The Secretary of State to President Wilson
My Dear Mr. President: There is a means employed frequently by the British Foreign Office and occasionally by this Department to communicate in a frank way views which it would be embarrassing to do formally. The way it is done is to send a telegram to a diplomatic representative which he is permitted to show the Secretary of Foreign Affairs on his own responsibility and in an entirely unofficial manner. An example of this practice was the telegram from Viscount Grey to Sir Cecil, a copy of which I sent you in my letter of the 18th. It has the advantage that it avoids note-writing and not being given publicity avoids the charge of being done for political effect.
It has seemed to me that it might be advisable to pursue this method at the present time in bringing home to the British Government the growing irritation in this country at the blacklisting, censorship of mails and other measures adopted by Great Britain, and the indifference shown by the British Government in failure to make prompt reply to our notes. I am afraid that London does not appreciate that the tide of resentment is rising very high in this country, and that there is a tendency to demand drastic action by this Government. The British Government ought to be fully advised of this menace to our cordial relations, because the removal of it lies with them. I do not think that their representatives here have correctly pictured the state of the public mind in this country or impressed them with the conditions which are rapidly approaching a critical stage.
In accordance with the method of communicating information, which I have mentioned, I have prepared a telegram to our Chargé at London very frankly and very bluntly telling the truth about the present situation. This telegram he is confidentially authorized to show to Lord Grey on his own responsibility and unofficially.
A draft of the proposed telegram to Mr. Laughlin is enclosed and I would be obliged if you would give me your views as to the advisability of sending any telegram of this nature and as to the language of the telegram, if you approve sending one. I think the decision should be made immediately.