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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

STATEMENT ISSUED BY SECRETARY LANSING EMBODYING THE DECISION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MATTER OF ARMING AMERICAN MERCHANT SHIPS1
March 12, 1917

The Department of State has today sent the following statement to all foreign missions in Washington for their information:

In view of the announcement of the Imperial German Government on January 31, 1917, that all ships, those of neutrals included, met within certain zones of the high seas, would be sunk without any precautions being taken for the safety of the persons on board, and without the exercise of visit and search, the Government of the United States has determined to place upon all American merchant vessels sailing through the barred areas an armed guard for the protection of the vessels and the lives of the persons on board.


AMERICAN REPLY TO THE MEXICAN PROPOSAL OF FEBRUARY 122
March 16, 1917

SIR: I have to request that you will have the kindness to transmit to the President-elect of the Mexican Republic the following reply to the communication of February 11, 1917, addressed by him to you with instructions to deliver it to the Government of the United States.

In his note of February 11, 1917, the President-elect proposes to all the neutral Governments that the "groups of contending Powers [in the present European conflict] be invited, in common accord and on the basis of absolutely perfect equality on either side, to bring this war to an end either by their own effort or by availing themselves of the good offices or friendly mediation of all the countries which would jointly extend that invitation. If within a reasonable time peace could

____________________
1
Statement issued by Secretary Lansing for the use of the press.
2
4 Dip. Corr., 351. Secretary Lansing to the Mexican Consul General at San Francisco.

-82-

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