The Counselor for the Department of State (Lansing) to President Wilson

Dear Mr. President: I return herewith the letter from Mr. Nieman34 which you were good enough to let me see in which he urges the issuance of a statement of the Government’s reasons for failure to protest against Germany’s conduct as a belligerent.

Confirmatory of Mr. Nieman’s opinion as to the advisability of a statement of this sort Mr. McKelway, the correspondent of Harper’s Weekly, called upon me today, and said that he wished that the Government’s position could be made public as recent articles in periodicals showed that “since Colonel Roosevelt set the ball rolling it was still in the public mind.” (The metaphor of a “ball” being “in the public mind” I disavow.)

Personally I have felt that criticism on this subject was dying out, but as both Mr. Nieman and Mr. McKelway are better judges of public opinion than I am, I presume that I am wrong.

I am handing to Secretary Bryan today a memorandum for a statement on our position together with a letter explaining the reasons for the treatment of the subject adopted.35

I also enclose a reported statement of Sir Edward Grey, appearing in today’s papers, which will have a tendency to encourage the critics to renewed activity.36

Very sincerely yours,

Robert Lansing
  1. Ante, p. 195.
  2. For the memorandum and its covering letter, see infra.
  3. Not enclosed with file copy of this letter.