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

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Events are beginning to march. At first von Tirpitz’s “illness” was announced, then came his resignation.

Yesterday was his birthday and a demonstration was expected, there were many police out, but I could see no demonstrators. The row may come in the Reichstag.

There are two sources of danger. First—A failure at Verdun and the new food regulations may make people ready to accept Tirpitz’s guarantee that if he is allowed his way the war can be won and ended. He has a large following already who favor this plan. Second—There are some Reichstag members and others who think the Tirpitz people can never be re[con]ciled unless there is a new Chancellor.

The Chancellor sent for me Friday. I did not get his particular point, if he had any. I have cabled a summary of the conversation.19

In addition I assured him the President did not want war with Germany. I told him of Root’s and Roosevelt’s speeches and said that of the three parties in America the President and the Democrats alone stand for peace.

I think the Chancellor wants to keep peace with America and also wishes to make a general peace. He talked or rather I talked, a little about terms. He still wants to hang on to Belgium but I think will give most of it up—but is fixed for an indemnity from [Page 682] France. The loss of life here is affecting everyone, the Chancellor is a very good man, and I think honestly desires an honorable peace.

Potatoes are restricted, from to-day, 10 pounds per. head in 12 days—not much—bacon and lard practically not to be had, butter only in small quantities and meat out of reach of the poor.

I told the Chancellor I thought a great source of danger to the good relations of Germany and U. S. A. was in Mexico, that if we had trouble there, had to raise a large army and roused the military spirit at home, that the President might find it hard to hold the people. This struck him as a new view as most Germans think that Mexican troubles are to their advantage, and I am sure Villa’s attacks are “made in Germany”.

I shall not come home, both the Chancellor and von Jagow have begged me not to go.

The enclosed21 about a Japanese book may interest those members of Congress who are against preparedness.

Just heard that a Dane who sold 1,000,000 tons of manganese, which he had in Brazil, to Levino & Co. of Philadelphia for U. S. Steel Co., was arrested here and in jail three days. The charge was that the Manganese was used in steel which was used for munitions against Germany.

Enclosed is a speech made in Prussian Landtag by a socialist.21


J. W. G[erard]
  1. Ibid., p. 207.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 680.