moment when we were so near to peace.
The day will come when people in Germany will see how much you
have done for your country in America."

Moreover, later on, Mr. Bonar Law publicly admitted in the English
Parliament that Great Britain would have collapsed financially, if
American help had not saved her. The war-spirit in France, during
the year 1917 was simply upheld by the hope of American help, and
finally, in March, the Russian Revolution broke out. If we had
accepted Wilson's mediation, the whole of American influence in
Russia would have been exercised in favor of peace, and not, as
events ultimately proved, against ourselves. Out of Wilson's and
Kerensky's Peace programme, we might, by means of diplomatic
negotiations, easily have achieved all that we regarded as necessary.
My conviction that we could in the year 1917 have obtained a peace
which would have been acceptable to ourselves, is based not so much
on Wilson's good will, as upon the fact that, without American
help, the Entente could not possibly have achieved a victory.

Against this view, the argument is advanced that the United States
would in any case have entered the war, in order to avoid a German
victory. I have already pointed out, that according to my view,
no "German Peace" was any longer possible after the first battle
of the Marne. Besides, it was precisely the object of the policy
which was directed at American mediation, to prevent the United
States from entering the war.

At the present time, even Mr. Wilson himself is produced as
crown-witness in support of the view that America would have entered
the war against us whatever might have happened. In the discussions
about the Peace Treaty, which the President held in the White House
on the 19th August, 1919, much stress is laid upon a certain passage
in particular, which gives the impression that Mr. Wilson would have
wished America to enter the war, even if Germany had not declared
the unrestricted U-boat campaign. Almost without exception, all
the German national newspapers interpreted the short dialogue in
question between the President and Senator McCumber in this way,
and the _Deutsche Tageszeitung_ even went so far as to regard it as
a striking proof of what they called Wilson's "_a priori_ resolve
to have war with Germany."

I must most emphatically reject this interpretation of the passage
under discussion, which was turned to account by some papers in
America in the political fight.

In the first place I should like to point out that it is obviously
inadmissible to take the above-mentioned passage out of the context,
and to regard it in itself as an interchange of views between Mr.
Wilson and Mr. McCumber. It ought, on the contrary, to be judged
in conjunction with the passage that precedes it.

The proposition for discussion was the President's motion that the
League of Nations made it obligatory upon all States united, under
it, to take common action against any country guilty of a breach of
international law. Senator Harding, one of the keenest opponents
of the League of Nations, suggested the idea in the debate that
it was impossible for a sovereign State like the United States of
America to have her moral obligation in any international conflict
dictated to her by an external body consisting of the Council of
the League of Nations. Driven into a corner, Mr. Wilson had to
acknowledge this fact; but he emphasized the point that in spite
of this the value of the League of Nations was in no way impaired.
He said:

"The American Republic is not in need of any advice from any quarter,
in order to fulfil her moral duty; but she stabilizes the whole
world by promising in advance that she will stand by other nations
who regard matters in the same light as herself, in order to uphold
Justice in the world."

Following upon this, Senator McCumber then tried to confute the
President's theory, by applying it practically to the most recent
events in the world's history. He referred to the last war, at the
outbreak of which there was no League of Nations in existence,
and the following discussion took place:

_McCumber:_ Would our moral conviction of the injustice of the
German war have drawn us into this war, if Germany had been guilty
of no aggressive acts, and, what is more, without the League of
Nations, for of course we had no League of Nations then?

_Wilson: As things turned out,_ I hope that it would finally have
done so, Mr. Senator.

_McCumber:_ Do you believe that, if Germany had been guilty of
no act of injustice against our own citizens, we should have come
into this war?

_Wilson:_ I believe it.

_McCumber:_ You believe that we should have come in whatever happened?

_Wilson:_ Yes.

It is abundantly clear that with his first answer, "as things turned
out, I hope that it"--that is to say, America's moral conviction
of the injustice of the German war--"would finally have drawn us
into the war"--the President lays the emphasis on the words "as
things turned out." There can be no doubt that he meant to say:
"As things turned out in regard to his efforts for peace," the
first ready concurrence of the Imperial Government, notwithstanding,
was thwarted at the decisive moment. With such a Government, Mr.
Wilson seems to imply, it was impossible in the long run for America
to remain on terms of peace. From that time henceforward--there can
be no question of any earlier period, because up to that moment he
had been in constant negotiation with us--he regarded the Imperial
Government as morally condemned. Then, however, he calls to mind very
clearly the feeble war-spirit of the American people in the spring
of 1917, which, as is well known, had to be whipped into the war by
propaganda on a prodigious scale. That is why the President says he
"hopes," that the moral conviction of the American people regarding
the injustice of Germany's cause would finally have triumphed over
his readiness for peace expressed so brilliantly as late as November,
1916. His words are, therefore, to be regarded as a reflection in
retrospect, not as a proof of an _à priori_ intention to urge the
United States into the war in any circumstances.

Truth to tell, if Mr. Wilson had really been striving to declare
war against us, he would, of course, only have needed to nod in
order to induce his whole country to fight after the _Lusitania_
incident, so great was the war feeling at that critical time. Later
on, the President concentrated all his efforts upon the idea of
being the Peacemaker of the world, and even made such prominent
use of the motto, "He kept us out of the war," in the campaign for
his re-election, that it is quite unthinkable that all this time
he should have secretly cherished the intention, ultimately, to
enter the war against Germany. In this matter, the fact that after
the rupture of diplomatic relations between America and Germany,
Mr. Wilson really did urge on the war by every means in his power,
proves nothing. For, after January 31st, 1917, Wilson himself was
a different man. Our rejection of his proposal to mediate, by our
announcement of the unrestricted U-boat war, which was to him utterly
incomprehensible, turned him into an embittered enemy of the Imperial
Government. But this is by no means a proof of the contention that,
before the date named, he was secretly watching for an opportunity
to make war upon Germany. Neither does it excuse the President
for having allowed himself at Versailles to be convinced of the
alleged complicity of the German people in the general war-guilt.
Theretofore he had certainly always differentiated between the
autocracy, as also Militarism, on the one hand, and the German
people on the other. At Versailles he suddenly advanced the theory
that the Germans must be punished for their crimes, and not only
those among them who were responsible, but also the innocent German
people, who neither desired the breach of Belgium's neutrality,
nor understood the moral consequences of the U-boat war, nor were
aware of Mr. Wilson's mediation for peace.

The above dialogue is also interesting from the standpoint that
the President is most clearly convinced that the Entente could
not have conquered without American help. If to-day he concludes
therefrom that America would have been obliged ultimately to join
in the war, in order to punish Germany, in former days he concluded
that his duty was to bring about a Peace without victory. If he had
succeeded in doing this, all of us, friend and foe alike, would
now be living in a better world than the present one. It would be
the world as we had been shown it in a vision of the future on the
22nd January, 1917, and not the world of the Peace of Versailles,
blooming with starvation, Bolshevism and nationalistic hatred.

In his Memoirs, Herr von Tirpitz says that of all the practical
advantages which I declared would follow from a compliant attitude
on our part, not one had fallen to our lot. But I must confess, I
was not aware that the U-boat war had brought us any advantages
either. Its results have been a heavy moral debt and a huge bill
of costs that the German people must pay. And how could the policy
which I recommended have yielded practical results, seeing that I
was never able, or even allowed, to carry it through? Never at any
time was the U-boat war really given up. Every time a diplomatic
success was in view, an incident occurred which made it necessary
to start one's labors all over again.

