File No. 763.72119/8185

The Chargé in Switzerland ( Wilson) to the Secretary of State


2694. Department’s 1500, February 15, 11 p.m.,1 was decoded personally by me.

Lammasch has no agent in Switzerland and I hesitated to confide this message to any neutral. It was therefore imperative to confide it only to a person of confidence who could deliver the message secretly, orally and unofficially to Lammasch in Vienna. I therefore summoned York-Steiner, an Austrian who often calls at the Legation in connection with the sale of the vessels of the Austro-American Line to Phelps Brothers. He is a close friend and warm admirer of Lammasch and a disciple of his in political matters. He is known personally to Grew in the Department and has always been found worthy of confidence both by the former Embassy at Vienna and this Legation; furthermore he is an ardent admirer of President Wilson, an opponent of German domination in Austria, and has come to Switzerland to devote himself to furtherance of mutual understanding between Austria and the United States.

I asked him whether he could proceed to Vienna on a confidential mission of benefit to his country. He replied that he could proceed as soon as the necessary three days of passport formalities had elapsed. I told him to obtain the necessary visé and then return to me. He returned on the 19th instant, having obtained permission to visit Vienna on the ground of his desire to bring his daughter back to Switzerland, a reason which really exists and a mission which he will accomplish.

I then delivered your message which he repeated to me in exact wording. He expressed himself as profoundly moved by this opportunity to be of service to his country and assured me that having [Page 130] delivered his message he would wipe it from his memory. He has arranged to inform me by a harmless telegram to his wife on Tuesday, who will know nothing of its import, when message has been delivered.1

Dulles2 and I are ciphering this message and matter is known to no one else.

  1. Ante, p. 119.
  2. In his telegram No. 2722, Feb. 25, noon, the Chargé reported: “The telegram agreed upon has been received, indicating that message has been delivered to Lammasch.” (File No. 763.72119/8172.)
  3. Allen W. Dulles, Second Secretary of the Legation.