File No. 763.72/1992a
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard )
1965. Following message has been sent by wireless by Bernstorff to his Government:
In confidential and friendly conversation with Secretary of State whole ground was covered. It seems that our note is considered least satisfactory with regard to Lusitania. Effective pressure by American Government on England not to be expected if American public opinion is not satisfied on this point.[Page 477]
As possible formula, it was suggested for us to say that attack on Lusitania was justified as reprisal but that we were responsible if neutral citizens suffered by our reprisal.
Last sentence conclusion by Bernstorff from long conversation by me. Bear this in mind if matter is discussed by you. Extent of responsibility based on illegality of acts of retaliation.