File No. 763.72/10396

The Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall ) to the Secretary of State


3654. German political. The peace offensive advocated in Kreuz Zeitwig has developed into a rather general expression of desire [Page 258] that the Government define its program of war aims. The author of the original article has stated that such a program should provide for liberty of the seas and adjustment of economic and colonial questions, more definite understanding, the reduction of the British Navy, internationalization Gibraltar, Malta, etc., under which conditions Germany could give up Belgium. Accounts of German submarines off the American coast have been confined to neutral and Allied press reports and the idea has been expressed that transport of troops will be reduced. References to American Army less disparaging so far as numbers are concerned. Emphasis now laid on lack of training. Allied grain reserve is spoken of as destroyed.

Electoral reform has been defeated in fourth reading and, the Conservative-Liberal-Center compromise being accepted, hope is removed that equal suffrage bill will pass without new election. Hertling is said to have stated that he would stand or fall with this bill and if the question is not satisfactorily solved by winter the House would be dissolved. The election of Fehrenbach of Baden by an overwhelming majority to the presidency of the Reichstag increases the importance of south Germany in the Reichstag. He is of the Democratic wing of his party and close to Erzberger. Radical Dove, National Liberal Paasche, and Socialist Scheidemann were elected vice-presidents. Socialists hold chairmanship main committee in person of Ebert, and Fischbeck, a Radical, probably is [chairman] inter-party committee. All important offices thus held by Moderates. …

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