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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

mination. They have an army adequate in numbers, unexcelled in courage, and led by commanders of ability and patriotism. They have resources inestimable and unapproachable.

If Americans are incensed at the intrigue and underhanded machinations of Germany in their midst and on their border Russians have fourfold cause for like resentment, and will make any further sacrifice rather than conclude a separate peace.1


ADDRESS OF CHANCELLOR VON BETHMANN-HOLLWEG TO THE REICHSTAG ON GERMANY'S WAR AIMS AND HER ATTITUDE TOWARD PEACE WITH RUSSIA2
May 15, 1917

These interpellations demand from me a definite statement on the question of our war aims.

To make such a statement at the present moment would not serve the country's interests. I must therefore decline to make it.

Since the winter of 1914-15 I have been pressed now from one side, now from the other, publicly to state our war aims, if possible with detail. Every day they were demanded from me. To force me to speak an attempt was made to construe my silence regarding the program of war aims of individual parties as agreement. Against that I must resolutely protest. On giving liberty for the free discussion of war aims I had it expressly declared that the Government could not and would not participate in the conflict of views. I also protested against any positive conclusion whatever regarding the Government's attitude being drawn from the Government's silence.

I now repeat this protest in the most conclusive form. Whatever I was able to say about our war aims I said here in the Reichstag

____________________
1
On April 27, 1917, the Provisional Government published a manifesto embodying a statement of its war aims similar to that contained in the proclamation of April 10 (above); on May 3 there was sent to the Russian embassies in the Entente Allied capitals and in Washington a note referring to that manifesto and repeating the assurances of the report here described by Secretary Lansing. The note affirmed the harmony between the war aims of the Russian state as outlined in the manifesto and the enunciations of war aims made by Entente statesmen and by President Wilson. It was added that the Provisional Government would "maintain a strict regard for its engagements with the allies of Russia." See The New York Times, May 4, 1917, p. 7.
2
The New York Times, May 16, 1917, p. 2.

-98-

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