File No. 763.72119/1371
The Vice Consul at Zürich ( McNally ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 24, 1918, 3.55 a.m.]
The wife of a German general is responsible for the statement that Count Hertling recently said to her: “My hands are out towards President Wilson in his peace efforts and my Government will, in furtherance of this desire, agree to vacate all enemy territory now occupied by ourselves including Belgium which will be handed back without any reservation whatever. In return we shall expect to hold and to have returned to Germany all territory held by her [Page 132] before this war and that we will under no circumstances entertain possibility of relinquishing Alsace-Lorraine to France.”
The lady gave it as her opinion that if Germany became hard pressed she might agree to converting Alsace-Lorraine into an independent state similar to Bavaria and Württemberg. It is reported by the same person that Conrad Haussmann, member of the German Reichstag, who recently has returned to Germany from Switzerland, there declared that he had had a conversation with Professor Herron of Geneva in which the latter had said to him as a representative of President Wilson that unless Germany was ready to return Alsace-Lorraine to France the United States would not enter peace negotiations of any kind with Germany. Is Professor Herron a representative in Switzerland of President Wilson?