862.00/346: Telegram

The Chargé in Denmark ( Grant-Smith ) to the Secretary of State

3187. The persons mentioned in my 31835 left today for Berlin. Last night I warned them that an impression prevailed in some quarters that Germans were giving an exaggerated impression of conditions in their country especially with regard to Bolshevikism and the food conditions in the hope of obtaining better terms; that the first great difficulty any new Government in Germany would have to contend with in foreign affairs was that from years of regrettable experience the Governments of the other peoples had come to regard with suspicion every declaration emanating from the constituted authorities at Berlin. I urged them to approach every question with the utmost frankness and no half truths. They realized this, they said, and suggested that a commission proceed to Germany to make a thorough investigation of conditions. I did not think the Associated Governments would care to take the initiative but promised to advise you of their intention to propose such an appeal immediately on their return to Berlin.

Such an investigation would evidently be the most practical means of learning the truth especially if carried on by persons possessing sound judgment and a thorough knowledge of German and Germany. I would suggest that each be sent immediately upon appointment. Individual investigations with some overlapping of territory would seem to promise better than a commission traveling as such. I venture to suggest Lithgow Osborne as one of our delegates. He would be prepared to leave without delay. The military attaché is telegraphing the War Department on similar lines. He also would be a useful member of such a commission, as would Owen.6 Copy to London.

  1. Not printed. The persons identified in this telegram were those described in the first paragraph of telegram No. 3182, Nov. 23, 1918, 8 p.m., p. 28.
  2. William H. Owen, War Trade Board representative at Stockholm.