File No. 763.72119/1761

The Minister in the Netherlands ( Garrett ) to the Secretary of State


3260. Kühlmann speaking yesterday before Reichstag gave Burián credit for bringing about meeting of two Emperors, an historic event of great significance for future relations between Germany and Austria-Hungary. He characterized resignation of Radoslavov as regrettable but said change of Cabinet would have no effect on Bulgarian policy. Difficulties had arisen between Turkey and Bulgaria regarding condominium in Dobrudja and regulation of Ma-ritza border but he was confident of satisfactory adjustment. The Roumanian questions would be reserved for later separate treatment.

Events in Russia demanded closest attention of German diplomacy and exercise of utmost prudence. In Finland, thanks to German assistance, struggle has ended in favor of those desiring the country’s independence; across the Baltic, however, difficult situation involving Lettish people has arisen as foreseen by negotiators at Brest-Litovsk, but complete dissolution of Russian Empire had made the course taken unavoidable. The sending of troops into Esthonia, and Livonia to help subdue terrorism of Red Guard had been done with approval of united German public opinions. An attempt to settle outstanding questions in this region is about to be made in Berlin with representatives of Soviet Government under presidency of German Foreign Secretary. Inherent difficulties of Polish question together with its inseparable connection with economic problems had so far stood in way of final settlement.

In Caucasus, Turkey, under pressure of military necessity, had undoubtedly advanced further than was strictly permitted but after conference between Turkish and German General Staffs progress has been stopped. Independence of Georgia had been recognized by Germany and every effort would be made to promote friendly relations [Page 262] with this country. A conference for regulation of Caucasian questions will soon take place in Constantinople. No decision has yet been reached concerning Åland Islands but it is greatly to be hoped that they will not be used for military purposes. He praised attitude of Denmark, Switzerland and Holland, declared there was no prospect of Spain [veering] from her neutrality and said that German Government was doing its utmost to counteract influence of United States among American republics and to prevent any more of these from abandoning their neutrality.

As regards the Belgian question he evaded any direct declaration stating that Germany must decline to commit herself in advance to any policy which would bind her without in any way binding the enemy; he said however that he could answer for his Government in saying that it would not refuse to listen to any proposal for an honorable peace. No prediction could be made as to duration of war since in spite of successes of German arms enemy showed no inclination to come to terms. He saw no hope of ending the struggle so long as overtures from either side were denounced as peace traps. It was his opinion that vast scale of conflict made it impossible to reach decision by military means without diplomatic aid. Germany’s advantageous position in all respects permitted his saying this without fear of being misunderstood. He hoped enemy would soon abandon their illusions of victory and come forward with peace befitting the actual situation and satisfying the necessities of Germany’s existence.