My Four Years in Germany
James W. Gerard

Part 3 out of 6

But while the British permitted our Embassy in Paris to inspect
the prisoners of war at Havre, the Germans for months refused
to allow me permission to send anyone to inspect those British
prisoners at Libau.

Cases came to my attention where individual corps commanders
on their own initiative directed punitive measures against the
prisoners of war in their districts, on account of the rumours
of the bad treatment of German citizens in England. Thus the
commander in the district where the camp of Doeberitz was situated
issued an order directing reprisals against prisoners under his
command on account of what he claimed to be the bad treatment
of German women in England. It required constant vigilance to
seek out instances of this kind and cause them to be remedied.

I did not find the Germans at all efficient in the handling of
prisoners of war. The authority was so divided that it was hard
to find who was responsible for any given bad conditions. For
instance, for a long period of time I contended with the German
authorities for better living conditions at the civilian camp of
Ruhleben. I was promised time and again by Colonel Friedrich,
by the camp commander and by the Foreign

Office that these conditions would be remedied. In that camp men
of education, men in delicate health, were compelled to sleep
and live six in a box stall or so closely that the beds touched
each other in hay-lofts, the outside walls of which were only
four feet high.

I finally almost in despair wrote identical personal letters,
after having exhausted all ordinary diplomatic steps, to General
von Kessel, Commander of the Mark of Brandenburg, to the commander
of the corps district in which the Ruhleben camp was situated,
and to the Minister of War: and the only result was that each
of the officers addressed claimed that he had been personally
insulted by me because I had presumed to call his attention to
the inhuman conditions under which the prisoners were compelled
to live in the Ruhleben camp.

The commander of this civilian camp of Ruhleben was a very handsome
old gentleman, named Count Schwerin. His second in command for
a long time was a Baron Taube. Both of these officers had been
long retired from the army and were given these prison commands
at the commencement of the war. Both of them were naturally
kind-hearted but curiously sensitive and not always of even temper.
On the whole I think that they sympathised with the prisoners
and did their best to obtain a bettering of the conditions of
their confinement. The prisoners organised themselves in their
various barracks, each barrack having a captain of the barrack,
the captains electing one of their number as a camp captain or

The man who finally appeared as head man of the camp was an
ex-cinematograph proprietor, named Powell. In my mind he, assisted
by Beaumont and other captains, conducted the affairs of the camp
as well as possible, given the difficulty of dealing with the
prisoners on one hand and the prison authorities on the other
hand. Naturally he was always subject to opposition from many
prisoners, among whom those of aristocratic tendencies objected
to being under the control of one not of the highest caste in
Great Britain; and there were others who either envied him his
authority or desired his place. The camp authorities allowed
Powell to visit the Embassy at least once a week and in that
way I was enabled, to keep in direct touch with the camp. At
two periods during my stay in Berlin I spent enough days at the
camp to enable every prisoner who had a complaint of any kind
to present it personally to me.

The organisation of this camp was quite extraordinary. I found
it impossible to get British prisoners to perform the ordinary
work of cleaning up the camp, and so forth, always expected of
prisoners themselves; and so, with the funds furnished me from
the British Government, the camp captain was compelled to pay a
number of the poorer prisoners to perform this work. Secretaries
Ruddock and Kirk of our Embassy undertook the uninteresting and
arduous work of superintending these payments as well as of our
other financial affairs. This work was most trying and they deserve
great credit for their self-denial. By arrangement with the British
Government, I was also enabled to pay the poorer prisoners an
allowance of five marks a week, thus permitting them to buy little
luxuries and necessities and extra food at the camp canteen which
was early established in the camp. I also furnished the capital to
the camp canteen, enabling it to make its purchases and carry on
its business. In this establishment everything could be purchased
which was purchasable in Germany, and for months after the
commencement of the war articles of luxury were sold at a profit
and articles of food sold at a loss for the benefit of those
who required an addition to the camp diet. There was a street
in the camp of little barracks or booths which the prisoners
christened Bond Street, and where many stores were in operation
such as a tailor shop, shoe-maker's, watch-maker's, etc. Acting
with Powell, I succeeded in getting the German authorities to
turn over the kitchens to the prisoners. Four of the prisoners
who did most excellent self-denying work in these kitchens deserve
to be specially mentioned. They were Ernest L. Pyke, Herbert.
Kasmer, Richard H. Carrad and George Fergusson.

The men in this camp subsisted to a great extent upon the packages
of food sent to them from England. Credit must be given to the
German authorities for the fairly prompt and efficient delivery
of the packages of food sent from England, Denmark and Switzerland
to prisoners of war in all camps.

In Ruhleben the educated prisoners volunteered to teach the ignorant:
two hundred and ninety-seven different educational courses were
offered to those who desired to improve their minds. A splendid
orchestra was organised, a dramatic society which gave plays in
French and one which gave plays in English and another one which
gave operas. On New Year's day, 1916, I attended at Ruhleben do
really wonderful performance of the pantomime of "Cinderella";
and, in January, 1917, a performance of "The Mikado" in a theatre
under one of the grand stands. In these productions, of course,
the female parts were taken by young men and the scenery, costumes
and accessories were all made by the prisoners. There was a camp
library of over five thousand volumes sent over by the British
Government and a reading and meeting hall, erected by the American
Y. M. C. A. There was even a system of postal service with special
stamps so that a prisoner in one barrack could write to a friend in
another and have a letter delivered by the camp postal authorities.
The German authorities had not hired the entire race track from
the Race Track Association so that I made a special contract
with the race track owners and hired from them the in-field and
other portions not taken over by German authorities. Here the
prisoners had tennis courts and played hockey, foot-ball and
cricket and held athletic games. Expert dentists in the camp
took care of the poorer prisoners as did an oculist hired by me
with British funds, and glasses were given them from the same

The prisoners who needed a little better nourishment than that
afforded by the camp diet and their parcels from England, could
obtain cards giving them the right to eat in the Casino or camp
official restaurant where they were allowed a certain indicated
amount of wine or beer with their meals, and finally arrangements
were arrived at by which the German guards left the camp, simply
guarding it from the outside; and the policing was taken over
by the camp police department, under the charge of the prison
camp commander and committee. The worst features, of course,
were the food and housing. Human nature seems always to be the
same. Establishment of clubs seems inherent to the Anglo-Saxon
nature. Ten or more persons would combine together and erect a
sort of wooden shed against the brick walls of a barrack, hire
some poorer person to put on a white jacket and be addressed as
"steward," put in the shed a few deck chairs and a table and
enjoy the sensation of exclusiveness and club life thereby given.

Owing to the failure of Germany and Great Britain to come to an
agreement for a long time as to the release of captured crews
of ships, there were in Ruhleben men as old as seventy-five years
and boys as young as fifteen. There were in all between fifty and
sixty of these ships' boys. They lived in a barrack by themselves
and under the supervision of a ship's officer who volunteered to
look after them as sort of a monitor. They were taught navigation
by the older prisoners and I imagine were rather benefited by their
stay in the camp. I finally made arrangements by which these boys
were released from England and Germany. With the exception of
the officers and crews of the ships, prisoners were not interned
who were over fifty-five.

The British Government was generous in the allowance of money for
Ruhleben prisoners. The amount allowed by the German Government to
the camp commanders for feeding the prisoners was extremely small,
only sixty pfennigs a day. At first many of the camp commanders
made contracts with caterers for the feeding of the prisoners
and as the caterers' profit had to come out of this very small
sum the amount of food which the remainder purchased for the
prisoners was small indeed. As the war went on the prisoners'
department of the war office tried to induce the camp commanders to
abandon the contractors' system and purchase supplies themselves.
A sort of convention of camp commanders was held in Berlin which I
attended. Lectures were there given on food and its purchase, and
methods of disinfecting prisoners, on providing against typhus,
and on housing and other subjects. A daily lunch was served,
supposed to be composed of the exact rations given at the prison

The schedules of food, etc., made out by the camp commanders
and furnished to foreign correspondents were often not followed
in practice. I know on one occasion when I was at the camp at
Doeberitz, the camp commander gave me his schedule of food for
the week. This provided that soup with pieces of meat was to be
given on the day of my visit, but on visiting the camp kitchen I
found that the contractor was serving fish instead of meat. Some
of the camp commanders not only treated their prisoners kindly but
introduced manufactures of furniture, etc., to help the prisoners
to pass their time. The camps of Krossen and Gottingen deserve
special mention. At Giessen, the camp commander had permitted
the erection of a barrack in which certain prisoners who were
electrical experts gave lessons in electrical fitting, etc.,
to their fellow prisoners. There was also a studio in this camp
where prisoners with artistic talent were furnished with paints
and allowed to work. As more and more people were called to the
front in Germany, greater use was made of the prisoners, and in
the summer of 1916 practically all the prisoners were compelled
to work outside of the camps. They were paid a small extra sum
for this, a few cents a day, and as a rule were benefited by the
change of scene and occupation. The Russians especially became
very useful to the Germans as agricultural laborers.

Professor Alonzo E. Taylor of the University of Pennsylvania,
a food expert, and Dr. D. J. McCarthy, also of Philadelphia,
joined my staff in 1916 and proved most efficient and fearless
inspectors of prison camps. Dr. Taylor could use the terms calories,
proteins, etc., as readily as German experts and at a greater
rate of speed. His report showing that the official diet of the
prisoners in Ruhleben was a starvation diet incensed the German
authorities to such fury that they forbade him to revisit Ruhleben.
Professor Buckhaus, the German expert, agreed with him in some of
his findings. I do not know what will happen to the Professor,
who seemed willing to do his best for the prisoners. He wrote a
booklet on the prison camps which he asked permission to dedicate
to me, but the War Office, which published the book, refused
to allow him to make this dedication. It was a real pleasure
to see the way in which Dr. Taylor carried on his work of food
inspection; and his work, as well as that of the other doctors
sent from America to join my staff, Drs. Furbush, McCarthy, Roler,
Harns, Webster and Luginbuhl, did much to better camp conditions.

Dr. Caldwell, the sanitary expert, known for his great work in
Serbia, now I believe head of the hospital at Pittsburgh, reported
in regard to the prison diet: "While of good quality and perhaps
sufficient in quantity by weight, it is lacking in the essential
elements which contribute to the making of a well-balanced and
satisfactory diet. It is lacking particularly in fat and protein
content which is especially desirable during the colder months
of the year. There is considerable doubt whether this diet alone
without being supplemented by the articles of food received by
the prisoners from their homes would in any way be sufficient
to maintain the prisoners in health and strength."

Dr. Caldwell also visited Wittenberg and found the commander by
temperament, and so on, unfitted for such a position.

The Germans, as Dr. Taylor has pointed out, tried to feed prisoners
on schedule like horses. There is, however, a nervous discrimination
in eating so far as man is concerned; and a diet, scientifically
fitted to keep him alive, may fail because of its mere monotony.

Think of living as the prisoners of war in Germany have for years,
without ever having anything (except black bread) which cannot
be eaten with a spoon.

Officer prisoners were, after matters had settled down and after
several bitter contests which I had with the German authorities,
fairly well treated. There was, as in the case of the camps for
the privates, a great difference between camps, and a great
difference between camp commanders. Mr. Jackson did most of the
visiting of the officers' camps. In many camps the officers were
allowed a tennis court and other amusements, as well as light
wine or beer at meals, but the length of the war had a bad effect
on the mental condition of many of the officers.

