File No. 763.72/10119
The Minister in the Netherlands ( Garrett) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 24, 2.42 p.m.]
2852. German evening papers, 21st, print inconspicuously abridged summary President’s speech under titles “Wilson’s New War Speech,” “Wilson’s Latest Diatribe,” “Wilson’s Grim Determination,” etc. No paper prints complete text. Comment limited.
Vorwärts: It is very easy to refute many points speech as demagogical exaggeration. Thus the hateful charge of failure respect Red Cross should be addressed primarily to those who misused Red [Page 240] Cross as cover for military transports, etc., but on whole speech reflects psychological impression peaces of Brest and Bucharest were bound to produce across ocean. Surely Wilson has no right to compare efforts Central Powers for expansion with unselfishness Entente. Renaudel’s recent article in Humanité vividly exposes unselfishness French war aims but since French, English, Italian plans, exist only on paper, whereas Brest and Bucharest peaces form weighty facts, Wilson’s deceptive logic will find ready reception in already biased heads his countrymen. The peace in east has therefore extraordinarily consolidated Wilson’s position.
Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 22d: Wilson made two noteworthy statements. First, his placing Russia on same plane as France which would indicate his reports from France are so little favorable that he could count France with Russia among the helpless. Second, his statement every proposal for an understanding in west involves reservation regarding east. Wilson thus can conceive no peace with Centrals without revision eastern treaties or more properly their abrogation in favor Entente’s egotistic objects, but these eastern treaties have legal validity and only the might, of Entente can annul them. Entente Powers were given opportunity to participate in Brest negotiations but by their failure to appear deprived themselves, or better, their people, of possibility of influencing arrangement of eastern affairs. Wilson’s belated endeavor to change facts is attempt that could only succeed through defeat of Centrals and he hardly believes in that himself.
Tägliche Rundschau: Entente peace speeches become frequent again. Certainly no mere chance that Cecil, Smuts and now Wilson speak indirectly of peace. Wilson, like Cecil, wishes to know our terms. Hertling recently voiced opinion of German Government.
Die Post: As always, Wilson is mainly concerned in self-sanctification. False pride and patent untruth remain stamp of Wilson’s character. The monument to America’s unselfish war and humanity is firmly enough established on sale ammunition to Entente under guise neutrality. Wilson’s assurance of succour to helpless and friendless France as well as Russia is doubtful flattery illy concealing American egoism. The calumny that Germany misuses Red Cross is audacious coming from mouth of notorious violators of that institution, but not surprising. It is exceedingly doubtful whether Wilson will ever attain this first object of victory.
Magdeburgische Zeitung: Wilson wants war to end and will not listen to any peace conditions. His mention of France in same breath with Russia will not improve spirit in France. His speech proves beyond doubt war prolongers in Entente are as strong as ever. His hypocritical attacks on German Army for not respecting: Red Cross are so disgusting that we need not bother with them.[Page 241]
Düsseldorfer Nachrichten: This speech is by man who had to declare war because plutocracy, whose tool he is, was afraid of losing capital invested in war. Stolypin’s son-in-law recently confirmed this on ground of official documents. Wilson’s hypocrisy cannot be excelled even by British statesmen. His charges of violation Red Cross by Germany are best illustrated by American custom of sending aviators across Atlantic on hospital ships.
Kreuz Zeitung: It is becoming difficult to take Wilson otherwise than as pathological case.
Hannoverscher Kurier: Justice, mercy, and freedom in mouth of Wilson sound like praise of virtue in mouth of prostitute.
Tageszeitung: It seems compatible with Wilson’s second object of winning war greatly and worthily to threaten France with blockade and starvation to keep her [in] line and let pacifists see France must go on even if she doesn’t want to. We never shared view Wilson is recluse professor or the indignation at his hypocrisy. We always considered him astute politician and hyprocrisy part of his nature and consistent with part allotted himself and United States. In fact attitude of United States since war began would have been impossible without playing such part. Thus we understand why he emphasizes America is fighting unselfish war because any American reading this will feel proud, which would not be case if Wilson told truth and said this is war of Anglo-Saxon capitalists for world supremacy. Wilson’s slur on name of German Army is one of the obligatory lies characteristic of the great President which he is ambitious to have himself called.