Other people have said that as I was not in agreement with the
policy of the Imperial Government, I ought to have resigned my
office. This view does not take into account all the facts of the
case. As long as Herr von Jagow was Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, I worked in complete harmony with him. We both worked
together in trying to avert war with the United States. I knew as
little as Herr von Jagow himself did, whether we should succeed
in scoring every point in the policy we pursued, for the Secretary
of State was in perpetual conflict with the Military and Naval
Authorities. If I had heard in time that Herr von Jagow's resignation
had occurred in connection with the question of the U-boat war, and
was the result of it, I should have resigned at the same time as he
did; because my name was identified with the idea of American mediation
for peace. Moreover, up to the 9th, or rather the 19th, January,
1917, I was completely in accord with the Imperial Chancellor; for
Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg declared before the Examination Committee
of the National Assembly:

"The whole of my work in connection with Wilson's efforts for peace
was, indeed, directed towards rendering the threat of a U-boat
war unnecessary, by bringing about a peace movement which would,
of course, have some promise of proving successful."

These words amount to a complete approval of the policy which I
pursued in Washington. When, therefore, on the 19th January, I
received the Note informing me of the intended opening of the
unrestricted U-boat campaign, I could not tender my resignation,
for I regarded it as my duty to the German people, to resist until
the last the unrestricted U-boat war, and, if possible, to avert
a breach with the United States. When, on the 31st January, 1917,
the U-boat policy had definitely triumphed, I had no further chance
of resigning my office, seeing that owing to the immediate rupture
of diplomatic relations it was lost to me.

The various reasons, for and against Mr. Wilson's mediation, were all
thrashed out in great detail in this country, before the Examination
Committee of the National Assembly, in the winter of 1916-17. And,
according to the evidence given, the decisive cause of the failure
of the scheme was the distrust which the most influential statesmen
felt towards the President. If any confidence had been felt in Mr.
Wilson, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg would have opposed the adoption
of the U-boat war, and would have allowed the President's efforts for
mediation to pursue their course. As a witness before the Committee,
he himself said:

"There can be no doubt, now that we can look back upon events,
that we should have done better had we placed our fate in President
Wilson's hands, and had accepted his offers of mediation."

As I have already pointed out, the factor which in my opinion was
largely responsible for determining the course we ultimately adopted
was the under-estimation and ignorance of America which was so
widespread in Germany. From the very first moment the problem was
not properly understood by the German nation. The fact was overlooked
that the most important battle of the war was taking place in
Washington, and when the tragedy reached its climax, no one believed
that, with all her political, military and economic power, the
United States of America would ever enter into the War.

Finally, it has been pointed out as an objection to my view, that,
after all, the Entente would have rejected Wilson's efforts at
mediation. I am no longer in a position to prove the contrary to-day,
and it is, of course, just possible, that the President and Mr.
House were mistaken in assuming as much as they did. If at that
time, however, we expected the Entente to reject Mr. Wilson's offer
of mediation, we should at all events have postponed the U-boat
war, and accepted American intervention, in order to improve our
diplomatic position in Washington, before having recourse to the
_ultima ratio_. It seems to have been our destiny that all our most
important decisions of the war were the outcome of military and
not of political considerations. On the Entente side, the converse
was always true, and that is why, though it suffered many military
reverses, the Entente won the war.

In pursuing the policy I advocated, I was influenced by considerations,
which now, in conclusion, I should like to sum up as follows:

(1) It was no longer possible to achieve a decisive German victory
after the first Battle of the Marne, that is why German policy
should have been directed towards obtaining "Peace without Victory";
and, as things turned out, such a victory was only to be obtained
by means of American mediation.

(2) The personality of Mr. Wilson played no decisive part in determining
my attitude. I never once reckoned upon his personal friendliness
towards ourselves; for I knew him too well to suppose him capable
of pro-German tendencies. I expected nothing more from him than
that he would play America's game--America's and no other
country's--supported by the public opinion of the United States.
American policy, however, pursued the object of a "Peace without
Victory," from the standpoint of practical politics, in order that,
neither Germany nor England should attain to a superlatively powerful
position. A "Peace without Victory" of this sort, under American
patronage, would have left the United States in the undisputed
position of the first political power in the world. To this, there
was added certain other reasons of an ideal political nature, owing to
the fact that both Mr. Wilson and the great majority of the American
people wished to put an end to all the bloodshed and misery.

(3) The beginning of the unrestricted U-boat war was bound, as things
had developed, to lead automatically to the rupture of diplomatic
relations with the United States.

(4) As matters stood in America, the rupture of diplomatic relations
was equally bound automatically to bring about war with the United

(5) War with the United States had to be averted at all costs,
because America's help meant giving our enemy such an overwhelming
preponderance of power, that a German defeat became an absolute

(6) The political situation was such that, the acceptance of the
American offer of mediation was the only means of preventing the
United States from entering the war.

(7) If America did not enter the war, the Entente were not in a
position to beat us.

(8) If Mr. Wilson had succeeded in bringing both belligerent parties
to the conference table, a sort of Hubertsburg Peace[*] would have
been concluded. In view of the situation, a peace unfavorable to
ourselves was unthinkable. Who, at that time, could have compelled
us to accept terms which we regarded as incompatible with Germany's
position in the world? Herr Helfferich before the Examination Committee
of the National Assembly, expressed the view that in the end Mr.
Wilson would have forced peace upon us with the butt-end of a rifle.
But whence would he have obtained this butt-end? He had not one, and
it took him a year to create an army. No one who is familiar with
the United States can believe that it would ever have been possible
to drive the Americans into the war, once a Peace Conference had
assembled. For then it would only have been a matter of deciding
the fate of one or two pieces of territory or colonies, in which the
Americans would not have felt the slightest interest. Naturally,
we should have had to restore Belgium and accept the disarmament
programme, etc. But we had already declared ourselves ready to take
these measures, and, as regards disarmament, etc., this reform was
inevitable, in view of the economic position of all the countries
concerned. If America had not entered the war, no one could have
forced us to accept less advantageous terms than the _status quo
ante_, with possibly some mutual compensation.

[Footnote *: This refers to the Treaty of Hubertsburg, which was
one of the treaties that put an end to the Seven Years War on the
15th February, 1763. It was concluded between the States of Prussia,
Austria and Saxony. Nobody seems to have derived any advantage
from the treaty, except perhaps Frederick II., on whose province
of Silesia Marie-Thérèse renounced all further claim.]



After the rupture of diplomatic relations, I entrusted the care
of our interests to the Swiss Legation, and from that time I did
not speak a word to any American official except to the Assistant
Secretary of State, Breckenridge Long, who accompanied us as far
as the boat at New York. From the majority of those gentlemen with
whom I had official relations, however, I received very friendly
letters of farewell.

The principal passage in the letter from Lansing, the Secretary
of State, was as follows:

"I shall bear in mind all your earnest efforts in the cause of
peace, and will gladly recall our personal relations, which, in
spite of the difficulties of the situation, were always a pleasure
to me."

