File No. 763.72/10618

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


3365. German press comment on President’s speech.

Tageblatt, 6th: Wilson’s four conditions are again couched in language distinguishing war aims statements of statesmen of today. They are vague and obscure making it difficult to guess what speaker means. First condition might be construed as wish for limitation of armaments, which we share. The second reverts to right of self-determination, excludes annexations and oppression, and might therefore be subscribed to by all who do not wish annexations or oppressions. There is no objection whatever to third condition either, which speaks of restoration of right. The fourth condition demands peace organization and arbitration court, which demand is advocated by German majority parties also. Thus, there is nothing in Wilson’s conditions to prevent world from concluding peace, yet Wilson talks of life or death struggle. He should know Germany is very much alive and has strong vitality.

Vorwärts, 6th: Speeches of Wilson and Churchill cannot serve peace. They both make condition of decisive military victory to which presumption German people has but one reply. All assurances that justice will be done Germany after she is conquered cannot be accepted by those who know history and the nature of justice shown by victors towards helpless vanquished. The assurance that war is against government, not people, has been given countless times, but never prevented conquered people from having to atone for government in the end. If Wilson proclaims life and death struggle, nobody can expect German people to accept death voluntarily. German people have no choice but resolute defensive in struggle until adversaries also become convinced that not final victory but only accommodation affords possibility of flourishing future of [world].

Frankfurter Zeitung, 6th: Wilson’s conditions are so general that not much can be done with them for real termination of war, which must proceed from existing situation. Naturally there is hidden meaning behind Wilson’s sentences which operates against Germany, but if these fine principles are sincerely meant, they imply removal of unduly advantageous position of Entente countries as well as Central Powers, thus America’s privileged position in Cuba, Porto Rico, Philippines, France’s position in Morocco, and England’s in India, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Turkey. If, however, Wilson means that these privileged positions must remain and become permanent, his ideal demands are shown to have sole object of having the permanent [Page 276] fettering of Germany outwardly adapted to the principles of justice and freedom which Entente leaders continually preach.

Morgenpost, 6th: Wilson still owes reply to Hertling’s speech accepting four points of Wilson’s earlier program. If Wilson were really concerned in bringing about just, lasting peace, he should have entertained Hertling’s reply and found out whether peace was possible on his terms at that time.

Germania, 5th: Headlines, “Wilson’s minimum war aim is our reduction to actual impotence.”

Kölnische Zeitung, 5th: This speech is new edition of familiar phrases showing Wilson’s complete ignorance of Europe and the real world. One might be tempted to think, if one assumes he is more able than he really is, that his speech was veiled reprimand for his English ally.

Kölnische Volkszeitung, 5th: The Czar of reactionary America presumes again to preach Anglo-Saxon world lie of freedom and democracy. Hypocrisy and brutality, thy name is Wilson. Europe must continue to wade through sea of blood to augment vast fortunes of trust kings and satisfy Yankee lust for political and economic world domination.