A great step forward was made when arrangements were entered
into between Germany and Great Britain whereby wounded and sick
officers and men, when passed by the Swiss Commission which visited
both countries, were sent to Switzerland; sent still as prisoners
of war, subject to return to Germany or England respectively, but
the opportunity afforded by change of food and scene, as well as
reunion of families, saved many a life. By arrangements between
the two countries, also, the severely wounded prisoners were set
free. I believe that this exchange of the heavily wounded between
the Germans and the Russians was the factor which prevented the
entrance of Sweden into the war. These wounded men traversed the
whole length of Sweden in the railway, and the spectacle afforded
to the Swedish population of these poor stumps of humanity, victims
of war, has quite effectually kept the Swedish population from
an attack of unnecessary war fever.

Officers and men who tried to escape were not very severely punished
in Germany unless they had broken or stolen something in their
attempt. Officers were usually subjected to a jail confinement
for a period and then often sent to a sort of punitive camp.
Such a camp was situated in one of the Ring forts surrounding
the city of Kustrin which I visited in September, 1916. There
the officers had no opportunity for exercise except in a very
small courtyard or on the roof, which was covered with grass, of
the building in which they were confined. I arranged, however,
on my visit for the construction of a tennis court outside. The
British officers in Germany practically subsisted on their parcels
received from home, and during the end of my stay a much better
tea could be had with the prison officers than with the camp
commander. The prisoners had real tea and marmalade and white
bread to offer, luxuries which had long since disappeared from all
German tables. On the whole, the quarters given to the officers'
prisons in Germany were not satisfactory, and were not of the
kind that should have been offered to officer prisoners of war.

At the time I left Germany there were nearly two million prisoners
of war in the Empire, of whom about ten thousand were Russian
officers, nine thousand French officers and about one thousand
British officers.

As a rule our inspectors found the hospitals, where the prisoners
of war were, in as good condition as could be expected.

I think this was largely due to the fact that so many doctors
in Germany are Jews. The people who are of the Jewish race are
people of gentle instincts. In these hospitals a better diet
was given to the prisoners. There were, of course, in addition
to the regular hospitals, hospitals where the severely wounded
prisoners were sent. Almost uniformly these hospitals were clean
and the prisoners were well taken care of.


At Ruhleben there was a hospital which in spite of many
representations was never in proper shape. In addition, there
was in the camp a special barrack established by the prisoners
themselves for the care of those who were so ill or so weak as
to require special attention but who were not ill enough to be
sent to the hospital. This barrack was for a long time in charge
of a devoted gentleman, a prisoner, whose name I have unfortunately
forgotten, but whose self-sacrifice deserves special mention.

I arranged with the camp authorities and the German authorities
for permission to enter into a contract with Dr. Weiler. Under
this contract Dr. Weiler, who had a sanatorium in the West of
Berlin, received patients from Ruhleben. Those who were able paid
for themselves, the poorer ones being paid for by the British
Government. This sanatorium, occupied several villas. I had many
disputes with Dr. Weiler, but finally managed to get this sanatorium
in such condition that the prisoners who resided there were fairly
well taken care of.

An arrangement was made between Great Britain and Germany by
which civilians unfit for military service were sent to their
respective countries, and just before I left I effected an
arrangement by which all civilians over forty-five years old,
with the exception of twenty who might be held by each country
for military reasons, were to be released. I do not know whether
this arrangement was actually carried out in full. With the lapse
of time the mental condition of the older prisoners in Ruhleben
had become quite alarming. Soldier prisoners, when they enter the
army, are always in good physical condition and enter with the
expectation of either being killed or wounded or taken prisoner,
and have made their arrangements accordingly. But these unfortunate
civilian prisoners were often men in delicate health, and all
were in a constant state of great mental anxiety as to the fate
of their business and their enterprises and their families. In
1916, not only Mr. Grafton Minot, who for some time had devoted
himself exclusively to the Ruhleben prisoners, but also Mr. Ellis
Dresel, a distinguished lawyer of Boston, who had joined the
Embassy as a volunteer, took up the work. Mr. Dresel visited
Ruhleben almost daily and by listening to the stories and complaints
of the prisoners materially helped their mental condition.

The Germans collected all the soldier prisoners of Irish nationality
in one camp at Limburg not far from Frankfurt a. M. These efforts
were made to induce them to join the German army. The men were
well treated and were often visited by Sir Roger Casement who,
working with the German authorities, tried to get these Irishmen
to desert their flag and join the Germans. A few weaklings were
persuaded by Sir Roger who finally discontinued his visits, after
obtaining about thirty recruits, because the remaining Irishmen
chased him out of the camp.

I received information of the shooting of one prisoner, and although
the camp authorities had told Dr. McCarthy that the investigation
had been closed and the guard who did the shooting exonerated,
nevertheless, when I visited the camp in order to investigate, I
was told that I could not do so because the matter of the shooting
was still under investigation. Nor was I allowed to speak to those
prisoners who had been witnesses at the time of the shooting.
I afterwards learned that another Irishman had been shot by a
guard on the day before my visit, and the same obstacles to my
investigation were drawn about this case.

The Irishmen did not bear confinement well, and at the time of
my visit among them many of them were suffering from tuberculosis
in the camp hospital. They seemed also peculiarly subject to
mental breakdowns. Two devoted Catholic priests, Father Crotty
and a Brother Warren from a religious house in Belgium, were
doing wonderful work among these prisoners.

The sending out of the prisoners of war to work throughout Germany
has had one very evil effect. It has made it to the financial
advantage of certain farmers and manufacturers to have the war
continued. The Prussian land owners or Junkers obtain four or
five times as much for their agricultural products as they did
before the war and have the work on their farms performed by
prisoners of war to whom they are required to pay only six cents
a day. When the _Tageblatt_ called attention to this it was
suppressed for several days.

