My Three Years in America

By Count Bernstorff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE "ARABIC" INCIDENT

A FEW days after the dispatch of the last American Note concerning the Lusitania incident, on July 21st, 1915, Mr. Lansing asked me to call on him. He then told me that the American Government had come to the end of its resources, and if any further cases occurred of loss of American lives by the torpedoing of merchant ships, war must inevitably result. The United States Government intended to write no more Notes, which had been proved useless, but would request me to undertake further negotiations in person. My action in the Lusitania incident had given proof of my earnest desire to avoid war, and the American Government were confident that I should succeed, even under such difficult conditions, in finding some way out of the present impasse.

From this time onwards, Mr. Lansing agreed with me that, as a regular thing, I should be permitted, whatever negotiations were going on, to send cipher dispatches to my Government through the channels of the State Department and the American Embassy in Berlin. It will be remembered that a similar privilege had been granted me at the time of the Lusitania incident.

My sole ground of hope for success lay in one passage of the American Note of July 21st, which read as follows:

"The Government of the United States and the Imperial German Government, contending for the same great object, long stood together in urging the very principles

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