File No. 763.72114/77
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
London, November 16, 1914.
[Received November 17, 8:40 a.m.]
Bitterness has developed between the British Government and the German Government about treatment of prisoners of war and interned non-belligerents. Anderson, just returned from Berlin, reports that German Government wishes me and in fact expects me personally to visit the prisons and detention camps in England and report upon them, and expend from the German Government for clothing and other comforts for these war prisoners and interned German subjects. Anderson visited several interned camps and carried report to Berlin. This only partially satisfied German Government, which insists on my personal examination and report.
I am, of course, ready to undertake such work if you think it wise to authorize me to do so, and if British Government consent. I shall not approach British Government till I receive your instructions. Your general instructions for the conduct of other embassies do not cover this point. British Government will assent, I am sure, in case German Government agree to reciprocal actions by Gerard.
British Government a little while ago gave me $15,000 to send to aid British prisoners in Germany. Now German Government has put in my hands $15,000 for reciprocal use.
I suggest for your consideration the possibility of instructing me to undertake this work as an act of grace not as a duty, not incurring responsibility for the condition of prisoners nor any other responsibility whatever, except an accurate accounting of expenditures. There are now about 20,000 Germans interned and prisoners in Great Britain.
Anderson reports that German Government have feeling that American Embassies here and in Berlin are pro-British. They feel that any people who are not for them are against them. German Government is greatly disappointed that American public opinion is not pro-German. I need not say that this Embassy has acted with as rigid neutrality as the Government at Washington itself, and has served the German interests within your instructions with the utmost zeal and care.
- The second paragraph, with necessary explanation and changes, to the Ambassadors in Germany and France.↩