File No. 763.72/2968

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


4502. Press summary. The influential person mentioned in my 44802 as having addressed the meeting of the Independent committee was Geheimrat Duisberg, who said he came with official instruction from Hindenburg to tell the committee that Hindenburg requested it to cease all agitation for increased severity of submarine warfare. General Ludendorff is reported to have written in a letter that—

Tremendous efforts are necessary in order to defeat the hopes which our adversaries are setting on their simultaneous and extraordinary exertions on all the fronts, but we shall succeed if the German people stand united and with full confidence behind us and does not wear out the Army with disputes [Page 298] as to the advisability of ways and means to success; if it seems to one standing aside as if a program in certain questions were missing, this is no proof that it really is missing. I beg of you to be untiring in urging unity and confidence.

The Cologne Volkszeitung denies that the Center Party is divided on the submarine question into two factions. It points to the history of the submarine question and declares that the new men in the Navy like Holtzendorff and Capelle, who in May were very reserved and vague in their opinion as to the possibilities and prospects of submarine operations, to-day take the same view as Tirpitz, Bachmann, Beinke [Behncke], Pohl, and others. The political aspect of the question had likewise changed with time. People who had spoken with the Chancellor lately testified to the great value which he attached to the fact that he had never been opposed in principle to unrestricted submarine warfare and was not to-day. To put it mildly, the political side has commenced to waver whereas Hindenburg had not yet made any decision. This being the situation, the Center Party had declared that the Chancellor would have the Reichstag behind him if, with the support of the decision of highest military authorities, he should adopt unrestricted submarine warfare.

  1. Not printed.