The Swiss Minister ( Sulzer ) to the Secretary of State
Sir: By direction of my Government, I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency the following communication from the German Government to the Government of the United States:2
“For the purpose of bringing about universal peace, of insuring lasting guarantees against future wars and of restoring the peoples’ confidence in one another, it seems imperatively necessary to throw light on the events which brought on the war, in all the belligerent States and in all their particulars. A complete truthful account of the world conditions and of the negotiations among the powers in July 1914 and of the steps taken at that time by the several Governments could and would go far toward demolishing the walls of hatred and misconstruction erected by the long war to separate the peoples. In a correct appreciation of the course taken by friend and foe lies the augury for the future reconciliation of the peoples, the one possible foundation for lasting peace and a league of peoples.
The German Government therefore proposes that a neutral Commission be organized to probe the responsibilities for the war, which should be composed of men whose character and political experience will guarantee a true verdict. The Governments of all the belligerent powers should declare their readiness to place at the disposal of such a Commission all of their records. The Commission should have the power to examine every person who at the outbreak of the [Page 72] war presided over the destinies of the several countries and also all witnesses whose deposition could be of consequence in establishing the proof.
- The following is a translation of the German text quoted by the Minister. A translation of the message was repeated to the Commission to Negotiate Peace, for Colonel House, as Department’s telegram No. 172, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.↩