At many of these so-called working camps our inspectors were
refused admission on the ground that they might learn trade or
war secrets. They succeeded, however, in having the men sent
outside in order that they might inspect them and hear their
complaints. There were in Germany about one hundred central camps
and perhaps ten thousand or more so-called working camps, in
summer time, throughout the country. Some of the British prisoners
were put to work on the sewage farm of Berlin but we succeeded
in getting them sent back to their parent camp.

The prisoners of war were often accused of various breaches of
discipline and crimes. Members of the Embassy would attend these
trials, and we endeavoured to see that the prisoners were properly
represented. But the Germans often refused us an opportunity
to see the prisoners before their trial, or even before their
execution. The case of Captain Fryatt is in point.

Captain Fryatt who commanded a British merchant ship was captured
and taken to the civilian camp at Ruhleben. In searching him the
Germans claimed that he wore a watch presented to him for an
attempt to ram a German submarine. They, therefore, took Fryatt
from the Ruhleben camp and sent him to Bruges for trial. When I
heard of this I immediately sent two formal notes to the German
Foreign Office demanding the right to see Fryatt and hire counsel
to represent him, inquiring what sort of counsel would be permitted
to attend the trial and asking for postponement of the trial
until these matters could be arranged. The German Foreign Office
had informed me that they had backed up these requests and I
believe them, but the answer of the German admiralty to my notes
was to cause the trial to proceed the morning after the day on
which my notes were delivered and to shoot Fryatt before noon
of the same day.

As to the evidence regarding the watch, the British Foreign Office
learned that, when captured, Captain Fryatt had neither a watch
nor any letter to indicate that he had tried to ram a submarine!

This cruel and high-handed outrage caused great indignation in
England, and even in certain circles in Germany; and the manner
in which my request was treated was certainly a direct insult
to the country which I represented. In conversation with me,
Zimmermann and the Chancellor and von Jagow all expressed the
greatest regret over this incident, which shows how little control
the civilian branch of the government has over the military in
time of war. Later on, when similar charges were made against
another British sea captain, the Foreign Office, I think through
the influence of the Emperor, was able to prevent a recurrence
of the Fryatt outrage.

As I have said, many of the camp commanders in Germany were men,
excellent and efficient and kind hearted, who did what they could
for the prisoners. It is a pity that these men should bear the
odium which attaches to Germany because of the general bad treatment
of prisoners of war in the first days of the war, and because
certain commanders of prison camps were not fitted for their

The commander at the camp at Wittenberg was replaced, but the
Germans have never acknowledged that bad conditions had existed
in that camp. Shortly before we left Germany the war department
seemed to gain more control of the prisoners of war situation,
and on our representations at least one camp commander was
permanently relieved. If examples had been made early in the
war of the camp commanders who were not fit for their places
and of those who had in any way mishandled prisoners of war, the
German people as a whole would not have had to bear the burden
of this odium. The many prisoners will return to their homes
with a deep and bitter hatred of all things German.

The British Government took a great interest in the British prisoners
in Germany. Nothing was omitted and every suggestion made by me
was immediately acted on; while many most valuable hints were
given me from London as to prisoners' affairs. Their Majesties,
the King and Queen, showed a deep personal concern in the welfare
of the unfortunate British in German hands; and this concern
never flagged during the period of my stay in Berlin. Lord Robert
Cecil and Lord Newton were continually working for the benefit
of British prisoners.

At a time when the British prisoners were without proper clothing,
the British Government sent me uniforms, overcoats, etc., and I
hired a warehouse in Berlin as a distributing point; but, after
some months, the German authorities refused to allow me to continue
this method of distribution on the ground that it was the duty
of Germany to provide the prisoners with clothes. But Germany
was not performing this duty and the British prisoners had to
suffer because of this German official woodenheadedness.

In the spring of 1916, quite characteristically, the Germans
broke their "treaty" concerning visits to prisoners, and refused
to permit us to speak to prisoners out of hearing. Von Jagow
told me that this was because of the trouble made among Russian
prisoners by the visits of Madam Sazonoff, but this had nothing
to do with the arrangement between Great Britain and Germany.

I think that the Germans suspected that I had learned from fellow
prisoners of the cruel and unnecessary shooting of two Irish
prisoners at Limburg. It was not from prisoners, however, that
I obtained this information. but from Germans who wrote to me.

In addition to the English and Japanese, I had the protection
of the Serbian and Roumanian subjects and the protection of the
interests of a very small country, the Republic of San Marino.
Soon after the Serbians and Roumanians appeared in the prison
camps of Germany we made reports on the condition and treatment
of these prisoners, as well as reports concerning the British.

I was able to converse with some Serbians, in the first days
of the war, in their native tongue, which, curiously enough,
was Spanish. Immediately after the persecution of the Jews in
Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella and other monarchs, a number of
Spanish Jews emigrated to Serbia where they have remained ever
since, keeping their old customs and speaking the old Spanish
of the time of Cervantes.

The German authorities, in the most petty manner, often concealed
from me the presence of British prisoners, especially civilians,
in prison camps. For a long time I was not informed of the presence
of British civilians in Sennelager and it was only by paying
a surprise visit by motor to the camp at Brandenburg that I
discovered a few British, the crew of a trawler, there. It was
on information contained in an anonymous letter, evidently from
the wife of some German officer, that I visited Brandenburg where
the crew of this trawler, deprived of money, were without any of
the little comforts or packages that mitigate life in a German
prison camp.



At the commencement of the war for some days I was cut off from
communication with the United States; but we soon established a
chain of communication, at first through Italy and later by way
of Denmark. At all times cables from Washington to Berlin, or
_vice_versa_, took, on the average, two days in transmission.

