Mr. White to Mr. Hay.

No. 1966.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward to you this day a telegram,a a copy of which is appended.

The Eisemann case has been one of especial difficulty and delicacy. These two gentlemen having left Frankfort-on-the-Main shortly before arriving at military age, went to America, and, having been successful at Boston in large business, they returned before reaching middle age with the evident intention of residing for a considerable time at Frankfort. Shortly after their arrival they leased large apartments for a term of several years and furnished them very handsomely. This probably aroused some feeling not only among their German contemporaries, who had done their military service, but doubtless among others in the community, and especially among the military authorities. The order of expulsion was the result.

The next unfortunate phase of the case was that there was a delay by Messrs. Eisemann in bringing it to the knowledge of the embassy and that there was even delay in informing our consul-general at Frankfort. Instead of coming directly to this embassy, in which case we could have taken time by the forelock and probably have secured the necessary order before more feeling was aroused, the Messrs. Eisemann thought it advisable to try other methods, and the result was a great growth of bitterness, more especially among the officials charged with the case. When it reached us here the whole matter had been apparently settled. The military authorities had committed themselves fully and looked on the matter as res adjudicata. I immediately brought the matter to the attention of the foreign office, but found much reluctance to touch it on the ground that it was too late; that the matter was settled, and that the authorities here could not now go behind the decision which had been arrived at and the measures which had been taken in consequence. But the case was pressed both by Mr. Jackson and myself, and as I took a deep interest in it I did what I am always very reluctant to do with an official matter—presented it to the chancellor, both verbally and in writing, and more than once. It was only after mature consideration that I took the risk involved in doing this. Fortunately the minister of foreign affairs did justice to [Page 454] my feeling in the matter, and he as well as the chancellor has been friendly. The same may be said of the acting minister of foreign affairs during Baron von Richthofen’s absence, whom I also saw on the subject, furnishing him also with careful memoranda. But it was soon clear to me that the military authorities here as well as at Frankfort and the Prussian minister of the interior had at last been brought into a firm attitude against a complete revocation of the order. The utmost they could be induced to consider was an extension of the permission to sojourn until October 1. More than that, as I gather from my interviews at the foreign office, they have steadily opposed. * * *

The argument presented to me as that of the minister of the interior was, that if the Government yielded in the case of these wealthy men they could have henceforth nothing to say in the case of poor men. In regard to this whole question, every thinking Prussian, indeed every thinking German, feels deeply. * * * I mention this to show the feeling which is at the bottom of the attitude taken by German officials on questions of this kind; not to justify, but to explain it. You, of course, are fully aware of these facts; but I doubt whether any person who has not lived here for many years and talked much with men of light and leading in this Empire can understand the real depth of it. When, then, young men just arriving at the military age go to other countries and secure foreign citizenship, which absolves them from all duties to their fatherland, there is a deep prejudice against them, especially if they return to the districts from which they went.

Had the case been presented at once I think that we could have won it, or, if the Messrs. Eisemann had gone to any other part of Germany save the very city from which they went, there would probably have been no question; but unwittingly, on their return to the place from which they had gone, they immediately attracted general attention, aroused envy, and finally created a strong feeling in the official class that they ought to be expelled. Thus far, nothing, I think, has been omitted by this embassy which could help toward a decision in their favor. Both Mr. Jackson and myself have done all that has been possible. I shall keep close watch of the case and avail myself of every opportunity to make any point in their favor. I may say here that our difficulty has been increased by the fact that whereas both the brothers insisted for a considerable time that they would remain at Frankfort or nowhere in the German Empire, and whereas one of them later gave me to understand that they would be satisfied if allowed to come to Berlin, which statement I made to the foreign office, urging that a modification of the order be made to this effect, the other brother now comes back to the earlier position and insists that they do not wish to come to Berlin.

I give these facts in order that you may more fully understand the main points in the case as given in Mr. Jackson’s dispatch 1926 of April 17.

I remain, etc.,

And. D. White.
  1. Printed, ante.