In view of the conditions prevailing at the time, the preparations
for our departure took a long time. It was only with difficulty
that we were able to obtain the necessary accommodation for the
large number of German officials and their families on the Danish
ship _Friedrich VIII_. The business of getting the necessary
paper--such, for instance, as the Entente's safe conduct--also
necessitated lengthy negotiations, which were conducted by the Swiss
Legation with the assistance of Prince Hatzfeldt, the Secretary
of the Embassy. Our departure could only take place on the 14th

It was not pleasant to be obliged to remain eleven days longer in
Washington. The moment the rupture of diplomatic relations occurred,
the secret police took possession of the Embassy, and shadowed every
one of my movements. These precautionary measures were supposed
to guarantee my personal safety; but I should have been quite safe
without them, for all Americans behaved towards me with perfect
propriety and courtesy. Our personal friends did not allow the
rupture of diplomatic relations to make any difference in their
attitude towards us. Until the very day of our departure, my wife
and I were the daily guests of American friends. Even the Press,
with but a few exceptions, maintained a friendly attitude; for
all the journalists knew that I had worked hard to maintain peace.
As an example of this, I reproduce below an article from the _New
York Tribune_, which is one of the leading anti-German papers in
America. I give the article, somewhat abbreviated, in the original,
in order to preserve its American character:

"Diplomacy and Friendship twin arts of Bernstorff.

"Departing German Envoy, target of critics here and at home, quits
post with brilliant record and many personal friends.

"The sailing of _Friedrich VIII._ invites the cordial obituary
style, though diplomatic deaths are supposed to warrant no sadness.
And yet, curiously enough, Count Bernstorff probably finds himself
leaving when more people are personally for him and fewer against
him than at any time in the last two years. A less distinguished
diplomat would not have had the art to stay so long.

"A letter from Washington, dated June, 1915, is in my desk. It
tells incidentally about the visit of a friend to the Ambassador
shortly after his interview with the President. 'It's coming out
all right,' the Count said cheerfully, his melancholy eyes lighting
up, and the anxious lines etched in his face during the months
past lightening. 'No, they're not going to get rid of me yet for
a while,' referring to the Press clamor for his dismissal.

"'I'm glad of that,' answered the friend. 'Then you'll stay and
get some more degrees.' (Eight American universities had honored
him.) 'Oh,' he answered with a gesture, 'I may leave by degrees.'
It is winning to catch an Excellency at puns.

"At his departure many persons--close friends of the last eight years
and newspaper correspondents--are going to miss his amazing charm
and the easy candor of his talk. He has had an intimate directness
in his dealings with all sorts and conditions of people, that only
a personage of magnetic personality can adopt.

"Sheer charm alone can forget caste consciousness. Count Bernstorff
has had none of the patent heavy regard for himself that makes
three-quarters of official Germany a chore to meet. 'I'll put you
through' the little telephone girl, at his favorite New York hotel
used to say promptly, when his Excellency was asked for, and knew
that she was safe.

"Reporters will miss seeing him teeter informally by the Embassy
fireplace as he interviewed them, or gave out a significant something
from behind a hastily-raised newspaper.

"The insistent friends of Germany, heavily friendly and advisory,
will miss his English, very soft with an attractive ghost, now and
then, of a lisp. He learned it in London, his first language, for
he was born there fifty-five years ago. His father, Count Albrecht
was on service as Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

"Count Bernstorff came to America from his post as Consul-General
in Cairo. He was stationed there in the trying diplomatic period
of Anglo-French rapprochement and the rise of naval competition
between the English and the German empires. By many, Count Bernstorff
is credited with saving Turkish Egypt and most of the Moslem world
to the German balance. They say he did it over coffee with Khedive
Abbas Hilmy, who never, never was bored by his wit, nor failed to
appreciate the graces bred down from thirteenth-century Mecklenburg
of the tall Herr Consul-General. And in return from the Moslem
Count Bernstorff may have caught some of his comforting regard for

"The man is more than a little fatalist. 'What happens must happen,'
he was wont to say, as he sorted the threatening letters from his
morning correspondence. And again: 'What difference does it make?
They've killed so many that one more can make no difference.'

"He goes back to Berlin now, there as here different things to
different people. A rank Social Democrat I have heard him called
in drawing-rooms, where news of his earnest plea to his Government
for a liberal _Lusitania_ Note had leaked out.

"It has not been easy for him to construe and weigh the American
situation for his Government, and have his judgment taken, any
more than it has been easy for Mr. Gerard to convince the German
Foreign Office that the American Notes were really meant. Often
the same agent knocked both men and got in ahead of either as the
authority on what America would do.

"A certain American Baroness, Egeria to the American journalists
in Berlin, who has no use for Bernstorff or Gerard or Zimmermann,
has been one of his many cockle burrs. Most of the German-Americans
who chose to protest about the shipment of munitions and all of
pro-submarine Germany plus an aspirant or two for his post--all
of these have been busy against him. And the Americans are legion
who have seconded the hate. He himself has been silent, with an
occasional wry smile over it all. He has never excused himself
when attacks on him, personally, followed German actions against
which he had counselled.

"He has tried over and over again to explain to the German Foreign
Office the temper of the American people, whose sentimentality is
so different from that which prevails in the Hanover-Bremen-Leipzig
breast. The _Hamburger-Nachrichten_ has reviled him. It has been
hard to see with Hamburg eyes what Count Bernstorff must know--that
hardly a diplomat alive could have stayed so long on friendly terms
with Washington, through these two years, or reaped so heavy a
harvest of understanding from his study of poker and baseball as
well as American commerce and institutions. People like to write--I,
too--of his melancholy eyes, his gently cynical estimates of most
dreamers' hopes. Over one circumstance he has been always hopeful. He
has clung always to the hope that America neutral would be a leader
in the erection of peace machinery, eager that every diplomatic
transaction should perhaps have the possibility of an instrument.
His real object in leaving, I am sure, is that not again will he
turn over a communication from the American State Department to
read a faint hope of peace between lines."

Apart from the measures taken for our security, our departure from
Washington and New York was not very different from what it would
have been in ordinary times, had I been moving to take up my duties
in another country. Many friends came to the railway station at
Washington, and on the boat at New York. Telegrams and letters of
farewell came in hundreds, and our cabins were full of presents,
consisting of baskets of fruit, flowers, cigars, books, beverages
of all kinds, which are the custom at leavetakings in America.
In these circumstances, and after all that I have described in
the foregoing pages, I was nota little astonished when, about a
year later, the American War-Propaganda Department began to hold
me responsible for proceedings which were partly simply fiction,
and for the rest of a kind that had occurred without any assistance
from me whatever. I can understand perfectly the wish of the American
Propaganda Department to create a war spirit, just as the same
department in all belligerent countries strove to do; nevertheless,
it was not necessary to adorn the war propaganda with unjustifiable
personal attacks. Nothing happened after my departure from America
to prompt such attacks. A few of my telegrams were, to be sure,
deciphered and published in order to prove that I had hatched a
conspiracy. When the Military and Naval Attachés were compelled to
leave the United States, I could not very well avoid discharging
the whole of the naval and military business myself. But this does
not prove that I had previously had any dealings with these matters,
even admitting that the Naval and Military Attachés had been guilty
of illegal practices, which, despite all the uproar created by enemy
propaganda, I do not believe to have been proved. Once the fever of
war has died down, no one, presumably, will feel any interest in
devoting any attention to such questions. If, however, later on,
anyone should feel inclined to investigate the "German conspiracies,"
and "German propaganda," in the United States, in an impartial
spirit, he will be astonished to find how many fantastic fictions
were brought to the notice of the Investigation Committee of the
Senate, and what small justification lay at the bottom of the charges
made against the German Embassy.

