763.72/2552½

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

My Dear Mr. Secretary: As I cabled you, I read your Zwiedenek memorandum18 to von Jagow. He said it was too long to remember and asked for a copy. Government people here are convinced that you were in favor of the German side of the armed merchantmen controversy but say that the President came home from a trip and ordered you to switch. I don’t think however they are going to start any controversy with you on the matter.

The “illness” of von Tirpitz is announced. I think it means his resignation, and have just so cabled you, although it is possible that his resignation may never be publicly announced.

For one thing—the K———. and army people began to think it was a bad principle to introduce to have any officer or official appealing to cheap newspapers and the “man in the street” in a conflict with superior authority.

I heard that at Charleville conference both the Chancellor and von Jagow said they would resign if von Tirpitz’s policy of unlimited submarine war on England was adopted.

Verdun is still being attacked and will be anyway until the 22nd. when the subscriptions to the War Loan close.

The Catholic or Centrum party is very much against the U. S. A., and the President. It is said the cause for this is that the Catholics in America are against the President’s Mexican policy.

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The food question becoming really acute—the village people are about starving in some sections and are not as well off as the people in the big towns; it being the policy to keep the people in the cities as satisfied as possible in order to prevent riots, demonstrations, etc.

Some Germans have asked me if the sending of a German Colonel House to America would be agreeable to the President. Probably the Envoy would be Solf, and he could informally talk to President and prominent people. How about this? If sent he would require a safe conduct from England and France.

I hear the submarines now are mostly engaged in mine laying, at the Thames mouth, etc.

Yours ever

J. W. G[erard]