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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 anxions 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 å 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 submarinecaptains 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. 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

*i.e., Without instructions from Berlin.

On my

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