763.72/2551½

The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Some newspaper men just in from Verdun report the Germans saving men,—losses small,—going at it with artillery, probably over 1000 guns, and making a slow and almost irresistible push. Some military attachés think there may be a strong attack somewhere else on the front.

This Verdun attack was undoubtedly made to keep Roumania out.

I think the food question here is getting very serious, but before they are starved out they will starve six million Belgians, eleven million Russians and Poles, and two million prisoners: so that after all this starvation business is not practical.

There was a Grand Council of War last week at Charleville to determine whether von Tirpitz’s proposition, to start an unlimited submarine blockade of England, should be started or not,—i. e. sink all ships, enemy and neutral, at sight. Falkenhayn was for this, the Chancellor against, and von Tirpitz lost. The decision, of course, was made by the Emperor.

Great advertising efforts are being made on the question of the Fourth War Loan. It will, of course, be announced as successful.

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There are undoubtedly two submarine parties in Germany and, if the President loses out, there may be an unlimited blockade of England.

I think Germany, as at present advised, is willing, if merchant ships are disarmed, to agree to sink no boats whatever without warning and without putting passengers and crew in safety. The Admiralty approves of this.

Von Wiegand publishes an article in the Lokal Anzeiger on America in which he makes some statements no loyal American should make just now.

As B. Franklin said: “We must all hang together or we shall hang separately.”

Yours ever

J. W. G[erard]