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

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

There would be no interruption of military operations. The conversation would go no further than deemed useful by the participants; the parties concerned could be put to no disadvantage thereby. The exchange of views, far from doing any harm, could be but beneficial to the cause of peace; what might fail at the first attempt could be tried over again; something will at least have been done toward elucidating the problems. How many are the deep-rooted misunderstandings that might be dispelled! How many the new ideas that would break their way out! Human sentiments so long pent up could burst forth from all hearts, creating a warmer atmosphere while safeguarding every essential point and dispel many a discussion which at this time seems important. We are convinced that it is the duty of all belligerents to mankind to take up together the questions whether there is no way, after so many years of a struggle which, notwistanding all the sacrifices it has cost, is still undecided and the whole course of which seems to demand a compromise, of bringing this awful war to an end. The Imperial and Royal Government, therefore, comes again to the governments of all the belligerent states with a proposal shortly to send to a neutral country, upon a previous agreement as to the date and place, delegates who would broach a confidential non-binding conversation over the fundamental principles of a peace that could be concluded. The delegates would be commissioned to communicate to one another the views of their respective governments on the aforesaid principles and very freely and frankly interchange information on every point for which provision should be made.

The Imperial and Royal Government has the honor to apply for your kindly good offices and to request that the Royal Government of Sweden kindly communicate the present communication, which is addressed to all the belligerent states simultaneously, to the Government of the United States of America and of Great Britain.

(Signed) BURIAN.

Be pleased to accept, Excellency, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

(Signed) W. A. F. EKENGREN.

His Excellency, MR. ROBERT LANSING, Secretary of State of the United States, etc., etc., etc.


STATEMENT OF MR. BALFOUR IN REPLY TO HERR PAYER AND THE AUSTRIAN NOTE1
September 16, 1918

I had intended to say something today on the certain broad aspects of Russian policy which, in my opinion, concern not merely Great

____________________
1
Text in The Times, London, September 17, 1918, p. 7.

-389-

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