File No. 763.72119/1436

The Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

2781. Vienna press, March 1, reports excerpts from speech of Doctor Lammasch before Austrian Upper House, attacking address of Dr. Pattai who is said to represent in Austria principles of German Vaterlands Partei:

Never has Austria been as close to honourable peace as at present. Only danger threatening country is anarchy from east, but we cannot meet this danger in Russia or the Ukraine, but only by fighting it in our own country—by fulfilling people’s just desires, by giving nationalities right to self-government, and by giving peoples bread, peace, and an opportunity for quiet work.

It is the merit of Count Czernin that America is pretty obviously holding out a hand to us, perhaps not for peace, but at least for negotiations. Nothing prevents our grasping the outstretched hand. We could enter into negotiations with primary object of finding out war aims of opponents and of stating those of Central Powers. This result cannot be reached by public discussion, especially in case of Entente made up as it is of twelve different states with divergent interests. It will therefore be best, as German Chancellor hinted, to conduct negotiations not among all belligerents, but in a small committee where we can speak openly and clearly. It is obvious that we must keep faith with allies during negotiations. It would be ungrateful to leave allies in hour of danger, but hour of danger is past for them.

One should not draw parallel between Trieste and Strassburg. We have duty to defend Strassburg and assure possessions of German Empire, but are not obliged to defend present constitutional status of Alsace-Lorraine. If peace is possible on supposition that Alsace-Lorraine becomes autonomous federal state we have no reason to carry war further in order that provinces should remain imperial territory with Prussian administration. There are signs that opponents would be content with this concession. It is our duty also to give to single nations of Austria greater measure of self-government. In this way we would consolidate our situation. Nations have not shed their blood for “peace of victory”, but for lasting and sure peace based on reconciliation of nations. It is great merit of our Emperor that he has accepted principle of such peace as outlined by Pope. The last message of President Wilson did not touch territorial questions and America has not participated in political discussion at Versailles, because Wilson was not supporting imperialistic policy, especially of Italy. Regrettable that although conversation between Austria and America has its origin in Austria it was not carried on by Austria, but by German Empire. Last speech of Count Hertling great progress in direction of peace as is also Wilson’s last message.

Question now arises whether Austrian people can best secure its most sacred [possessions] by continuation of war or by making [Page 151]honourable peace. If America’s offer is now refused the war will last years. On one side is America which alone can make peace, on other Austria-Hungary led by our Emperor in whom all nations have confidence.

Vienna press reports that speech of Lammasch caused great disturbance in House and interruptions from all sides. When he said that Austria was not in duty bound to fight for present constitution status Alsace-Lorraine exclamations that speaker interfered in domestic affairs of Germany. At several places in Lammasch speech such excitement prevailed as has rarely shown itself in Upper House.

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Stovall