File No. 763.72119/86

The Minister in the Netherlands (Van Dyke) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Lansing : During my recent brief vacation in England I have had the opportunity of meeting a good many important people in a purely personal and social way. From their conversation I gathered that in spite of political differences all the responsible people in Great Britain are deeply in earnest about the war and resolute to continue it, at whatever cost, until an honorable, just, and durable peace can be secured. Britain now has over three million men under the colors. It would hardly be possible to provide arms for more at the present moment. I understand that nearly a million reinforcements are ready now to put into the field. It is a great mistake to say that England does not feel the war. Every household that I know already counts its dead or wounded.

At a private dinner of six friends on September 1, Sir William Tyrrell, secretary to Sir Edward Grey, talked with me apart and confidentially, with such evident intention that I feel that you should know what he said. The substance of his conversation was as follows:

He felt that Great Britain could not possibly consider any peace propositions which did not include as a first term the full restoration of Belgium and northern France. If I understood him correctly, he believed that compensation for damages by Germany should also be made. After that, he said, he thought that a “league of nations” should be formed to prevent the recurrence of such a war as this, to guarantee the respect of established neutrality and the maintenance of the general principles embodied in the Hague conventions (here the details were not more closely defined), and to punish future infractions and violations. He said that in his opinion, if America were favorable to an idea of this kind, her good offices, mediation (call it what you like), would be welcome when the consideration of terms of peace became possible.

There was nothing formal or official in his conversation, which lasted for nearly an hour, but I felt sure that he had not spoken [Page 65] without reflection. He gave me a personal friendly message from Sir Edward Grey, who had gone to the country for a fortnight’s vacation on account of his health.

Believe me [etc.]

Henry van Dyke