File No. 763.72115/12
The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State
Berlin, August 23, 1914.
[Received 2:30 p.m.]
Your telegram of August 20, 3 p.m. My telegram to our Embassy at London was based on supposition that I was to safeguard British interests in Germany to the best of my ability and also on the ground of common humanity. As British Government was allowing Germans to leave England and as British subjects were without any grounds being held here, many under conditions of hardship, and as hundreds had appealed to me for release, the advisability of an early understanding regarding mutual exchange was transmitted. My hope was that our Embassy at London would be able to communicate my suggestion to the British Foreign Office in an informal and confidential manner. Nevertheless, in order avoid any possible indiscretion, I frankly told Foreign Office here that since British interests were confided to my charge I felt it my duty to make such a recommendation. My action has undoubtedly hastened action here as Germany has now consented to release all British subjects if England takes reciprocal measures, and I have informed our London Embassy to this effect.