The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:15 p. m.]
2462. I interpret thoughtful and responsible opinion here as follows and send it as in the past for your information. Germany reckons on American unpreparedness for war and hopes that pro-German sentiment can prevent munitions from going to the Allies, arguing that if pro-German sentiment fail the United States cannot fight and therefore the risk of insulting us is negligible since as a neutral her enemies obtain help from us through their command of the seas and as an enemy we could do no more harm than we now do.
The feeling seems to be that Germany can never be persuaded to give us a satisfactory answer and that if we do not take effective action of some sort we shall lose the confidence and respect of the Allies and in time have to face Germany alone; that if democracy as represented by the United States yield, its standing in the world will be gone for an indefinite time and its advocates weakened in every country.
Men here point out the similarity of Germany’s dealing with the United States to her dealing with England, always by evasion, and [Page 702] they point to England’s mistake in hoping to avoid war and not equipping an army 10 years ago. They say that unless German military power is crushed by the crushing of the professional military party all the world will be terrorized and that we must range out effectively against this menace without delay or suffer ultimately whatever the outcome of the present struggle may be.
I think this opinion is practically universal here among thoughtful men. They are saddened by it but regard it as practically certain that we cannot escape; that the Germans will continue assassination and incendiarism in the United States and will sooner or later destroy more American travelers.
British opinion has great and growing confidence in the President himself but seems to show a doubt about the virility and courage of American public opinion attributing to it a timidity arising from failure to grasp the scope of the issues involved in the struggle and the effect of its outcome on the United States.