The Counselor for the Department of State (Lansing) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I prepared sometime ago, as you will recall, a memorandum for the President upon a letter written by Professor Münsterberg setting forth in concrete form the complaints of Germany’s sympathizers in this country as to the policy and conduct of the Administration in relation to neutral rights and neutral duties. I believe that these complaints are entirely unjustified and can be answered conclusively, and that the memorandum, which I hastily prepared, forms a basis for such answers.

These complaints are still being widely circulated among our people of German birth and descent and are undoubtedly alienating many of them from their political allegiance to the Democratic Party. This hostility is largely the result of false statements as to the course pursued by the Government and of ignorance of the rights and duties of a neutral nation. However unjustified the complaints may be, there can be no doubt of their political effect. Thousands of former friends of the Administration are being converted into bitter adversaries; and this is going on day after day by reason of the propaganda which is being carried on in an apparent effort to force the Government to adopt a policy favorable to Germany regardless of the fact that to do so would be a breach of neutrality.

It seems to me that as a matter of political expediency some steps should be taken to refute the unjust charges which are being made against the Administration and to explain to the public, particularly the pro-German element, the actual situation and what the Government can do and cannot do as a neutral power.

Furthermore, it seems to me that these steps should be taken as soon as possible. The movement has gained much headway, and, like a snow ball rolling down hill, it increases in size and impetus as it advances. The longer it goes on the more difficult it will be to check it.

I have already spoken to you of this matter in a casual way, but, as I am becoming more and more impressed with the strength of the movement and with the serious political consequences which will follow if nothing is done to interrupt it, I venture to call the matter more definitely to your attention.

Very sincerely yours,

Robert Lansing