File No. 763.72/3871

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


6007. Sir William Robertson, Chief of Staff, came to see me and expressed the earnest hope that we will send, the very earliest day possible, a unit of regular United States troops, if no more than a brigade, to show themselves for a day or two in London and in Paris and then to go to the British front as a visible evidence of our hearty cooperation. He lays great stress on the moral and inspiriting effect, both military and political, of which there can be no doubt. The Prime Minister has expressed the same opinion to me with his utmost emphasis, in fact this hope is universally held here. A small unit would not require special shipments of food and ammunition, the British would supply these.

The French Minister of War, who has been on a visit, expressed the same opinion to me.

The suggestion also has been made, first by Thornton, afterwards by many other persons of good judgment, that a regiment recruited wholly of Irishmen living in the United States and sent to Ireland for training would have an enormous influence on Irish feeling, would help recruiting there and would have a strong political influence towards a settlement of the Irish question. I asked the Prime Minister’s opinion and he expressed the heartiest approval. He said, “Bring that about if it be in any way possible and bring it about quickly. We will do everything necessary to further it and the effect will be most helpful.” A Canadian Irish regiment did the same thing with most beneficial results. The British will send to the United States the Canadian Irish officer who commanded this regiment if he can be of use to us.

The foregoing is the political wish of the men quoted. As to the military wisdom of sending one unit to France of course I do not presume to have an opinion.