When, on the afternoon of the 14th of February, we took to sea, we
had no idea that we were to enjoy the hospitality of the gallant
steamer _Friedrich VIII._, and its amiable captain, for four long
weeks. Ever since the establishment of regular lines of passenger
steamers between America and Europe, we must certainly have broken
all records in regard to the length of time we took to complete the
journey. There were on board the _Friedrich VIII._, in addition
to the whole of the staff of the Embassy, together with their wives
and children, the complete personnel of the consulates, as also a
few native Germans, who for some reason or other, happened to be
in America and had not yet had an opportunity of returning home.
A few Scandinavians completed the list of the passengers. The total
number of Germans was approximately two hundred. According to the
wording of the Safe Conduct which we had been granted, we were
allowed to take with us our personal belongings and "a reasonable
amount of money." We were expressly forbidden to carry any papers.

The first twenty-four hours of the journey were the most pleasant.
The sea was calm and the weather was not too cold, and on the following
evening we reached Halifax, which was the port at which we were to
be examined. It was selected in order that we might not have to
enter the war zone. Here we had the first taste of the vexations
of the journey. Our captain wanted to enter the port; but he was
ordered to anchor outside. On the following morning the authorities
allowed us to enter. We were placed under the supervision of the
English cruiser _Devonshire_, and I cannot help admitting that the
English naval officers discharged the undignified and distasteful
duties imposed upon them with great courtesy. The Canadian officials,
on the other hand, behaved with the utmost disrespect and boorishness.
They appeared to be accustomed to dealing only with immigrants and

I do not know to this day, why, in spite of our Safe Conduct, we
were held up twelve days in the Bedford Basin, which, with its
encircling snow-clad hills, was completely shut off from the rest
of the world. The examination in itself could not adequately account
for this strange and uncustomary behavior, particularly towards an
Ambassador: for although the ship's coal was ultimately sifted in
the search for contraband goods, if any good-will had been shown,
the examination could have been finished in three to four days
at the outside. I suppose, however, that the delay was intended
to serve political ends. The English probably wanted to keep us
shut up in Halifax until the United States had entered into the
war. They were perfectly well aware of my views, and feared that
in Berlin I might after all succeed in effecting an understanding
with the American Government. As, however, developments in the
United States dragged on very slowly, and at first only an armed
neutrality was contemplated, the English were ultimately obliged
to allow us to continue our journey, because they could not very
well keep us confined for weeks.

Personally, I cannot complain of the treatment to which I was subjected
at Halifax, for I was the only one among all my fellow passengers
of German nationality who had not to submit to having my person
searched, and was only required to sign a declaration that I was
carrying no papers. Everybody else--even my wife--had to consent to
being searched, an operation which was performed in a humiliating
manner, and which led to many an unpleasant scene. Even little
Huberta Hatzfeldt, who was only three months old, was stripped
of her swaddling clothes. The Canadian authorities assessed the
"reasonable sum of money" allowed at ninety dollars a head, and
confiscated all moneys above that sum as contraband. In this way,
Countess Manfred Matuschka lost 25,000 dollars, which, in ignorance
of the regulations, she had brought with her. The sum was to be
deposited with a Canadian Bank, but has probably been lost forever
by its owner. As I was forbidden to have any communication whatsoever
with the outside world, I was not able to carry out my intention
of lodging a complaint at Washington regarding this breach of the
Safe Conduct that had been granted to us.

At last, however, our imprisonment came to an end, and we were
allowed to pursue our journey. Amid the cheers of all on board,
including particularly those of our excellent captain, who felt
the affront we had received very deeply, we weighed anchor. Judge
of the almost panic-stricken disappointment of all the passengers,
therefore, when at the end of a few knots, the ship turned back
on her course! To the great relief of all concerned, however, it
appeared that we had only forgotten to take on board the wireless
telegraphy apparatus which had been taken from us at Halifax. From
that moment, apart from very bad and cold weather, we continued
our journey without further incident. We took a sweeping curve
northward, then sailed down the Norwegian coast without meeting
either an enemy ship or a German submarine. Some of the neutral
passengers were so much terrified of the latter, that they did
not retire to their beds for many nights at a stretch.

At ten o'clock in the morning we landed in the snow in Christiania.
Meanwhile the Mexico telegram had been published in Washington, and
Michaelis, the German Ambassador, in accordance with instructions,
came on board, in order to learn from me whether I could offer
any explanation of the fact--that is to say, whether I suspected
treachery on the part of any of my staff. It is indeed plain from
the oft-quoted reports of the Committee of the Senate, that a host
of underhand tricks must have been played, particularly in the
Post Office; nevertheless, I am of opinion that in this case the
explanation which I gave above is the correct one. The telegram
in question, like many others, was presumably deciphered by the
English. From the experience gained during the war, we have learned
that the diplomacy of the future will never be allowed to rely,
for important matters, upon the secret of a cipher; for skilful
experts are now able to discover the most complicated code, provided
that they are able to intercept a sufficient number of telegrams.
Over and above this, owing to our isolation in Washington, we were
able to alter the cipher but very seldom. As to the suggestion of
treachery on the part of any member of my staff--I never believed
in this at the time, nor do I believe in it now. In very hard times
they all proved themselves to be thoroughly loyal and efficient.

We had to remain in Christiania longer than we expected, because
the route across the Sound to Copenhagen was entirely ice-bound.
Finally, with the help of ice-breakers, even this obstacle was
overcome, and after a day's halt at Copenhagen, we at last reached
Berlin via Warnemünde. We had received an extremely hospitable
and cordial welcome at Christiania and Copenhagen, at the hands
of the Ambassadors, Michaelis and Count Brockdorff-Rantzau--we
also had an opportunity of convincing ourselves that the feeling
in Denmark and Norway had turned against us just as sharply as
in America. The balance of power was, however, different. If our
neutral neighbors had not been living in fear of German power,
they would at this time have responded to Mr. Wilson's call, and
would have broken off all diplomatic relations with us. I believe
that the President was hoping that events might take this turn,
and that he would thus be spared the need of waging war. If all the
countries in the world were to declare war against Germany and her
Allies--this is what was assumed in Washington--the economic pressure
would alone suffice to compel the Central Powers to yield. The policy
proposed was similar to the one which, in the future, the League of
Nations would pursue against any refractory member of its body,
and which the Entente proposes to adopt to-day against Bolshevist
Russia. The great length of time which it took the United States to
enter the war is, in my opinion, to be explained in this way. The
idea was to wait and see how things would develop. Meanwhile, thanks
to the Mexico telegram, war-propaganda in America was being worked
with great success, and the military preparations made such steady
progress, that even if economic measures did not prove sufficient
to end the war, the United States would have obtained the army
they had longed for for so many years, as also the fleet of war
and merchant ships, for which in times of peace Congress would
never have voted the necessary funds.

On the evening of the day after our arrival in Berlin, I was received
by the Imperial Chancellor, with whom I had a long interview. It
was on this occasion that Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg informed me
that he could not help consenting to the U-boat war, as the German
people would never have understood it if we had concluded an
unsatisfactory peace, without attempting to bring about a happy
decision by means of the last and most effective weapon in which
the nation felt any confidence. He also said that he would have
been unable to go before the Reichstag with an offer of mediation
from Mr. Wilson, because such intervention would not have been
popular, public opinion would not have liked it, and it would only
have been accepted by the Social Democrats. Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg
declared that the Reichstag would have "thrown him out." This was
the very expression he used. But this did not explain why, a few
weeks previously, Mr. Wilson's mediation had seemed desirable,
if, as a matter of fact, it was impossible to get the Reichstag
to agree to it. Meanwhile, the political situation at that time
has been completely elucidated by the evidence which Herr von
Bethmann-Hollweg gave before the Examination Committee of the National
Assembly. In his account of the interview he had with me, he spoke
as follows:

"As regards my interview with Count Bernstorff, on his return from
America, I should like to make the following remarks: I cannot recall
all the details of the conversation I had with Count Bernstorff.
Count Bernstorff has revealed in his evidence what I said to him,
and I have no doubt that he has accurately reproduced my actual
words. My duty was--and this is an idea I already touched upon
earlier in the day--once the policy of an unrestricted U-boat war
was resolved upon, never to reveal to anyone any doubts as to the
efficacy of the scheme. In this case, too, I had to say, we shall
achieve something by means of it. And that is why in my conversation
with Count Bernstorff, I did not reveal my inmost feelings on the
subject--there was no need for me to do so--but simply referred to
the reasons which could be adduced in favor of the U-boat war."

