File No. 763, 72/888

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

No. 206]

Sir: Very little news is given out here, but please be sure of one thing, and that is that Germany is walking through the French, English, and Russian armies as if they were paper hoops. The Germans will soon have a position near the seacoast in the neighborhood of Ostend, and then they can send Zeppelins to England. I respectfully suggest; that consideration might now be given to the probable German demands after the war and their effect on the United States. Germany will surely demand some or all of the French colonies and among these French colonies are the islands of Guadaloupe and Martinique in the West Indies, and I think the island of Miquelon near Nova Scotia, as well as French Guiana. There are also naturally the French Pacific islands to be considered. The war spirit here is extraordinary; Berlin is as calm as in time of peace. There is no confusion. At present our special trains to Holland are not running. This, I think, is because of the sending of troops from the western to the eastern frontier, but the great victories over the Russians in East Prussia will probably make further movements of this kind unnecessary.

Assistant Secretary of War Breckenridge arrived here with his staff on the 23d of August. He is now in Vienna. He left Major Ryan here, and Major Ryan has taken charge of the transportation bureau, a great relief to us all; he seems most tactful and efficient. Consul General Lay has also arrived. It is hard; work to get the Americans out of Germany, as many of them show a desire to stay here.

One million, two hundred thousand volunteers enrolled in a few days, this of course in addition to the millions already on the army lists; this will give you an idea of the spirit of the people. The people are far more incensed against England than against France or Russia, and I am sure will never forget the action of Japan nor fail to take their revenge. The Emperor, the Chancellor, and practically all the Ministers are at the front, probably Coblenz, although they [may] be now further north; the exact place of headquarters is always kept secret.

Many English women and girls are detained here but Germany will not let them go until an answer to their proposition is received from England. If England refuses to let men of military age go, an arrangement can probably be made about the women and children, but Germany thinks it is at least entitled to an answer.

We have received the enclosed communication from the Foreign Office here about the Declaration of London.1

I am writing this under constant interruptions from Americans asking me to prophesy about the war, which accounts for the disjointed [Page 106] style. Messrs. Gibson and Jones of bankers’ committee are also here.

I have [etc.]

James W. Gerard
  1. Printed with the documents on this subject, post, p. 224.