File No. 763.72/1881

The Third Assistant Secretary to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: The Austrian Ambassador called this morning to leave with me a memorandum expressing the desire of his Government that Mr. Montgomery Schuyler should return to Petrograd to care for the Austrian prisoners in Russia. During the conversation the Ambassador brought up the relations between this country and Germany, and spoke of the necessity of this Government recognizing the principle of submarine warfare. I said that it was my earnest hope that Berlin and Vienna realized the unanimity of opinion in this country which had been very clear since the publication of our note to Germany. To my surprise Mr. Dumba replied that he did not feel at all that the country was unanimous and that the Middle West did not go as far as the President. In addition he said that the newspapers throughout the country had, for the most part, failed to express an opinion until the publication of the note, which indicated, he felt, that they were led to take their pronounced stand only after learning of the President’s views. In other words, he gave me the impression, very clearly, that he was contradicting my assertion that the country was a unit at this time. My only reply was that I did not know his source of information, but that my information was quite to the contrary.

I bring the substance of this conversation to your attention, Mr. Secretary, because I feel it to be of the utmost importance that the representatives of Germany and Austria should not misrepresent the state of feelings in this country to their governments. I had assumed that the two ambassadors were impressing on their governments the seriousness of the situation over here, but since my conversation this morning I am not convinced that they are accurately representing the situation. It is probable that both Count von Bernstorff and Mr. Dumba are surrounded by an atmosphere of sympathy and are receiving expressions of sympathy from many individuals, and it would be only human if such expressions might at this time lead them away from the reality of the temper of this country.


W. Phillips