File No. 763.72119/2251

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


5277. Andrássy has spent last few days in Switzerland and has endeavored through medium of Poles to obtain an audience with French Ambassador and British Minister. French Ambassador refused to receive him and British Minister did likewise on instructions from his Government. Andrássy saw only an unofficial agent of French Embassy to whom, as far as I know, he revealed nothing of urgent interest. He stated that he came on mission for Emperor Charles and that through loyalty to Emperor he was ready to present Austro-Hungarian views and not strictly his Government’s.

Today Jan Perlowski, Pole with whose name Department familiar, showed me a letter from Skrzynski, a Pole, Counsellor of Austrian Legation here, authorizing him to discuss the following matter with this Legation, a matter which had been discussed previously between Perlowski, Skrzynski, De Vaux, Chargé d’Affaires, and Count [Revertera]. The Emperor has been prevented from making a separate peace heretofore from feeling of loyalty to Germany, his word of honor being pledged. He now feels, however, that Germany, although accepting President’s conditions, is endeavoring to evade the consequences thereof as far as Alsace-Lorraine and Posen are concerned, and thus Charles feels that he is released from further military obligation as he cannot consent to abide strictly by acceptance of these principles. Emperor desires to request representatives here to discuss not acceptance of terms but application of terms to portions of Monarchy in order to ascertain how President interprets terms for different places in doubt. Emperor desires to send some one who has been consistently opposed to Prussian policy [who] would be acceptable and of Polish race, so has chosen Adam Tarnowski who was sent to America as Ambassador in 1917 and was subsequently ordered from Warsaw by German authorities after having been nominated President of Council.

Skrzynski stated he realized that Legation could not receive [Tarnowski] without authority from Washington [and credentials] proving him representative of Emperor and suggested that Tarnowski be received in unofficial capacity purely for information purposes, that information be wired to Washington; if satisfactory, Department could authorize conversations to proceed and Tarnowski could produce formal credentials as Emperor’s representative for peace discussion which would be provided him before he left Vienna.

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Burián’s position is so shaky he must resign shortly, when Andrássy will be appointed to succeed him, but Andrássy will not be sympathetic to idea of a Pole negotiating for Emperor and therefore would probably not authorize Tarnowski for this mission. If, however, Tarnowski previously authorized in view of his rank as Ambassador, Andrássy upon entering office could not interrupt or interfere with mission already in Paris. For this reason it was urged that I give my consent at once, without consulting Washington, to Tarnowski’s coming, with assurances that he would be received on his arrival in unofficial capacity as above mentioned.

I have informed Perlowski that for the present I cannot give such assurances. If Department desires me to do so, please address reply direct to American Legation, Berne, to save time. I cannot escape the conviction that Andrássy’s and Tarnowski’s trips here are directly related and that former’s failure is reason for endeavor of latter to open conversations. Austria is going rapidly to pieces and this may be last desperate effort to save prestige of Monarchy and prevent disintegration. I have strong impression that Austrians and Hungarians must be brought to realize that prompt unconditional and immediate capitulation is their only possible step. This will not be repeated to Paris unless I am so instructed.