File No. 763.72119/748

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page ) to the Secretary of State


6996. My 6990 of to-day.1 Following is the text of the cipher telegram which Mr. Balfour has just dispatched to Count de Salis, the British Minister to the Holy See: [Page 168]

You should take a convenient opportunity of pointing out to the Cardinal Secretary of State that we have not yet had an opportunity of consulting our allies on the subject of the Pope’s note and are therefore not in a position to say what reply if any could usefully be sent to his suggestion as to the terms on which a durable peace might best be secured. You should add that in our opinion no progress is likely to be made until the Central powers and their allies have officially announced the objects for which they are carrying on the war, the measure of restoration and reparation which they are prepared to concede, and the methods by which the world may be effectively guaranteed against any repetition of the horrors from which it is now suffering. Even as regards Belgium where they have owned themselves a great wrong we have no clear intimation of their intention either to restore its complete independence or to repair the injuries which they have inflicted upon it. His Eminence will doubtless have present to his mind the statements which the Allies made in reply to President Wilson’s note.1 No corresponding statements have been issued either by Austria or Germany and it seems to us useless to attempt to bring the belligerents into agreement until we know clearly the points on which they differ. I assume that you have a copy of the joint reply of the Allies to President Wilson 2 and of the despatch on the same subject which I wrote on January 7.3 If not I will at once send you copies for convenience of reference.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For President Wilson’s note, see Foreign Relations, 1916, Supplement, p. 97.
  3. Supplement 1, p. 6.
  4. Not printed.