862.01/24: Telegram

Colonel E. M. House to the Secretary of State

206. Your number 64, November 25, 9[5] p.m. The French Minister for Foreign Affairs makes following reply to the President’s suggestion. French text translated:

“In thanking you for this interesting suggestion, I believe it my duty to mention the reason[s] which seem to me after reflection to make it advisable at least to adjourn such an initiative if not to renounce it altogether. In the first place it would constitute a direct intervention in the internal policy of another country and this is in itself already contrary to the practices of great democracies which profess an absolute respect for the internal life of other states. Moreover we must note, looking at the matter from a practical point of view, that the centralizing tendency which was that of Prussia and which created the dangerous situation from which the war issued, begins to be strongly menaced by the autonomous and federal tendency of other states notably of Bavaria. By exercising political pressure such as suggested, we would run the risk of arresting a movement favorable to the reorganization of a pacific Germany. Finally, such action seems precipitate; the armistice signed by Germany has not yet been completely executed and the delay allowed will not expire until the 17th of December. This armistice in spite of a certain number of violations continues nevertheless to be executed along its broad outlines. We would run the risk of coming to the aid of the enemy [Page 107] by intervening in his internal organization and thus contracting a sort of engagement before the essential act, destined to assure indispensable guarantees against the resumption of hostilities, shall have been terminated. For all these reasons while appreciating the interest of your suggestion, I do not believe that it responds to the present factors of the situation.”

Edward House