File No. 763.72/896
The Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard ) to the Secretary of State
Berlin , September 16, 1914, 12 noon.
[Received September 17, 9:30 p.m.]
182. Department’s telegram August 28, 7 p.m.1 German Government unable to understand United States refusal to take action relative to neutralization of the African colonies lying within the conventional free-trade zone. They state that since the United States has kindly assumed German interests in the countries at war with Germany, it is only natural that they should seek the good offices of the American Government for the assertion of their wishes. As a matter of course, it remains in the discretion of the American Government to determine in what form the German requests are to be presented to the other belligerents, but in the opinion of the German Government no such request ought properly to be refused unless calculated to compromise the neutrality of the United States or conflict with the principles of law and equity.
The German Government hoped that their request, which aimed at avoidance of unnecessary accentuation of the present conflict inimical to the common cultural interests of the white race, would meet with full sympathy at the hands of the American Government, particularly in view of the attitude of the American representative at the Congo conference. They consider that the fact that the United States did not ratify the Congo Act of February 26, 1885, is irrelevant, the German Empire, which requests the good offices of the American Government, being a signatory power. The Imperial Government believes that the American Government will take the same view upon reconsideration and venture to renew their request as stated in my telegram of August 22, 11 a.m.