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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

any outrage upon fair dealing between nations, great or small, will meet with prompt and meritable chastisement--these constitute the causeway along which humanity was progressing slowly to higher things. The triumph of pressure would sweep it all away and leave mankind to struggle helpless in the morass. That is why since this war began I have known but one political aim; and for it I have fought with a single eye--that is the rescue of mankind from the most overwhelming catastrophe that has ever yet menaced its well-being.


SWISS RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT WILSON'S PEACE NOTE1
December 23, 1916

The President of the United States of America, with whom the Swiss Federal Council, guided by its warm desire that the hostilities may soon come to an end, has for a considerable time been in touch, had the kindness to apprise the Federal Council of the peace note sent to the Governments of the Central and Entente Powers. In that note President Wilson discusses the great desirability of international agreements for the purpose of avoiding more effectively and permanently the occurrence of catastrophes such as the one under which the peoples are suffering today. In this connection he lays particular stress on the necessity for bringing about the end of the present war. Without making peace proposals himself or offering mediation, he confines himself to sounding as to whether mankind may hope to have approached the haven of peace.

The most meritorious personal initiative of President Wilson will find a mighty echo in Switzerland. True to the obligations arising from observing the strictest neutrality, united by the same friendship with the States of both warring groups of Powers, situated like an island amidst the seething waves of the terrible world war, with its ideal and material interests most sensibly jeopardized and violated, our country is filled with a deep longing for peace, and ready to assist by its small means to stop the endless sufferings caused by the war and brought before its eyes by daily contact with the interned, the severely wounded, and those expelled, and to establish the foundations for a beneficial cooperation of the peoples.

____________________
1
4 Dip. Corr., 330; this note was sent first to all belligerents and later to all neutrals including the United States.

-21-

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