The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received December 19, 1918—10:21 p.m.]
29. For Polk from Auchincloss. 4. Please deliver the following message to Tumulty from the President.[Page 215]
The President has made the following arrangements with respect to the handling of our newspaper publicity while he is in Europe: Maximilian Foster is to act as liaison officer between the President and the newspaper men. He is to give out all announcements respecting the plans of the President and the Commission and all routine or special news items. Each morning at 10:30 the four members of the Commission, other than the President, are to meet all the newspaper men in one room and at that time be questioned by them. The President has designated Ray Stannard Baker to act with the newspaper men as the interpreter of the American position at the Conference, to handle the publicity of the Commission and to reflect the general spirit and purposes of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. Creel is to have charge of the dissemination and spreading broadcast throughout the world [outside?] the United States of all publicity given out by the Commission. It will be the policy of the Commissioners to be very frank with the newspaper men and to give them as much information as is practicable trusting to their discretion in not publishing any information that would cause trouble or that would be indiscreet in any way. It is impossible for us over here to know whether newspaper men are respecting our confidence or not. We have no way of telling whether they publish information which was given them simply as “a steer” and not for publication. The President wishes you to keep a close lookout on the American press and to cable him freely exactly what the tone of the press is and whether any particular papers are acting in an indiscreet way. He also wishes you from time to time to make any suggestions that may occur to you to assist us in our work with the newspaper men.