File No. 763.72/11569

The Chargé in the Netherlands ( Bliss ) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram—Extract]

4595. German press summary:

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Vossische, 21st, quotes extract from pamphlet by Erzberger entitled The League of Nations the Way to Peace, which is soon to be published. Chapter quoted gives complete plan of league of nations under headings organization, laws: firstly, sovereignty of states comprising league; secondly, perpetually neutral states; thirdly, obligatory arbitration; fourthly, disarmament; fifthly, economic equality and open door; sixthly, freedom of world commerce: seventhly, colonies, executive powers. Erzberger submits plan for criticism stating it is draft with all faults of such and is intended to lead to counter proposals.

Vorwärts, 22d: Value of Erzberger’s book on league of nations is augmented by fact that author is not Socialist [but influential] member of great bourgeois party. Before this there were very few people in Germany outside Socialist Party who advocated league of nations. Despite differences of opinion on some details we are inclined to attach great value to Erzberger’s work. It forms pendant to writings of Gray, Henderson and Milhaud, and like them furnishes stones for structure of better future for mankind. Erzberger’s chapter on Belgium is particularly interesting. He declares quite openly that wrong in case in Belgium is on Germany’s side, that there can be no talk of any Belgian blame, and that Belgium could not act differently than she did. There is not particle of valid proof of intention on French side to cross frontier, on contrary it has been established by German side that French plan of mobilization didn’t provide march into Belgium. We can only add in confirmation of Erzberger’s views that at outbreak of war Belgian [Page 328] military authorities had orders to prevent by force 01 arms any violation of frontiers whether from German or French side. Case of Belgium is therefore absolutely clear and Germany should give up attempts to obscure it.

Tageblatt, 23d, prints interview given by Burián to Theodore Wolff 1 in which he comments on extraordinary haste with which Wilson replied to Austrian note. Burián says in conclusion:

[For the] moment my note has had one effect at least and that is that situation on opposing side has been clearly illuminated. It has permitted us to recognize many things that we perhaps suspected but could not see clearly. Although the success of opening the way to peace now has been denied by démarche, this will not prevent me from continuing on path taken. Naturally we shan’t take next step immediately but after certain interval as soon as suitable occasion presents itself and always in full agreement with our allies. But I believe we mustn’t remain inactive and permit time to pass unused.

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Bliss
  1. Editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tageblatt.