File No. 763.72/1500a

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


1723. Despatches from House in London give us reason to hope that the new British ministry will be willing now to consider the proposals which we submitted to the Governments of Germany and Great Britain in our identic note of February 22 [20]1 last, if the German Government will renew the proposals either through us or in any way it may prefer, and will now include in its proposals a mutual agreement to discontinue the use of poisonous gases. Please take this up unofficially and very confidentially with the German Foreign Office, but be careful at the same time to make it perfectly clear that while this action on the part of the German Government, if it lead to successful results, would practically clear away the difficult questions now under discussion between ourselves and them, we are conveying this information and making this suggestion only as the sincere common friend of Germany and England, desirous of rendering any service to them, and not as if we for a moment suggested a bargain or compromise with regard to our own rights upon the seas, or were willing to make those rights contingent upon what England and Germany might agree upon. No matter what England does to Germany or Germany to England, our rights are unaltered and we cannot abate them in the least. They cannot depend upon any circumstances of the war which do not by recognized international law constitute a necessary limitation. You will know how to make this clear, at the same time, that our services are most cordially offered and it is made evident that the adoption of this suggestion would furnish a happy way of clearing the field.

  1. Ante, p. 119.