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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

necessary for the protection of our seamen and our people in the prosecution of their peaceful and legitimate errands on the high seas. I can do nothing less. I take it for granted that a neutral Governments will take the same course.

We do not desire any hostile conflict with the Imperial German Government. We are the sincere friends of the German people and earnestly desire to remain at peace with the Government which speaks for them. We shall not believe that they are hostile to us unless and until we are obliged to believe it; and we purpose nothing more than the reasonable defense of the undoubted rights of our people. We wish to serve no selfish ends. We seek merely to stand true alike in thought and in action to the immemorial principles of our people which I sought to express in my address to the Senate only two weeks ago--seek merely to vindicate our right to liberty and justice and an unmolested life. These are the bases of peace, not war. God grant we may not be challenged to defend them by acts of wilful injustice on the part of the Government of Germany!


ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE RELATIVE TO A RESUMPTION OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH GERMANY1
February 12, 1917

In view of the appearance in the newspapers of February 11 of a report that Germany was initiating negotiations with the United States in regard to submarine warfare, the Department of State makes the following statement:

A suggestion was made orally to the Department of State last Saturday afternoon by the Minister of Switzerland that the German Government is willing to negotiate with the United States, provided that the commercial blockade against England would not be interfered with. At the request of the Secretary of State, this suggestion was made in writing and presented to him by the Swiss Minister Sunday night. The communication is as follows:


"MEMORANDUM

"The Swiss Government has been requested by the German Government to say that the latter is, now as before, willing to negotiate,

____________________
1
4 Dip. Corr., 414.

-72-

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