File No. 841.857Ar1/35
The Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard ) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 25, 1.30 p. m.]
2272. Your 2105.2 According to your instructions saw Von Jagow 6.15 to-day. When I came in he said, “I have been expecting you every day. I do not understand this Arabic business.” Asked him if they had any report. He said, no; but that it was done contrary to instructions if the boat had been torpedoed as reported. I said, “What were the instructions?” He said “Not to torpedo without notice,” and so on. I said “You mean passenger ships?”[Page 526]
He said he had sent Bernstorff a wireless cipher telling him to ask our Government to suspend judgment, that while not doubting the good faith by [of] the eyewitnesses, they might naturally have been excited, and that the Germans regretted the loss of life; he did not know whether Bernstorff had received the wireless, that he had not answered.
Von Jagow gave me the impression of being greatly worried by the occurrence; personally I am sure it was done by order of Von Tirpitz who thus wants to make a direct issue with the Foreign Office and Chancellor even at the expense of war with us. The threats of the friends and followers of Von Tirpitz that something of the kind would be done have been too open and continuous; even Von Gwinner, the head of the Deutsche Bank, sent me word by Winslow that if they could catch the Mauretania it would be treated like the Lusitania.