File No. 763.72119/1914

The Secretary of State to the Swedish Minister ( Ekengren)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, dated September 16, communicating to me a note from the Imperial Government of Austria-Hungary, containing a proposal to the governments of all the belligerent states to send delegates to a confidential and unbinding discussion on the basic principles for the conclusion of peace. Furthermore it is proposed that the delegates would be charged to make known to one another the conception of their governments regarding those principles and to receive analogous communications, as well as to request and give frank and candid explanations on all those points which need to be precisely defined.

In reply I beg to say that the substance of your communication has been submitted to the President, who now directs me to inform [Page 310] you that the Government of the United States feels that there is only one reply which it can make to the suggestion of the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Government. It has repeatedly and with entire candor stated the terms upon which the United States would consider peace and can and will entertain no proposal for a conference upon a matter concerning which it has made its position and purpose so plain.

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing