The Swiss Minister ( Sulzer ) to the Secretary of State
Sir: I am instructed by my Government to transmit to your Excellency, upon the request of the German Government, the following communication:5
“The following telegrams have been exchanged between Marshal Foch and the German Army High Command:
‘The French Army High Command to the German Army High Command, November 14, 1918, 4:15 p.m. From information which has reached the high command of the Allied forces, it appears that at various places, particularly in Belgium, and especially in the country lying around Brussels, the German troops have committed violences against the people and destruction and plundering have occurred—acts which are entirely contrary to the terms of the armistice. The High Command of the Allied Armies relies upon the High Command of the German Army to take without delay all measures tending to prevent a violation of the contents of the signed agreement. If those proceedings do not stop in a very short time the high command of the Allied forces will find itself under the obligation to issue orders with a view to bring these to an end.
‘To Marshal Foch: The German plenipotentiaries during the negotiations have always insisted in writing and orally in the most emphatic manner that the carrying out of the unheard of and technically unfeasible terms will be attended with unavoidable transgressions. The blame for these transgressions lies now and in future exclusively on the High Command of the Allies. The German High Command protests against the reproaches wrongfully made and again insists that further adherence to the methods employed up to now by the Allied High Command render impossible their measures for the protection of their own as well as the enemy people, and also the protection and care of their troops. It again urges that the armistice, yearned for by all peoples, be carried out in a spirit that does not exclude the observance of humaneness towards friend and foe. As to the fact itself, the German High Command wishes to remark that according to the information that it has gathered it is mostly a case of the populace committing excesses against the well-to-do classes and also against the German soldiers.
German High Command of the Army’
“The German Government begs leave to bring the foregoing to the knowledge of the President of the United States, and begs him to intervene towards giving a hearing to the dictates of humaneness.
- The following is a translation of the German text quoted by the Minister; the file translation has been revised. A translation was forwarded to the Embassy in Paris for Colonel House in Department’s telegram No. 6406, Nov. 25, 1918, 3 p.m. Another copy of this message was received direct from the German Secretary of State in the Foreign Office by wireless dated Nauen, Nov. 17.↩