After the fall of Liege, von Jagow sent for me and asked me if
I would transmit through the American Legation a proposition
offering Belgium peace and indemnity if no further opposition
were made to the passage of German troops through Belgium. As the
proposition was a proposition for peace, I took the responsibility
of forwarding it and sent the note of the German Government to
our Minister at the Hague for transmission to our Minister in

Dr. Van Dyke, our Minister at the Hague, refused to have anything
to do with the transmission of this proposition and turned the
German note over to the Holland Minister for Foreign Affairs,
and through this channel the proposition reached the Belgian

The State Department cabled me a message from the President to
the Emperor which stated that the United States stood ready at
any time to mediate between the warring powers, and directed
me to present this proposition direct to the Emperor.

I, therefore, asked for an audience with the Emperor and received
word from the chief Court Marshal that the Emperor would receive
me at the palace in Berlin on the morning of August tenth. I
drove in a motor into the courtyard of the palace and was there
escorted to the door which opened on a flight of steps leading
to a little garden about fifty yards square, directly on the
embankment of the River Spree, which flows past the Royal Palace.
As I went down the steps, the Empress and her only daughter,
the Duchess of Brunswick, came up. Both stopped and shook hands
with me, speaking a few words. I found the Emperor seated at a
green iron table under a large canvas garden umbrella. Telegraph
forms were scattered on the table in front of him and basking in
the gravel were two small dachshunds. I explained to the Emperor
the object of my visit and we had a general conversation about
the war and the state of affairs. The Emperor took some of the
large telegraph blanks and wrote out in pencil his reply to the
President's offer, This reply, of course, I cabled immediately
to the State Department.


10/VIII 14.

1. H. R. H. Prince Henry was received by his Majesty King George
V in London, who empowered him to transmit to me verbally, that
England would remain neutral if war broke out on the Continent
involving Germany and France, Austria and Russia. This message
was telegraphed to me by my brother from London after his
conversation with H. M. the King, and repeated verbally on the
twenty-ninth of July.

2. My Ambassador in London transmitted a message from Sir E.
Grey to Berlin saying that only in case France was likely to
be crushed England would interfere.

3. On the thirtieth my Ambassador in London reported that Sir
Edward Grey in course of a "private" conversation told him that
if the conflict remained localized between _Russia_--not
Serbia--and _Austria_, England would not move, but if we
"mixed" in the fray she would take quick decisions and grave
measures; i. e., if I left my ally Austria in the lurch to
fight alone England would not touch me.

4. This communication being directly counter to the King's
message to me, I telegraphed to H. M. on the twenty-ninth or
thirtieth, thanking him for kind messages through my brother
and begging him to use all his power to keep France and
Russia--his Allies--from making any war-like preparations
calculated to disturb my work of mediation, stating that I
was in constant communication with H. M. the Czar. In the
evening the King kindly answered that he had ordered his
Government to use every possible influence with his Allies
to refrain from taking any provocative military measures. At
the same time H. M. asked me if I would transmit to Vienna
the British proposal that Austria was to take Belgrade and a
few other Serbian towns and a strip of country as a "main-mise"
to make sure that the Serbian promises on paper should be
fulfilled in reality. This proposal was in the same moment
telegraphed to me from Vienna for London, quite in conjunction
with the British proposal; besides, I had telegraphed to H. M.
the Czar the same as an idea of mine, before I received the two
communications from Vienna and London, as both were of the same

5. I immediately transmitted the telegrams _vice_versa_ to
Vienna and London. I felt that I was able to tide the question
over and was happy at the peaceful outlook.

6. While I was preparing a note to H. M. the Czar the next
morning, to inform him that Vienna, London and Berlin were agreed
about the treatment of affairs, I received the telephones from
H. E. the Chancellor that in the night before the Czar had given
the order to mobilize the whole of the Russian army, which was,
of course, also meant against Germany; whereas up till then the
southern armies had been mobilized against Austria.

7. In a telegram from London my Ambassador informed me he
understood the British Government would guarantee neutrality
of France and wished to know whether Germany would refrain from
attack. I telegraphed to H. M. the King personally that
mobilization being already carried out could not be stopped, but
if H. M. could guarantee with his armed forces the neutrality of
France I would refrain _from_attacking_her_, _leave_her_alone_
and employ my troops elsewhere. H. M. answered that he thought my
offer was based on a misunderstanding; and, as far as I can make
out, Sir E. Grey never took my offer into serious consideration.
He never answered it. Instead, he declared England had to defend
Belgian neutrality, which had to be violated by Germany on
strategical grounds, news having been received that France was
already preparing to enter Belgium, and the King of Belgians
having refused my petition for a free passage under guarantee
of his country's freedom. I am most grateful for the President's


When the German Emperor in my presence indited his letter to
President Wilson of August tenth, 1914, he asked that I cable
it immediately to the State Department and that I simultaneously
give it to the press. As I have already stated, I cabled the
document immediately to the State Department at Washington, but
I withheld it from publication.

My interview with the Emperor was in the morning. That afternoon
a man holding a high position in Germany sent for me. I do not
give his name because I do not wish to involve him in any way
with the Emperor, so I shall not even indicate whether he is a
royalty or an official. He said:

"You had an interview today with the Emperor. What happened?"

I told of the message given me for the President which was intended
for publication by the Emperor. He said:

"I think you ought to show that message to me; you know the Emperor
is a constitutional Emperor and there was once a great row about
such a message."

I showed him the message, and when he had read it he said: "I
think it would be inadvisable for us to have this message published,
and in the interest of good feeling between Germany and America.
If you cable it ask that publication be withheld."

I complied with his request and it is characteristic of the
President's desire to preserve good relations that publication
was withheld. Now, when the two countries are at war; when the
whole world, and especially our own country, has an interest in
knowing how this great calamity of universal war came to the
earth, the time has come when this message should be given out
and I have published it by permission.

