File No. 763.72119/1331
The Chargé in Switzerland ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 18, 6.42 a.m.]
2671. Vienna Arbeiter Zeitung, 13th: Wilson reply to Czernin and Hertling very opportune and to point. He speaks very calmly and in very friendly manner. Speech important step toward peace. Offer of negotiations by Czernin not refused. Wilson defined conditions peace and since he holds means towards making war his conditions will have to be carefully considered. He demands nothing for America and refuses to be tied any Entente territorial demands or act as arbiter. There is some truth in statement that German annexionists only obstacle to peace. His conditions can be accepted by Hertling and Czernin without doing violence to life interests of their peoples. We can not cross ocean and force America make peace which would change European balance power in our favor. It is now turn of statesmen Central Powers and theirs is responsibility to comply with Wilson’s demand and enter negotiation.
Vienna Neue Freie Presse, 13th: Wilson speaks kindly to Czernin and has been agreeably affected by Czernin’s offer, showing he is accessible to esteem shown him personally. President’s praise of Czernin for recognizing that ambitions Austrian nationalities must be satisfied for sake European peace due to error, for Czernin like all advisers of crown has several times categorically refused interference domestic affairs. If peace depended on theoretical principles Wilson’s speech it could be signed tomorrow. But in reality [Page 125] absolute justice impossible. Difficulties hindering agreement lessened by tone of speech but not removed. Waste of time to attempt sow discord between Germany and Austria whose alliance prevented war long time and will assure lasting peace. Wilson’s demand for settlement all war questions by general congress and rejection separate treaties is obstacle to negotiations. Military superiority of Entente has failed and numerical diplomatic superiority is to take its place. Wilson mocks Vienna Congress which assured forty years peace. Czernin knows answer to Wilson and will not fail to give it.