File No. 763.72119/1396

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page) to the Secretary of State


8841. For the Secretary and the President:

In Mr. Balfour’s speech in the House of Commons last night on the recent speeches of Hertling and Czernin he said:1

I am convinced—and I beg the House to weigh my words—that to begin negotiations, unless you see your way to carrying them through successfully, would be to commit the greatest crime against the future peace of the world. Therefore it is that I have to differ from my hon. friend who spoke last. Therefore it is that while I long for the day when negotiations may really take place—negotiations which must be a preparation in bringing ideas closer together—much as I long for that day, I believe I should be doing an injury to the cause of peace, which is the cause I have at heart, the great cause I have at heart, if I were either to practice myself or to encourage others to practice, or to hope myself or to encourage others to hope, that there was any use in beginning those verbal personal communications, until something like a general agreement was apparent in the distance, and until statesmen of all countries concerned saw their way to the broad outlines of that great settlement which it is my most earnest hope will bring permanent peace to this sorely troubled world.

  1. The quotation hereunder, garbled in the telegram, has been edited to conform to the text printed in Parliamentary Debates—Commons—1918, vol. 103, p. 1474.