Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December 1916 to November 1918

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

SPEECH OF BARON SONNINO, ITALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, IN THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES1
December 18, 1916

The Government knows absolutely nothing regarding the specific conditions of the enemy's peace proposals and regards as an enemy maneuver the rumors secretly spread about them. We must remember that none of the Allies could in any way take into consideration any condition offered to it separately. The reply of the Allies will be published as soon as it has been agreed upon.

We all desire a lasting peace, but we consider as such an ordered settlement of which the duration does not depend upon the strength of the chains binding one people to another, but on a just equilibrium between States and respect for the principle of nationality, the rights of nations, and reasons of humanity and civilization. While intensifying our efforts to beat the enemy, we do not aim at an international settlement by servitude and predominance implying the annihilation of peoples and nations. If a serious proposal was made on a solid basis for negotiations satisfying the general demands of justice and civilization, no one would oppose an a priori refusal to treat, but many things indicate that that is not the case now. The tone of boasting and insincerity characterizing the preamble to the enemy notes inspires no confidence in the proposals of the Central Empires. The Governments of the Allies must avoid the creation for their populations by a false mirage of vain negotiations of an enormous deception, followed by cruel disappointment.


NOTE OF PRESIDENT WILSON TO THE BELLIGERENT POWERS SUGGESTING A STATEMENT OF PEACE TERMS2
December 18, 1916

The President directs me to send you the following communication to be presented immediately to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government to which you are accredited:

____________________
1

The Times, London, December 19, 1916.

2
4 Dip. Corr., 321. The foregoing text is the version sent to London in the form of a note to Ambassador Page to be presented by him to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the same mutatis mutandis was sent to the American Diplomatic Representatives accredited to all the belligerent Governments and to all neutral Governments for their information.

-12-

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Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December 1916 to November 1918
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