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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

REPLY OF CHANCELLOR VON HERTLING TO THE STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT WILSON OF JANUARY 8, 19181
January 24, 1918

When last I had the honor to speak before your Committee--that was on January 3--we were faced by an incident which had occurred at Brest-Litovsk. At that time I expressed the opinion that we should await the settlement of this incident in all equanimity. The facts have corresponded with the expectation. The Russian Delegation has again arrived at Brest-Litovsk, and negotiations have been resumed and continued. The negotiations are progressing slowly. They are exceedingly difficult. I have already referred, on a previous occasion, to the exact circumstances from which these difficulties arise. Indeed many times there were reasons to doubt whether the Russian Delegation was in earnest with its peace negotiations, and all sorts of wireless messages which were going around the world with remarkably strange contents tended to strengthen this doubt. Nevertheless, I hold firmly to the hope that we shall come to a favorable conclusion in the near future with the Russian Delegation at Brest-Litovsk.

Our negotiations with the representatives of the Ukraine stand favorably. Here also there still are some difficulties to be overcome, but the prospects as I regard them are favorable. We hope in the near future to arrive at a settlement with the Ukraine which will be to the interest of both sides and which should also be advantageous as far as their economic aspect is concerned.

One result could already be recorded on January 4 at 10 o'clock in the evening. As you all know, the Russian Delegation, at the end of December, made the proposal to send an invitation to all the participators in the war asking them to take part in the negotiations. As a basis for this the Russian Delegation submitted certain proposals of a very general character. We, at the time, agreed to the proposal for inviting participators in the war to the negotiations, with the condition, however, that this invitation should be limited to a clearly defined period. On January 4, at 10 o'clock in the evening, this period expired. No answer had been received. The result is that we are bound no longer in any way so far as the Entente is concerned, that we have a clear road in front of us for separate negotiations with Russia and also that, obviously, we are no longer bound in any way,

____________________
1
Text in The Times, London. January 26, 1918. p. 7.

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