The reception which I was given in Berlin, certainly at first left
nothing to be desired. The Imperial Chancellor, on the occasion of
our first meeting, had thanked me in a very hearty manner for my
work in Washington, and a few days later, proposed that I should go
on an extraordinary mission to Stockholm. On principle I was quite
prepared to do this, seeing that the recent outbreak of revolution
in Russia, and the prospective international Socialist conference
in Stockholm, would offer fresh possibilities of peace, and an
opportunity for useful work. From various things I had noticed in
Berlin, I gathered that--as the evidence before the Examination
Committee proved--the Imperial Chancellor would have preferred
to give up the idea of the U-boat war, and to accept American
intervention in favor of peace, but that he was compelled to give
in, owing to the overwhelming advocacy of the U-boat campaign. It
was to be hoped, therefore, that with the expected speedy failure
of U-boat tactics, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg would snatch at the
next opportunity of making peace. As he remained in Office, in spite
of the U-boat war, his chief motive for so doing must certainly
have been that "after his departure the whole of the power, both
of external and internal politics, would have gone over without
resistance to the machinery of war-fever." I regarded any policy
as the right one, which arrived at a prompt conclusion of peace,
provided that we did not make any confession of weakness by ourselves
initiating fresh offers of peace. We had already erred once in this
way. But in Stockholm it seemed likely that opportunities might
occur of winning either the Russians or the foreign Socialists
over to a movement in favor of peace.

As I heard nothing, either about the Stockholm Mission, or about an
audience with the Kaiser, which I was led to expect in connection with
it, I went at the end of a few days to find out what had happened,
and I was told that the Kaiser had declined to sanction my mission
to Stockholm. Although I had a second interview with the Imperial
Chancellor, I was never able to ascertain definitely the reason of
the Kaiser's anger against me. Since, however, General Ludendorff,
simply on the grounds of my particular views, made his "impassioned"
attack on me before the Examination Committee of the National Assembly,
I have no longer been in any doubt whatsoever as to the nature of
the influence that was at work at General Headquarters. At the
time, I only suspected the prevalence of some such feelings in
that quarter, because I had heard it whispered that the Monarch
did not like my "democratic views." The reasons for the Kaiser's
anger, which were given me officially, were of too trivial a nature
to be even plausible.

I must next refer to the dispatch box of the Swedish Legation in
Washington. At New York Herr Ekengren had put on board the steamer
_Friedrich VIII._ a box containing Swedish telegrams, which was
to be forwarded to its destination.

This box, the very existence of which we Germans knew nothing about,
was taken possession of by the British authorities in Halifax,
and dispatched to England. The London newspapers then reported
that a dispatch box, belonging to Count Bernstorff, and containing
documents of the German Embassy, had been opened there. Although
the mistake, whether intentional or the reverse, was very soon
elucidated, someone had laid the matter before the Kaiser in a
distorted light. Apparently the Kaiser was allowed to form the
suspicion that the opening of the box had betrayed the secret of
the Mexico telegram.

A further reason for his displeasure, at the time, was told me
subsequently at Constantinople by the Kaiser himself. He said that
I had "let him down most dreadfully," when I had recommended Mr.
Gerard as American Ambassador to Berlin. I ought never to have
supported the nomination of such a "Tammany Hall" creature. If
he--the Kaiser--had only known at the time who Gerard was, and
what Tammany Hall could be, he would never have accepted this
Ambassador. In Constantinople I was able to reply to the Kaiser
pretty fully, as the interview took place during a somewhat long
journey on the Bosphorus. I certainly did recommend Mr. Gerard in
due course, but only after he had already been selected as Ambassador
by Mr. Wilson. Before he had been chosen I was not asked. If at
that time--in the year 1913--I had advised the rejection of Mr.
Gerard, it would only have created a lot of unnecessary ill-feeling,
as was the case at the nomination of Mr. Hill. It is the custom
in America to select the Ambassadors from politically influential
circles of the triumphant party; irrespective of whether Tammany
Hall or any other organization is concerned.

Moreover, in 1903 I believed that Mr. Gerard would be welcome in
Berlin, for social reasons alone. Everybody knew that the Kaiser
liked to have Ambassadors who entertained on a lavish scale. Mr.
Gerard was the only man, among all the candidates of that day, who
seemed fitted for this and in a position to live up to it, while
his rich and amiable wife was admirably suited to help him in his
task. Before the war, an American Ambassador in Berlin really never
had any political business to transact, for it was the tradition
with the United States Government to conduct all negotiations almost
exclusively with the diplomatic corps in Washington. In 1913, therefore,
I had no reason to advocate the rejection of Mr. Gerard in Berlin.
Unfortunately, it was precisely in the social sphere that he had,
before the war, experienced certain disappointments in Berlin,
which, as far as we were concerned, might have been avoided, and
it is possible that Mr. Gerard may have been influenced by these
regrettable incidents. In any case, the Ambassador did not like
Berlin, and he took too little pains to conceal the fact. Mr. Gerard
was not the sort of man to be able to swim against the tide of
anti-German feeling, once it had become the proper thing in America
to be pro-Ally. As to whether any other United States Ambassador
would have shown less hostility to us, however, may be reasonably
doubted. I have already singled out the Adlon dinner as a proof
of the fact that Mr. Gerard could behave differently.

Be all this as it may, the reasons which were alleged genuinely
to justify the hostile attitude of General Headquarters towards
myself, struck me as not being sufficiently weighty. I say "General
Headquarters" intentionally, for the Kaiser was manifestly only
prejudiced against me by the usual whisperings that characterized
the Wilhelminian epoch.

Nevertheless, I had conducted the most important negotiations of
the war, and the Monarch must, in any case, have had the wish to
hear the report of it all from the person chiefly concerned. Besides,
the Kaiser knew as well as I did, that in Washington I had pursued
the policy of which he and the Chancellor were actually in favor.
Otherwise, the Imperial Memorandum, which was sent to me about
the U-boat war, and to which I have already referred, would be
inexplicable. Meanwhile, however, this policy had not been able
to prevail against the preponderating influence of the military
party, who demanded the U-boat campaign. Now, of course, I have no
longer any doubt that the views which General Ludendorff expressed
against me before the Examination Committee of the National Assembly,
simply as his personal opinion and without proof, constituted more
or less what was suggested to the Kaiser at this time. Briefly, they
wished to make me the scapegoat for the United States' entry into
the war, and this, despite the fact that all that I had prophesied
in regard to American policy had proved correct, and all that my
opponents had prophesied had proved wrong. In their efforts to
accomplish this end, they found that a poisonous mixture could be
brewed out of my efforts for peace, and my well-known democratic
views, which the Kaiser was not able to resist.

