The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 29.]
Dear Mr. Secretary: I think the German Press has received orders to step softly on the von Papen-Boy-Ed recall.11 The greatest danger now lies in Austria, and over the Ancona note.12 Here there is a large body of manufacturers, ship-owners, etc. who at the last moment declare themselves against war with the U. S. A. and use their influence to that end. But in Austria with no such interests to help toward peace . . . almost anything may happen. However, pressure from here may be brought to bear.
Von Jagow claims that, in the case of both diplomats and military and naval attachés, the nation to which they are accredited has the right, without assigning reasons, to reject them, but that once accepted the reasons must be given which have made them personae non gratae, if their recall is asked. I think Germany will not send successors to von Papen and Boy-Ed even with safe-conduct; whether they will ask the recall of our attachés is another question, not yet decided.
Von Jagow also tells me confidentially that Rintelen was sent to America to buy up the product of the Dupont Powder Company, and that if he did anything else, he exceeded his instructions.
The night of the day of the peace interpellation in Reichstag a call was issued by placards for a meeting on Unter den Linden, but the police surrounded Unter den Linden in force and the meeting was impossible. I walked through the lines, but found very small crowds outside. Most of the men are in the war and the Socialists are terrorized. I was present in the Reichstag; there was quite a row. The Socialist, Scheidemann, made a quite moderate speech, the Chancellor answered, and then the majority endeavored to close the debate. The Socialists made a big row, and finally the majority gave way, and Landsberger was allowed to speak again for the Socialists. He made a very reasonable speech, saying that the Socialists would not allow Alsace-Lorraine (where only 11 per cent of the population was French) to go back to France. He also said “the Disunited States of Europe were making war to make a place for the United States of America.”
Shop-people, etc., in Berlin with whom I have talked are getting sick of the war.
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I hear rumors that Germany is trying, through its Minister in China, to come to an understanding with Japan and Russia.
The banks are sending circulars to all safety-deposit boxes and are trying to get all holders to give up their gold.
I expect newspaper attacks etc., here on this Embassy and on me, in retaliation, as it were, for the recall of Von Papen and Boy-Ed.
The hate of Americans grows. An American clergyman has just told me the German church body has refused to receive an American church deputation and has written a very bitter letter.
Von Jagow has told me no new military attaché will be sent to America. The naval people have not yet decided.
If safe conduct is offered Germany for new attachés the German Government will be in rather an awkward position, if they ask recall of our attachés here.