File No. 763.72119/1391

The Minister in Sweden ( Morris) to the Secretary of State


1576. For Polk personally:

Referring to the [Legation’s] No. 1409, January 30, 1 p.m.1 Leube again saw me today. He prefaced his talk by giving me to understand that before he left Berlin on Saturday he had been in conversation with very high German officials and it was their desire that Leube give me the following information. Of course, as I cabled you before, they felt that this would be transmitted to you, although I have not told Leube this, nor have I entered into discussion on any of these matters with him.

Leube emphasizes the fact that he was told before he left Berlin that his Government, in principle, accepted the four points which were brought out in President Wilson’s last speech and stated that this would be made public today in a speech made by Chancellor Hertling. Leube particularly wished to bring out the fact that his friends in Berlin felt that if representatives of the various Governments could meet to discuss matters, much more could be accomplished towards bringing about peace than by the present system of public speeches and he even went so far as to say that they felt that peace might be brought about this way. In connection with this, he pointed out that they looked towards President Wilson as being by far the most important factor, wielding the most influence, and felt that if there was an understanding reached between Germany and President Wilson, this would undoubtedly be accepted [Page 140]by the other Allies who are now dependent on America in this war. However, there was some doubt in Leube’s mind as to what England’s position would be regarding the right of self-determination of nations and he questioned in this respect what would be their position regarding Ireland, Egypt, and India.

He further stated in this connection that the contemplated great offensive on the west front was being held in abeyance to see what result would be obtained from this speech of Hertling’s, affirming that the German Government accepted in principle the four points of Wilson’s speech. Leube stated the Emperor and his Government felt it their duty to avoid the great sacrifice of life which would be entailed on both sides by such an offensive if there was any possibility of coming to an understanding.

  1. Ante, p. 53.