The unhappy Monarch unfortunately never once realized that the
"Democrats" were his best friends. The Imperial power could, in
the long run, only be upheld, if it found both its support and
its counter-weight in a strong democracy. Like Friedrich Wilhelm
IV., William II. was also unable to adapt himself to the changing
circumstances of his time. The one-sided composition of his entourage,
which was always recruited from among people who held his own views,
was, at all events, chiefly to blame for this.

Although the Imperial Chancellor had told me that he would overcome
the Kaiser's displeasure in regard to myself, almost two months
elapsed before I was received at General Headquarters, and even
then, it was only because a question had been asked about the matter
in the Reichstag. When I saw the Kaiser, towards the beginning of
May, in Kreuznach, the American question was of interest merely to
historians, and no longer to politicians. Consequently, my interview
with the Monarch, which took place on a walk, was not of very great
moment. With his customary skill, the Kaiser steered clear of any
attempt to enter deeply into the political problems of the hour,
and behaved towards me, for the rest, just as affably as he had
been wont to do in the past.

I had made the journey to Kreuznach in the company of my late friend,
Ballin, whom I was never to see again. Whereas I was invited to
lunch at the Imperial board, Herr Ballin was only asked to dinner.

Among the many and various charges which were brought against me
in my Washington days, was the allegation that I was principally
an agent of Ballin's. I had, in cordial agreement with Herr Ballin,
always energetically supported the interests of German Shipping
Companies; but even my most bitter enemies can only justify their
charge against me for the period preceding the war. For, during
the war, Herr Ballin had no influence at all, either in America or
at home. He was, for instance, kept aloof from the Kaiser, because
he was regarded as an "interested party" and as a pessimist. On
the occasion in question, a high official of the Court said to me
at the Imperial table that if I was seeing Ballin again before I
left Kreuznach, would I please tell him that he was not to speak
so pessimistically to the Emperor as he was wont to do. The Emperor
ought not to be allowed to hear such stuff, otherwise he would
lose nerve. This little passage of conversation is a proof of the
carefully "insulated" position in which, as everyone knows, the
Kaiser was kept.

After lunch I paid a visit to both of our great Army Commanders,
whose acquaintance I made for the first time on this occasion.

"Bowing to necessity rather than to my own personal tastes," I must
now, unfortunately, enter into personal matters, which hitherto
I have diligently avoided in this book. I cannot, however, help
referring here to the utterly unwarranted attacks made upon me by
General Ludendorff, in his evidence before the Examination Committee
of the National Assembly, with the view of refuting my own account of
the interview which we had at G. H. Q. At all events, the General so
completely lost control of himself before the Examination Committee,
that this possibly explains his false interpretation of my evidence.

To deal first with the reason which actuated me in visiting General
Ludendorff, I reproduce below the dialogue which took place thereanent
before the Examination Committee:

_Delegate Dr. Cohn:_ Was your interview with Field-Marshal Hindenburg
and General Ludendorff brought about by any particular person or
persons--either by yourself, by the Imperial Chancellor, or by
the Foreign Office; or was it purely accidental?

_Witness Count von Bernstorff:_ It was the outcome of the circumstances.
I received a telegram which informed me, through the Foreign Office,
that I was to report to the Kaiser at Kreuznach on the 4th of May.
Now, Field-Marshal Hindenburg and General Ludendorff were also
present at the lunch table, and I felt that I was bound in courtesy
to pay a visit to the two gentlemen after the meal.

_Delegate Dr. Cohn:_ Good. If I understand you correctly, my lord,
G. H. Q. did not even feel the need of speaking with the Ambassador
just recently returned from America?

_Witness Count von Bernstorff:_ No. I never received any summons
for that purpose.

I abide by these utterances to this day, because I actually remained
seven weeks without being summoned to an interview with General
Ludendorff, and then only visited him of my own free will, on the
occasion when I reported to the Kaiser. In these circumstances,
therefore, I was entirely justified in describing my visit as simply
an act of courtesy. In view of the circumstances, I might perhaps
say: an act of super-courtesy.

I do not dispute General Ludendorff's statement that I had expressed
the wish to see him; for if I had not had the wish, I should have
left Kreuznach without paying him a visit. As, however, General
Ludendorff, in his evidence before the Examination Committee, allowed
it to be plainly understood that, owing to the difference of our
views, he did not like to have anything to do with me, I will at
once emphasize the fact, that my wish to see him was actuated by
purely official motives. In politics I have at all times laid all
personal feelings entirely aside, and, have thought only of the
business and the interests of my country. While I was kicking my
heels in Berlin for all those weeks, waiting upon a summons to the
Emperor, I was urged by many people to try and obtain an interview
with General Ludendorff, in order to enlighten him regarding American
affairs, as in this respect he was very badly informed. The latter
fact, has, at all events, been substantiated by General Ludendorff
himself, in his evidence before the Committee. The gentlemen who
urged me to obtain this interview, themselves made efforts to bring
it about. But these efforts were of no avail, and I therefore regarded
them as too insignificant to be mentioned in my own evidence. In all
my utterances before the Committee, I refrained from all allusion
to personal and subjective matters.

General Ludendorff has further maintained that I impugned his honor
by declaring that, generally speaking, he did not wish to conclude
peace. I naturally never made such a nonsensical statement. Immediately
after my visit to General Ludendorff at G. H. Q., I made notes
of the essential passages of our interview; because I suspected,
what in my opinion has since become a certainty, to wit, that the
General wished to heap all the blame of the war with America upon
my shoulders. Every impartial reader who examines the Notes given
below, will be forced to admit, that they contain nothing whatsoever
except assertions, which have been confirmed by all the evidence
given before the Committee of the National Assembly; that is to

(1) That I wished to accept Mr. Wilson's offer of mediation.

(2) That the Imperial Government--that is to say, G. H. Q. or whoever
was responsible for taking the final decision--did not wish to
accept Mr. Wilson's offer of mediation, in order to declare the
unrestricted U-boat war instead.

(3) That the Naval Authorities had declared themselves in a position
to bring about a desire for peace in England in five months from
the 1st of February.

My notes about the interview I had with General Ludendorff ran as

General Ludendorff received me with the following words:

"In America you wanted to make peace. You evidently thought we were
at the end of our tether."

I replied:

"No, I did not think that; but I wanted to make peace before we
came to the end of our tether."

Whereupon the General said:

"We, however, did not want to. Besides, it would not have been
surprising if you had thought that we had come to the end of our
resources. The communications you received, which I read from time
to time, certainly led to that conclusion."

Later on in the conversation, General Ludendorff asked me when,
in my opinion, the Americans would participate in the war with
great force. I replied that in twelve months a large American army
was to be expected in France, and that this army would be organized
with comparative ease. To this the General rejoined that in that
case we had ample time to end the war meanwhile; for the U-boats
would force England to a peace in three months. He had received
absolutely certain information on this point. When I was on the
point of leaving, General Ludendorff repeated this remark very

Though the sense was the same, the actual wording of my evidence
before the Examination Committee differs somewhat from that of
the notes given above. This is explained, however, by the fact
that I spoke quite freely, and therefore prefaced my remarks with
the words: "So far as I can remember, and so far as I am able to
say, under oath, the conversation was more or less as follows,"

I did not enter into the personal views which General Ludendorff
thought fit to express in his evidence before the Examination Committee;
for I am of the opinion that the duty of the Committee was simply to
establish the real truth by an inquiry into the facts. It is open
to the Committee to put to me any questions they like concerning my
activities in Washington, and I will answer them frankly; but I think
that a quarrel between witnesses about their own personal opinions
would have been an undignified spectacle, in which I distinctly
refused to participate. I gladly leave it to the reader of the present
volume to form his own ideas regarding my work in America.

