File No. 763.72/2324

The German Embassy to the Department of State

A 8351]

The Imperial German Embassy presents its compliments to the United States Department of State and has the honor to enclose here-with a wireless cipher message to the Foreign Office in Berlin for kind transmission to the Tuckerton radio station.

Duplicate copies of the text of the message are likewise enclosed.

[Page 649]

The German Ambassador at Washington ( Bernstorff ) to the German Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Von Jagow )

274. Reply to wireless No. 179.

Secretary of State writes me:

I have received your letter of to-day telling me that your Government had mailed to you explicit instructions in the Lusitania case.

It is to be regretted that these instructions were not telegraphed as the time occupied in transit by the mails may seriously affect the negotiation. The protracted delay in the settlement of this controversy, though due to unavoidable causes, is unfortunate and makes it increasingly difficult to adjust our differences.

I am convinced that you realize, as I do, that the tension in this matter is growing every day, that American public opinion is becoming more bitter and that this state of affairs cannot continue much longer without the gravest consequences. I fear that a delay of two weeks will be serious and a satisfactory adjustment will be well-nigh impossible then.

In order to avoid a situation which would make the task of negotiating extremely difficult, might I suggest that your Government repeat the instructions mailed, by telegraph, in order that we may take up the case immediately? In order to make this course possible I am willing that the instructions be sent in cipher through our Embassy at Berlin and this Department, and you may so advise your Government if you agree with me as to the advisability of proceeding with a consideration of the case without further delay.

I agree with and recommend the suggestion of Mr. Lansing.

Count Bernstorff