Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 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 negotiatians 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

1

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 GermanAmerican 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.

CHAPTER VII

THE "ARABIC" INCIDENT

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 arging the very principles

« AnteriorContinuar »