In May, 1917, I left G. H. Q., feeling quite convinced that for
the moment there was no room for me in German diplomacy; for the
only policy which I regarded as right, had no prospect of being
realized. After my return from America, I was placed on half-pay.
I was therefore at liberty to return home, however unwilling I may
have felt, at that moment of great tribulation for my country,
to give myself up to a life of ease and idleness. During my period
of rest, a Reichstag resolution was passed, and there was a change
of Chancellors.

When Herr von Kühlmann, who is a friend of mine, took over the
Foreign Office, he summoned me by telegram to Berlin, and told
me that the Imperial Chancellor, Michaelis, was going to offer me
the post of Ambassador in Constantinople. Some years previously
Herr von Kühlmann and I had worked together in London. We had been
on very good terms, and since then I had never lost touch with him.
As he assured me very positively that he had taken over the Foreign
Office in order to conclude peace, I felt no qualms about returning
once more to diplomatic duties. I did not, however, conceal from
Herr von Kühlmann, that I expected that there would be very strong
opposition at G. H. Q. to my being employed again on Foreign Service.
The Secretary of State was of the opinion that we might confidently
leave this side of the question to the Imperial Chancellor, who at
that moment was on his honeymoon, and was therefore admirably situated
to carry things through. My interview with Herr Michaelis only made
me more eager than ever to undertake the Mission to Constantinople.
He said to me that he was offering me a very difficult and unpleasant
billet, for I should have to wring concessions from the Turks with
the object of bringing about peace. This view of the situation
corresponded entirely with my own. Contrary to my expectations, the
Imperial ratification of my appointment arrived; but the Monarch
also seized the opportunity of making certain remarks about my
democratic views, without, however, withholding his signature from
my credentials.

In September I set out for Constantinople, where thirty years previously
I had started my diplomatic career, and where I was now to end it.



Ackerman, Karl

Albert, Privy Councillor, appointment of; financial affairs of; office
  of; propaganda work of; moving picture work of; shipping activities
  of; hindrance of; marine insurance and; "conspiracies" and; duties
  of; robbing of

Albrecht, Count

Algeciras Conference


America, see United States

American Criminal Court
  Embassy in London
  Institute in Berlin
  Law Department
  Peace League
  Peace Note
  Press Bureau
  Secret Service
  War Propaganda Department

Amsinck and Company, 261

_Ancona_, sinking of; Lansing and sinking of



_Annie Larsen_



_Arabic_, sinking of; effect of sinking of; negotiations concerning;
  defense of sinking of; settlement of

Arbitration Treaty

Archibald, James

_Armenian_ sinking of

Asquith, Herbert

Associated Press



Austria-Hungary, Germany allied with; Serbian threat to; battle front of;
  desire for peace in






Baltimore _Sun_


Baumgarten, Prof.

Beachy Head

Beecher, Henry Ward

Belgium, invasion of; atrocities in; atrocities of; American aid to;
  proposed restoration of; deportations from

Berchtold, Count


Bern _Freie Zeitung_

Bernstorff, Count, in London; pre-war policy of; arbitration efforts of;
  American relations with; peace efforts of; appointment of; Roosevelt
  and; newspapermen and; Bryan and; munition traffic and; Col. House and;
  forged passports and; "conspiracies" and; submarine warfare and;
  _Lusitania_ affair and; _Lusitania_ reports of; Lansing and; _Arabic_
  affair and; _Arabic_ reports of; German telegram on _Arabic_ affair to;
  Archibald affair and; Boy-Ed, report of; _Sussex_ reports of; Bolo
  affair and; Polish relief report of; mediation reports of; 1916 election
  and; Commission of National Assembly and; "American opinion" described
  by; Wilson's speech reported by; departure of; article on; arrival in
  Germany of; German examination of

Bethlehem Steel Works

Bethmann-Hollweg, von

Bielaski, Commissioner Bruce


Bissing, von



Bosch Magneto Company


Boston _Evening Transcript_

Boy-Ed, Captain, office of; recall of; conspiracies of; Rintelen and;
  attacks on


Bridgeport Projectile Company

Brinken, von

British Royal Mail Steam Packet Company

_Brooklyn Daily Eagle_

Brown, Cyril

Bryan, William Jennings; character of; pacifism of; submarine warfare and;
  peace efforts of; resignation of



Bülow, Prince

Bünz, Dr.

"Bureau for Employment of German Workers"




Canadian Bank

Canadian Pacific Railway

Capelle, von




Cavell, Edith

"Central Office for Foreign Service"

"Central Purchasing Company"



Chicago _Herald_

Chicago _Tribune_




"Citizen's Committee for Food Shipments"

Claussen, M. B.



Collector of the Port of New York

Commission of Inquiry

Commission of National Assembly




Creel, George

Current History



Danger Zone

Declaration of London

Democratic Party


Department of Justice

Dernburg, Dr., appointment of; duties of; failure of mission of; propaganda
  of; funds of; unpopularity of; submarine warfare and; _Lusitania_ affair
  defended by; withdrawal of; Bernstorff supported by

Deutsche Bank

_Deutsche Tageszeitung_

Deutscher Verein


Dewey, Admiral

De Wiart, Carton

Diedrichs, Admiral



Dohna, Count

"Dollar Diplomacy"


Dumba, Dr.; peace efforts of; Archibald affair and; recall of




East Asiatic Squadron

Eastern Policy

Eckhart, von


Eitel Friedrich


Encirclement Policy

England; German relations with; Venezuela affair and; cables cut by;
  international law violated by; propaganda expenses of; American press
  and; American relations with; blockade by; Wilson and; American notes
  to: February 22, 1915; January 18, 1916; July 21, 1915; October 21,
  1915; Lansing's note to; debt of; merchantmen armed by; Polish relief
  and; mediation and; resources of; submarine warfare and; peace feeling
  in; wheat embargo against; peace terms of; American financial aid of

English Press
  Secret Police
  White Book

Entente Note, quotations from

Entente Powers, see England, France



Fay, Lt.

Federal Reserve Act

Federal Reserve Board

Five Years War

Flood, Representative


Ford, Henry


France; German relations with; desire for war in; propaganda expenses of;
  munitions sent to; mediation and; pacifist agitation in; American
  sympathy for; resources of; public opinion in; peace terms of; hope of
  American aid in; American army in

Francis-Ferdinand, Archduke

Frederick, Emperor

Frederick the Great

Free Poland

Frelinghuysen, Senator

Friedjung, Heinrich

_Friedrich VIII_


Fuehr, Dr. Alexander; duties of; Hoff affair and

Gerard, Ambassador, _Lusitania_ affair and; German memorandum to;
  memorandum from; submarine warfare and; return of; negotiations with

Gerhardt, Meyer; mission of

German-Americans; illegal activities of; Red Cross work of

German-American Chamber of Commerce

German Embassy in London
  Embassy in Washington
  Foreign Office
    "Information Service"
  Mercantile Marine
  Red Cross

Germany, policy of; English relations with; American relations with;
  French relations with; Russian relations with; statesmen of; world
  politics of; attempt to avoid war by; spirit of; Philippine affair
  and; Venezuelan affair and; propaganda of; object of war in; opinion
  of Wilson in; wireless stations of; American notes to; finances of;
  American exports to; conspiracies of; concessions of; 1916 conditions
  in; 1916 peace offer of; American offer refused by; submarine warfare
  adopted by; American Press and; desire for peace in; rupture of
  American relations with

Goltz, Horst von der

Goschen, Sir Edward

Greece, violation of

Hague Conference

Hale, William Bayard



Hamburg-Amerika Line

_Hamburger Nachrichten_

Hampton Roads

Hapag Case

Harding, Senator

Hatzfeldt, Prince

Hatzfeldt, Huberta

Hay, John

Hearst, William Randolph

Hearst Press

Hecker, Rittmeister; Red Cross work of

Helfrerich, Karl

Henry, Prince

Hermann, F. & Co.

