The papers included in this supplementary volume relate in general to the period during which the United States was still neutral and are arranged as in preceding supplements. Under certain topics they run beyond the date April 6, 1917, because of the continuation, of discussion of subjects arising in the earlier period, as in the case of the importation of goods of German origin detained in the Netherlands and that of the removal of German reservists from American ships; or because of the analogous character of subjects, such as the return of diplomatic officers from and to countries with which relations were severed after the declaration of a state of war with Germany. Papers relating to the development of the policy of Latin-American countries are printed for the entire year, to maintain the unity of the subject and because the countries which, one after another, severed relations with Germany or declared war based their action on the same grounds of the violation of neutral rights as those taken by the United States. For similar reasons papers relating to China and Siam are included for the period ending with China’s declaration of war, on August 14; and a few relating to the action of Liberia are of later date than that country’s declaration of war, August 4.
Brackets, [ ], occurring in the text enclose editorial insertions. These are of two main types: (1) words or phrases, in ordinary type, supplied to fill in omissions or replace obviously garbled passages in telegrams; and (2) suggested corrections, in italics, following words or phrases which appear to be incorrect. When there is not sufficient evidence to indicate what has been omitted or garbled, or when the words which might be suggested would so seriously affect the sense of the document that supplying them would involve more than an editorial responsibility, notice is taken of defects in the text by the insertion, within brackets, of “omission,” “garbled groups,” or “sic.” Insignificant words are corrected or inserted without distinguishing; marks.
Parentheses, ( ), occurring in the text are in the documents themselves. Besides their ordinary use for punctuation, these marks were also employed, in the deciphering and decoding of telegrams, to enclose words or phrases suggested by the decoders as possibly the intended readings of garbled groups which yielded unintelligible or no results. When so employed they have been allowed to stands, [Page IV] unless comparison with other documents showed the suggested reading to have been obviously either correct or incorrect. In the latter case the text within parentheses has sometimes been replaced by an editorial insertion within brackets.
Translations as found in the files have been revised and corrected if found faulty by comparison with texts in the original language or other versions available, but care has been taken to avoid altering in any significant respect important texts that were acted upon or used as sources of information in their existing form.
The general principles governing the compilation and editing of these papers are stated in the preface to Foreign Relations, 1914, Supplement, pp. iii–iv.