File No. 763.72119/767

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State


2413. For the President:

Further referring to the Department’s circular of 18th instant1 and my 2407 of the 21st instant,2 concerning the Pope’s peace offering. At the Foreign Office yesterday afternoon, I was informed by Mr. de Margerie, director of political affairs, that a telegram had been received from French Ambassador Petrograd to the effect that Tereshchenko, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, had just announced to him his! disapproval of the communication of the Pope and had referred to it in most bitter terms. That this, the French Government, is very unfavorable to it the chief reasons being that the Pope in no instance recognizes the difference, from a moral standpoint, between the aggressor and those who have been so [Page 176] grievously wronged and that to accept a peace on the general principles proposed by the Pope would be to allow an enemy to remain substantially in full possession of his [army?] and resources which would offer the temptation at an opportune moment to renew hostilities against the weakened countries of the smaller and less powerful Allies.

The fact that so much was left unsaid in the appeal as to defining and confirming the rights of these smaller powers also condemned it. The opinion was expressed that the overture was chiefly made through the solicitation of the Austrian Government; that the Emperor and Empress are very devoted Catholics and would naturally feel an additional interest in having the Pope make an intercession in addition to the fact that the very serious economic conditions of that country were well known. The opinion was further expressed that the German Government would never offer any definite terms of peace until forced by arms to do so, but, that consistent with its practice in the past, it would seek to draw out expressions from the Allied powers, from which course it might gain some possible advantage.

Incidentally much importance is attached to the recent publication of the White Book at Athens in which is quoted the message of the Kaiser to King Constantine showing that as early as August 4 an understanding and alliance had been made by Germany with Turkey. In this connection Mr. de Margerie told me that he had in his possession a letter from the Turkish Minister then in Paris under date of August (14?), as I remember, stating that his Government would observe strictest neutrality and enter into no hostile alliances. A Paris press report from Zurich says that—

the new Chancellor’s statement repudiating the peace resolution of July 19 caused a foreboding sensation in parliamentary circles. There is some talk about a new [ministerial] crisis. The Chancellor is accused of being an extreme reactionary and of having insulted the Reichstag after duping the party leaders who had entered into negotiations with him upon the subject of the peace resolution.

Very bitter comments by the Berlin press are reported in that dispatch. Judging from their character, I would say that the new Chancellor’s career will be anything but wise and helpful to Germany.

The following quotations from leading Paris newspapers upon the German Chancellor’s speech before the Reichstag may be taken as fairly typical of the sentiments of the French people. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Ante, p. 165.
  2. Ante, p. 170.