Hilmy, Khedive Abbas

Hindenburg, Marshal

Hirsch, Gilbert

Hoff, Alfred


Holland; allied measures against

Holstein, von

Hong Kong

Horn, Werner

House, Col.; mediation supported by; Bernstorff and; neutrality of;
  German peace offer and


Hughes, Charles Evans

"Hull Insurance"

Igel, von

India, German plots in

Indianapolis _News_

International Commission of Inquiry
  News Service

Ireland; Easter rebellion in

Italy; Austrian relations with; English relations with

Iturbide, General


Jagow, von

Japan, policy of; American relations with; entry into war of


Joffre, Marshal

_Journal of Commerce_

Jusserand, M.

Kaiser William, note from; submarine warfare and; mediation and;
  Bernstorff and

Kaltschmidt, Albert




Kitchener, Lord

Kleist, von

Knox, Philander


König, Capt.


_Kronpriz Friedrich Wilhelm_

Kruger Telegram

Kühlman, von

Lake Erie


Lansing, Robert; German note to; appointment of; qualities of; _Lusitania_
  negotiations and; _Arabic_ negotiations with; January, 1916, note of;
  _Sussex_; and; Anglo-American agreement and; Belgian deportations and;
  peace note and; submarine warfare and

Law, Bonar

League of Nations

League to Enforce Peace

Lechartier, G.

Le Havre

Lester, Capt.


Lincoln, Abraham

Lloyd-George, David

Lodge, Henry Cabot

  _Daily Graphic_
  _Daily Telegraph_
  _Morning Post_

Long, Breckenridge

Long Island


Los Angeles

Lübau Bureau


Ludendorf, General


_Lusitania_, effect of sinking of; sailing of; sinking of; defence of
  sinking of; negotiations concerning

McAdoo, William


McCumber, Senator


Mach, von


Manchester _Guardian_



Mannheimer Versicherungsgesellschaft


Marne, battle of



Matuschka, Countess Manfred


Mechlenburg, Dr.

Mediterranean, English power on


Metropolitan Club

Mexico; punitive expedition into; American relations with; Dispatch


  _Free Press_

Monroe Doctrine

Montenegro, sacrifice of

Morgan, J. P. & Co.



Nelson, Senator

New England

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New London



New Republic

New York
  _Evening Post_
  _Evening Sun_
  _Evening Telegram_

New York Exchange


Norddeutsche Versicherungsgesellschaft

Northcliffe, Lord



"Open Door" Policy

Oriental Policy, see Eastern Policy

Overman, Senator

Paderewski, Ignace

Panama Canal

Pan-German Party

Papen, van, office of; financial affairs of; conspiracies of;
  recall of; Rintelen and; attack on


Parker, Sir Gilbert


Peace of Portsmouth


Philadelphia _Inquirer_
  _North American_
  _Public Ledger_

Philippines, American policy toward; Taft in


Plage; Herr

Poland, plan for relief of; autonomy of



Prince Waldemar

Princess Royal of England

Providence _Journal_

Ram Chandra

Ratcliffe, S. K.

Reed, Senator

Reinsurance Treaty

Republican National Committee

Rheims Cathedral, destruction of

Riano, Señor

Rintelen, Franz



Roosevelt, Theodore; policies of; Venezuela affair and; "trusts" and;
  Bernstorff's personal relations with; _Lusitania_ affair and;
  Russo-Japanese war and; 1916 election and


Rumania; sacrifice of; conquest of

Ruroede, Carl

Russia, German relations with; desire for war in; Japanese relations with;
  war begun by; German conspiracy against; Poland oppressed by; peace
  terms for; revolution in; Bolshevism in

Russo-Japanese War

St. Louis _Globe-Democrat_

St. Paul _Pioneer Press_

St. Regis Hotel


San Francisco

Sayville Wireless Station

Scandinavia; Allied measures against

Scandinavia-American Line

Schack, von


Schiff, Jacob


Schurz, Carl

Serbia, war declared on; sacrifice of

Seven Years War

Sherman Act


Sielcken, Hermann


Smith, Louis J.


Somme Front

South America


Spanish-American War

Speyer, James

Springfield _Republican_






Stone, Senator; Wilson's note to

Straus, Oscar

Struve, Gothein & Co.

Stumm, von


Suedenhorst, Zwiedeneck von

_Sussex_; sinking of; result of sinking of; negotiations over; settlement


Swope, Herbert

Taft, William, policy of; Bernstorif's personal relations with

Tammany Hall

Tauschen, Hans

Taylor, Dr. E. A.


Tirpitz, von

Trans-Ocean Bureau

Treaty of Amiens

Triple Alliance

Tuckerton Wireless Station



U-Boat campaign, opening of; prosecution of; negotiations concerning;
  "armed merchantmen" and; surrender of; American coast; proposed
  reopening of; German desire for; reopening of

U-53, visit of; piracy of

Ultimatum of April 18, 1916

United States, German relations with; pre-war conditions in;
  pan-American policy of; Japanese relations with; Philippine affair
  and; characteristics of; English relations with; _Lusitania_ affair
  and; public opinion in; German wireless stations in; neutrality of;
  munition traffic; German notes to; German propaganda in; propaganda
  work of; German ships coaled in; German finances in; port control
  in; German economic activities in; German dyestuffs exported to;
  German conspiracies in: coaling; forged passports; bomb outrages;
  submarine warfare against; _Arabic_ affair and; _Arabic_
  negotiations with; English intrigue in; _Ancona_ affair in;
  _Sussex_; affair in; desire for peace in; rupture of German
  diplomatic relations with; army of

University of Berlin



Venezuela, American relations with; English and German ultimatum to

Vera Cruz


Versailles, Wilson at; Peace Conference at; Peace of


Viereck, G. S.

Villa, Pancha

Wall Street

Warburg, Paul


Washington, D. C.

Washington _Post_

Wedell, H. A. von

Welland Canal Case

Western Policy

West Prussia

White, Andrew D.

Whitehouse, Mrs. Norman

Wiegand, von

Wilson, President; character of; English influence on; Vera Cruz speech
  of; public opinion and; foreign loans prohibited by; neutrality of;
  munition traffic and; _Lusitania_ speech of; _Lusitania_ negotiations
  with; _Arabic_ affair and; policy of; description of; Congress opened
  by; _Ancona_ affair and; autocracy of; marriage of; mediation efforts
  of; candidacy of; changed attitude of; submarine warfare and; _Sussex_
  and; Kaiser's letter to; Polish relief and; League of Nations proposed
  by; reelection of; Belgian deportations and; German peace offer
  supported by; peace note of; peace speech by; German relations broken
  by; Germany condemned by.

Wolff Bureau



"Yellow Press"


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Three Years in America" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.