File No. 763.72119/2399

The Vice Consul at Zurich ( McNally) to the Secretary of State


President Wilson’s last note has made a favorable impression on the members of the Prisoner Exchange Commission now sitting at Berne, as well as on the German Minister there, and the terms of the note are now fully understood by them. They admit the necessity for the early abdication of the Kaiser and a complete change in the Constitution. Prince Hohenlohe, the leader of the German Commission, has sent a code telegram to the authorised statesmen urging that this action be taken immediately. The German Minister has telegraphed to the same effect.

Ludendorff influence on the Chancellor changed the tenor of the last German note. Thirty generals had been called by the Government to give to the War Cabinet full details of the military situation but because Ludendorff declared that it was a reflection on him and that if carried out he would resign, the order was countermanded. He is urging a national defence and when asked his reasons therefor, replied that they had sufficient materials to defend their frontier for four months during which time public sentiment [it] is expected would change.

The Kaiser has moved his headquarters to Homburg with his staff, all of whom hide true military conditions and the real sentiment of the people towards him. While the leaders of the Government realize that the Kaiser must abdicate, none among them have the courage to inform him. My [informant] says those at Legation are informed that if it is finally decided to depose the Kaiser or force his abdication their reply to the President’s note will be delayed [Page 419] to permit an amendment to their Constitution, for as it now reads the Crown Prince would automatically succeed to the throne. It is certain that their materials are practically exhausted.