File No. 763.72119/813

The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador ( Jusserand )

Dear Mr. Ambassador: Our Minister at Berne has telegraphed a translation into English of a despatch published by the Havas Agency in Swiss newspapers purporting to give the text of the [Page 194] President’s reply to the Pope’s peace overture. I beg leave to enclose a copy of this for your information.1

You will observe that the Havas despatch is not only a very questionable translation, but also introduces ideas that were not contained in the President’s message and omits points essential to a correct understanding of the President’s views.

I have to-day telegraphed the Minister at Berne to send the original French text of the Havas message to the Ambassador in Paris, and have telegraphed the latter to bring the subject to the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs with the request that any possible action be taken to prevent future garbling of such important messages. I know that you will agree with me as to the importance of accuracy in regard to such matters, in order that the whole world, our enemies included, may hear what we wish them to hear of our views, and not a garbled version prepared by some news agency. I beg to suggest that you convey to the Minister for Foreign Affairs your own views on this subject.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. See ante, p. 186.