File No. 763.72119/22
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
London, September 10, 1914, 4 a.m.
[Received 6:55 a.m.]
636. Referring to your telegram of September 8, 4 p.m. I have on my own account had an informal conference with Sir E. Grey about possible mediation. He reminded me that he exhausted every honorable means to keep peace and that every government involved showed a disposition to meet some of his proposals except Germany. She had deliberately planned and prepared for a war. Still he is willing to come to any honorable arrangement for peace now or at any time but everything will depend on the terms. The war has already revealed two great facts, first, that all Europe has been living on the brink of a precipice and, second, that Germany has done a grievous and irreparable wrong to Belgium. No peace can be concluded that will permit the continuance of or the recurrence of an armed brute power in central Europe which violates treaties to make war and in making war assaults the continuity of civilization. Any terms that England will agree to must provide for an end of militarism forever and for reparation to ruined Belgium.
The foregoing was Grey’s wholly private talk to me not to be quoted to anybody nor made public. It was personal and must be regarded as inviolably secret.
The following is the practically universal view held here. They regard the German Emperor and the system of government that be stands for as they regarded Napoleon, a world pest and an enemy of civilization, and that there can be no permanent peace till he and his system are utterly overthrown.[Page 101]
All the Allies must agree on peace terms before anyone can consent. They would all regard it as a part of the German propaganda if the Emperor should now make an impossible offer so that on its rejection the peace advocates in the United States would say that the Allies are to blame for the continuance of the war. That is precisely what the Emperor is playing for.
I send you this as the opinion universally held here. Such a move has been openly discussed here in the press and is expected. The feeling here is that there can be no peace now on any terms that the Emperor will propose, and that he knows this and if he proposes anything now he will propose it only to affect public opinion in America. If our Government tries to bring about any premature or inadequate proposal, this action may prejudice us as possibly successful mediators later.