File No. 763.72119/8983
The Special Representative ( House ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 7.05 p.m.]
9. For the President:
It is my intention to tell Prime Ministers today that if their conditions of peace are essentially different from the points you have laid down and for which the American people have been fighting, that you will probably feel obliged to go before Congress and state the new conditions and ask their advice as to whether the United States shall continue to fight for the aims of Great Britain, France and Italy.
The last thing they want is publicity and they do not wish it to appear that there is any cause for difference between the Allies. Unless we deal with these people with a firm hand everything we have been fighting for will be lost.[Page 424]
I told the British privately you anticipate that their policy would lead to the establishment of the greatest naval program by the United States that the world had ever seen. I did not believe that the United States would consent for any [power] to interpret for them the rules under which American commerce could traverse the sea. I would suggest that you quietly diminish the transport of troops giving as an excuse the prevalence of influenza or any other reason but the real one. I would also suggest a little later that you begin to gently shut down upon money, food and raw material. I feel confident that we should play a strong hand and if it meets with your approval I will do it in the gentle and friendly [way] almost certain [to prevail?].