This most interesting document in the first place clears up one
issue never really obscure in the eyes of the world--the deliberate
violation of the neutrality of Belgium, whose territory "had to
be violated by Germany on strategical grounds." The very weak
excuse is added that "news had been received that France was
already preparing to enter Belgium,"--not even a pretense that
there had ever been any actual violation of Belgium's frontier
by the French prior to the German invasion of that unfortunate
country. Of course the second excuse that the King of the Belgians
had refused entrance to the Emperor's troops under guarantee of
his country's freedom is even weaker than the first. It would
indeed inaugurate a new era in the intercourse of nations if a
small nation could only preserve its freedom by at all times,
on request, granting free passage to the troops of a powerful
neighbour on the march to attack an adjoining country.

And aside from the violation of Belgian neutrality, what would
have become of England and of the world if the Prussian autocracy
had been left free to defeat--one by one--the nations of the
earth? First, the defeat of Russia and Serbia by Austria and
Germany, the incorporation of a large part of Russia in the German
Empire, German influence predominant in Russia and all the vast
resources of that great Empire at the command of Germany. All the
fleets in the world could uselessly blockade the German coasts
if Germany possessed the limitless riches of the Empire of the


The German army drawing for reserves on the teeming populations
of Russia and Siberia would never know defeat. And this is not
idle conjecture, mere dreaming in the realm of possibilities,
because the Russian revolution has shown us how weak and tottering
in reality was the dreaded power of the Czar.

Russia, beaten and half digested, France would have been an easy
prey, and England, even if then joining France in war, would
have a far different problem to face if the V-boats were now
sailing from Cherbourg and Calais and Brest and Bordeaux on the
mission of piracy and murder, and then would come our turn and
that of Latin America. The first attack would come not on us,
but on South or Central America--at some point to which it would
be as difficult for us to send troops to help our neighbor as
it would be for Germany to attack.

Remember that in Southern Brazil nearly four hundred thousand
Germans are sustained, as I found out, in their devotion to the
Fatherland by annual grants of money for educational purposes
from the Imperial treasury in Berlin.

It was not without reason that at this interview, when the Kaiser
wrote this message to the President, he said that the coming
in of England had changed the whole situation and would make
the war a long one. The Kaiser talked rather despondently about
the war. I tried to cheer him up by saying the German troops
would soon enter Paris, but he answered, "The English change
the whole situation--an obstinate nation--they will keep up the
war. It cannot end soon."

It was the entry of England into the war, in defence of the rights
of small nations, in defence of the guaranteed neutrality of
Belgium, which saved the world from the harsh dominion of the
conquest-hungry Prussians and therefore saved as well the two
Americas and their protecting doctrine of President Monroe.

The document, which is dated August tenth, 1914, supersedes the
statement made by the German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg in
his speech before the Reichstag on August fourth, 1914, in which
he gave the then official account of the entrance into the war of
the Central Empires. It will be noted that von Bethmann-Hollweg
insisted that France began the war in the sentence reading: "There
were bomb-throwing fliers, cavalry patrols, invading companies
in the Reichsland (Alsace-Lorraine). Thereby France, although
the condition of war had not yet been declared, had attacked our
territory." But the Emperor makes no mention of this fact, of
supreme importance if true, in his writing to President Wilson
six days later.

Quite curiously, at this time there was a belief on the part
of the Germans that Japan would declare war on the Allies and
range herself on the side of the Central Powers. In fact on one
night there was a friendly demonstration in front of the Japanese
Embassy, but these hopes were soon dispelled by the ultimatum
of Japan sent on the sixteenth of August, and, finally, by the
declaration of war on August twenty-third.

During the first days of the war the warring powers indulged in
mutual recriminations as to the use of dumdum bullets and I was
given several packages of cartridges containing bullets bored out
at the top which the Germans said had been found in the French
fortress of Longwy, with a request that I send an account of them
to President Wilson and ask for his intervention in the matter.
Very wisely President Wilson refused to do anything of the kind,
as otherwise he would have been deluged with constant complaints
from both sides as to the violations of the rules of war.

The cartridges given to me were in packages marked on the outside
"_Cartouches_de_Stand_" and from this I took it that possibly
these cartridges had been used on some shooting range near the
fort and the bullets bored out in order that they might not go
too far, if carelessly fired over the targets.

On August fifth, with our Naval Attache, Commander Walter Gherardi,
I called upon von Tirpitz, to learn from him which ports be
considered safest for the ships to be sent from America with gold
for stranded Americans. He recommended Rotterdam.

I also had a conversation on this day with Geheimrat Letze of
the Foreign Office with reference to the proposition that English
and German ships respectively should have a delay of until the
fourteenth of August in which to leave the English or German
ports in which they chanced to be.

The second week in August, my wife's sister and her husband,
Count Sigray, arrived in Berlin. Count Sigray is a reserve officer
of the Hungarian Hussars and was in Montana when the first rumours
of war came. He and his wife immediately started for New York and
sailed on the fourth of August. They landed in England, and as
England had not yet declared war on Austria, they were able to
proceed on their journey. With them were Count George Festetics
and Count Cziraki, the former from the Austrian Embassy in London
and the latter from that in Washington. They were all naturally
very much excited about war and the events of their trip. The
Hungarians as a people are quite like Americans. They have agreeable
manners and are able to laugh in a natural way, something which
seems to be a lost art in Prussia. Nearly all the members of
Hungarian noble families speak English perfectly and model their
clothes, sports and country life, as far as possible, after the

The thirteenth saw the departure of our first special train
containing Americans bound for Holland. I saw the Americans off
at the Charlottenburg station. They all departed in great spirits
and very glad of an opportunity to leave Germany.

I had some negotiations about the purchase by America or Americans
of the ships of the North German Lloyd, but nothing came of these
negotiations. Trainloads of Americans continued to leave, but
there seemed to be no end to the Americans coming into Berlin
from all directions.

