File No. 763.72119/2417

The British Ambassador on Special Mission ( Reading) to the Secretary of State

No. 628

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have received a telegram from Mr. Balfour from which it appears that there was some reason to believe that the Germans intended to take advantage of the recent visit of Sir George Cave to The Hague in order to endeavour to initiate conversations on the subject of peace.

This visit, as you are perhaps aware, was made in connection with the discussion of the question of the exchange of prisoners of war between the two countries.

It even appears to have been alleged that Sir George Cave was specially selected to proceed to The Hague in order that such conversations might be facilitated.

While there was, of course, no foundation whatever for such an allegation, it appeared to His Majesty’s Government to be quite possible that Sir George Cave might be approached with regard to peace and he was therefore instructed that, should this occur, he might listen to any proposal which might be volunteered to him, but should only say in reply that he had no instructions in the matter [Page 252] and could do no more than report fully to His Majesty’s Government on what was said to him.

Mr. Balfour has requested me to inform you confidentially of the above.

Believe me [etc.]