File No. 763.72119/9973

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

[Telegram—Extract]

3628. Referring to the brief mention in my No. 36271 of yesterday concerning the publication of a letter of Emperor Charles to Prince Sixte de Bourbon and the possible political effect thereof in France, I have learned of certain facts which would seem to establish it as perhaps the most important incident in its possible consequence that has marked the administration of Mr. Clemenceau.

Next in degree to the surprise which was occasioned by the publication of the Emperor’s letter by order of the Premier, the fact that such a letter had been written so long ago and kept secret by the French Government came to the public as an astounding revelation. While it is true that in the late days of Mr. Ribot’s Premiership he had made brief reference in the course of a statement in Parliament to certain peace overtures coming from Austria, yet his vague remarks gave no indications of what had really taken place. I learn that the Socialists have seized upon the incident to renew their criticism of what they term secret diplomacy, while others not politically allied with them deplore the publication of the letter. …

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Sharp
  1. Not printed.