On August twenty-ninth, Count Szoegyeny, the Austrian Ambassador,
left Berlin. He had been Ambassador there for twenty-two years and
I suppose because of his advancing years the Austrian Government
thought that he had outlived his usefulness. Quite a crowd of
Germans and diplomats were at the station to witness the rather
sad farewell. His successor was Prince Hohenlohe, married to a
daughter of Archduke Frederick. She expressly waived her right
to precedence as a royal highness, and agreed to take only the
precedence given to her as the wife of the Ambassador, in order not
to cause feeling in Berlin. Prince Hohenlohe, a rather easy-going
man, who had been most popular in Russia and Austria, immediately
made a favourable impression in Berlin and successfully occupied
the difficult position of mediator between the governments of
Berlin and Vienna.

On September fourth the Chancellor gave me a statement to give
to the reporters in which he attacked England, claiming that
England did not desire the friendship of Germany but was moved by
commercial jealousy and a desire to crush her; that the efforts
made for peace had failed because Russia, under all circumstances,
was resolved upon war; and that Germany had entered Belgium in
order to forestall the planned French advance. He also claimed
that England, regardless of consequences to the white race, had
excited Japan to a pillaging expedition, and claimed that Belgian
girls and women had gouged out the eyes of the wounded; that
officers had been invited to dinner and shot across the table;
and Belgian women had cut the throats of soldiers quartered in
their houses while they were asleep. The Chancellor concluded by
saying, in this statement, that everyone knows that the German
people is not capable of unnecessary cruelty or of any brutality.

We were fully occupied with taking care of the English prisoners
and interests, the Americans, and negotiations relating to commercial
questions, and to getting goods required in the United States out
of Germany, when, on October seventh, a most unpleasant incident,
and one which for some time caused the members of our Embassy
to feel rather bitterly toward the German Foreign Office, took

A great number of British civilians, men and women, were stranded
in Berlin. To many of these were paid sums of money in the form
of small allowances on behalf of the British Government. In order
to facilitate this work, we placed the clerks employed in this
distribution in the building formerly occupied by the British Consul
in Berlin. Of course, the great crowds of Americans resorting to
our Embassy, when combined with the crowds of British, made it
almost impossible even to enter the Embassy, and establishment
of this outlying relief station materially helped this situation.
I occupied it, and employed English men and English women in this
relief work by the express permission of the Imperial Foreign
Office, which I thought it wise to obtain in view of the fact
that the Germans seemed daily to become more irritable and
suspicious, especially after the Battle of the Marne.

On the night of October second, our Second Secretary, Harvey, went
to this relief headquarters at about twelve o'clock at night, and
was witness to a raid made by the Berlin police on this establishment
of ours. The men and women working were arrested, and all books
and papers which the police could get at were seized by them.
The next morning I went around to the place and on talking with
the criminal detectives in charge, was told by them that they had
made the raid by the orders of the Foreign Office. When I spoke
to the Foreign Office about this, they denied that they had given
directions for the raid and made a sort of half apology. The raid
was all the more unjustified because only the day before I had had
a conversation with the Adjutant of the Berlin Kommandantur and
told him that, although I had permission from the Foreign Office,
I thought it would be better to dismiss the English employed and
employ only Americans or Germans; and I sent round to my friend,
Herr von Gwinner, head of the Deutsche Bank, and asked him to
recommend some German accountants to me.

The Kommandantur is the direct office of military control. When
the Adjutant heard of the raid he was almost as indignant as I
was, and on the tenth of October informed me that he had learned
that the raid had been made on the joint orders of the Foreign
Office and von Tirpitz's department.

The books and papers of an Embassy, including those relating
to the affairs of foreign nations temporarily in the Embassy's
care, are universally recognised in international law as not,
subject to seizure, nor did the fact that I was carrying on this
work outside the actual Embassy building have any bearing on
this point so long as the building was directly under my control
and, especially, as the only work carried on was work properly
in my hands in my official capacity. The Foreign Office saw that
they had made a mistake, but at Zimmermann's earnest request
I agreed, as it were, to forget the incident. Later on, this
precedent might have been used by our government had they desired
to press the matter of the seizure of von Igel's papers. Von Igel,
it will be remembered, was carrying on business of a private
nature in a private office hired by him. Nevertheless, as he
had been employed in some capacity in the German Embassy at
Washington, Count von Bernstorff claimed immunity from seizure
for the papers found in that office.

On August sixteenth the Kaiser left Berlin for the front. I wrote
to his master of the household, saying that I should like an
opportunity to be at the railway station to say good-bye to the
Emperor, but was put off on various excuses. Thereafter the Emperor
practically abandoned Berlin and lived either in Silesia, at
Pless, or at some place near the Western front.

At first, following the precedent of the war of 1870, the more
important members of the government followed the Kaiser to the
front, even the Chancellor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs
abandoning their offices in Berlin. Not long afterwards, when it
was apparent that the war must be carried on on several fronts
and that it was not going to be the matter of a few weeks which
the Germans had first supposed, these officials returned to their
offices in Berlin. In the meantime, however, much confusion had
been caused by this rather ridiculous effort to follow the customs
of the war of 1870.

When von Jagow, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was absent at the
Great General Headquarters, the diplomats remaining behind conducted
their negotiations with Zimmermann, who in turn had to transmit
everything to the great general headquarters.

In August, there were apparently rumours afloat in countries
outside of Germany that prominent Socialists at the outbreak of
the war had been shot. The State Department cabled me to find
out whether there was any truth in these rumours, with particular
reference to Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

Liebknecht is a lawyer practicing in Berlin and so I telephoned
him, asking him to come and see me. He did so, and of course, by
his presence verified the fact that he had not been executed.
He told me that the rumours as to the treatment of the Socialists
were entirely unfounded and said that he had no objection to my
cabling a statement that the Socialists were opposed to Czarismus
and that he personally had confidence in the German army and the
cause of the German people.

