File No. 763.72/1903

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


2501. Note as at present drafted will offer security to ships usually and especially engaged in passenger traffic. There is a fight on between the peace party and the war party as to whether this offer shall be unconditional, simply expressing a hope that ammunition and arms shall not be sent on these ships, or as to whether this offer shall be made conditional on the fact these passenger ships shall not carry arms and ammunition. Foreign Office and the Chancellor are for the former proposition; the war-Von Tirpitz party for the latter. I think the feeling between America and Germany will be helped to a better understanding if you can assure me that President will come out and endeavor to secure non-shipment of arms and ammunition on these passenger ships and allow me to convey this informally to Foreign Office. The peace party is having a hard time and will receive, I hope, some encouragement from our side. Of course all above is informal and confidential but my information from high and good sources is confirmed by information given Conger of Associated Press. A friend of mine in Foreign Office has suggested that President send me a message to give Kaiser personally. Kaiser would then have to see me which friend thinks will help as Kaiser now entirely surrounded by military and hears only war talk.