The Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin ) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received 10:14 p.m.]
4555. Your 6913, March 16, 6 p.m.8 and see telegram 770, December 11th from military attaché to Mil-Staff.
Side by side with reports from the United States of the enthusiastic celebration of “Britannia’s Day” throughout the country, the London press of the 9th instant, prints articles from their American correspondents on what they state to be the President’s insistence on the so-called American doctrine of the freedom of the seas and the determination of the United States to reply to any reluctance on the part of Great Britain to fall in with our views by an outbuilding program of at least two keels to one. Articles of this nature which are not the product of the imagination of the Washington and New York correspondents of newspapers such as the Times and the Morning Post, but are based on utterances of the American press are in the highest degree mischievous. They are tending to stir up feeling in both countries on a subject which need not be controversial, and to increase the complexities of the peace settlement. Opinion in this country is uniformly sensitive on anything that has to do with policy touching the sea, and is especially quick to take unreasoning fright at any such project not clearly defined. It would be greatly to our advantage if the comment of the responsible American press on this subject could be minimized until after the President has had an opportunity to express himself to the members of the Allied Governments he will meet in Europe. There is a very uneasy and even ominous feeling growing here largely based on misapprehension, I am convinced, which has arisen only during the past few weeks chiefly from inopportune and uninstructed American comment.
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- Not printed.↩