File No. 763.72/2947

The Chargé in Germany (Grew) to the Secretary of State


4478. The American newspaper correspondents who have just been permitted to visit the Krupp works at Essen and other industrial centers tell me that Ludendorff, who is Von Hindenburg’s Chief of Staff, has just visited Essen and arranged to double the output of ammunition from Krupp’s, which will result in an immediate increase from one million and a half to three million shells per month, the necessary buildings and machines being ready and a large number of workmen withdrawn from the front for this purpose. While [Page 297] the correspondents are convinced of the truth of this report, I naturally have no means of confirming it. They all say that Ludendorff told various prominent industrial magnates that there would be no resumption of submarine warfare in violation of neutral rights, which tends to confirm my previous report that Von Hindenburg is supporting the Chancellor and is important in connection with the sentiment of the Reichstag that the decision should be left to the higher military authorities. Public opinion in the industrial districts, however, was wholly in favor of the reckless submarine warfare.

While the Chancellor was able to prove in the Reichstag that he is at present in control of the situation, and while the political outlook is therefore for the present moment reassuring, I wish to repeat that there is no permanent security to be looked for in the situation regarding the submarine issue, in view of the attitude of the Navy, the Conservative Party, and the great mass of public opinion.