Many people confuse Liebknecht with his father, now dead. Liebknecht,
the son, is a man of perhaps forty-three years, with dark bushy
hair and moustache and wearing eye-glasses, a man of medium height
and not at all of strong build. In the numerous interruptions
made by him during the debates in the Reichstag, during the first
year of the war, his voice sounded high and shrill. Of course,
anyone who defies the heavy hand of autocracy must suffer from
nervousness. We all knew that sooner or later autocracy would
"get" Liebknecht, and its opportunity came when he appeared in
citizen's clothes at an attempted mass-meeting at the Potsdamerplatz.
For the offence of appearing out of uniform after being called
and mobilized, and for alleged incitement of the people, he was
condemned for a long term of imprisonment. One can but admire
his courage. I believe that he earns his living by the practice
of law before one of the minor courts. It is hard to say just
what _role_ he will play in the future. It is probable that
when the Socialists settle down after the war and think things
over, they will consider that the leadership of Scheidemann has
been too conservative; that he submitted too readily to the powers
of autocracy and too easily abandoned the program of the Socialists.
In this case, Liebknecht perhaps will be made leader of the
Socialists, and it is within the bounds of probability that
Scheidemann and certain of his party may become Liberals rather
than Socialists.



In the autumn of 1914, the rush of getting the Americans out
of Germany was over. The care of the British civilians was on a
business basis and there were comparatively few camps of prisoners
of war. Absolutely tired by working every day and until twelve
at night, I went to Munich for a two weeks' rest.

On February fourth, 1915, Germany announced that on February
eighteenth the blockade of England through submarines would commence.

Some very peculiar and mysterious negotiations thereafter ensued.
About February eighth, an American who was very intimate with
the members of the General Staff came to me with a statement
that Germany desired peace and was ready to open negotiations
to that end. It was, however, to be made a condition of these
peace negotiations that this particular American should go to
Paris and to Petrograd and inform the governments there of the
overwhelming strength of the German armies and of their positions,
which knowledge, it was said, he had obtained by personally visiting
both the fronts. it was further intimated that von Tirpitz himself
was anxious that peace should be concluded, possibly because of
his fear that the proposed blockade would not be successful.

Of course, I informed the State Department of these mysterious

I was taken by back stairways to a mysterious meeting with von
Tirpitz at night in his rooms in the Navy Department. When I was
alone with him, however, he had nothing definite to say or to
offer; if there was any opportunity at that time to make peace
nothing came of it. It looked somewhat to me as if the whole
idea had been to get this American to go to Paris and Petrograd,
certify from his personal observation to the strength of the
German armies and position, and thereby to assist in enticing
one or both of these countries to desert the allied cause. All of
this took place about ten days before the eighteenth of February,
the time named for the announcement of the blockade of England.

Medals were struck having the head of von Tirpitz on one side
and on the other the words "Gott strafe England," and a picture
of a sort of Neptune assisted by a submarine rising from the
sea to blockade the distant English coast.

The Ambassador is supposed to have the right to demand an audience
with the Kaiser at any time, and as there were matters connected
with the treatment of prisoners as well as this coming submarine
warfare which I wished to take up with him, I had on various
occasions asked for an audience with him; on each occasion my
request had been refused on some excuse or other, and I was not
even permitted to go to the railway station to bid him good-bye
on one occasion when he left for the front.

When our Military Attache, Major Langhorne, left in March, 1915,
he had a farewell audience with the Kaiser and I then asked him
to say to the Kaiser that I had not seen him for so long a time
that I had forgotten what he looked like. Langhorne reported
to me that he had given his message to the Kaiser and that the
Kaiser said, "I have nothing against Mr. Gerard personally, but
I will not see the Ambassador of a country which furnishes arms
and ammunition to the enemies of Germany."

Before the departure of Langhorne, I had succeeded in getting
Germany to agree that six American army officers might visit
Germany as military observers. When they arrived, I presented
them at the Foreign Office, etc., and they were taken on trips
to the East and West fronts.

They were not allowed to see much, and their request to be attached
to a particular unit was refused. Nearly everywhere they were
subject to insulting remarks or treatment because of the shipment
of munitions of war to the Allies from America; and finally after
they had been subjected to deliberate insults at the hands of
several German generals, Mackensen particularly distinguishing
himself, the United States Government withdrew them from Germany.

Colonel (now General) Kuhn, however, who was of these observers,
was appointed Military Attache in place of Major Langhorne. Speaking
German fluently and acting with great tact, he managed for a long
time to keep sufficiently in the good graces of the Germans to
be allowed to see something of the operations of the various
fronts. There came a period in 1916 when he was no longer invited
to go on the various excursions made by the foreign military
attaches and finally Major Nicolai, the general intelligence
officer of the Great General Headquarters, sent for him early in
the autumn of 1916, and informed him that he could no longer go
to any of the fronts. Colonel Kuhn answered that he was aware of
this already. Major Nicolai said that he gave him this information
by direct order of General Ludendorf, that General Ludendorf had
stated that he did not believe America could do more damage to
Germany than she had done if the two countries were actually
at war, and that he considered that, practically, America and
Germany were engaged in hostilities. On this being reported to
Washington, Colonel Kuhn was quite naturally recalled.

I cannot praise too highly the patience and tact shown by Colonel
Kuhn in dealing with the Germans. Although accused in the German
newspapers of being a spy, and otherwise attacked, he kept his
temper and observed all that he could for the benefit of his own
country. As he had had an opportunity to observe the Russian-Japanese
war, his experiences at that time, coupled with his experiences
in Germany, make him, perhaps, our greatest American expert on
modern war.

It was with the greatest pleasure that I heard from Secretary
Baker that he had determined to promote Colonel Kuhn to the rank
of General and make him head of our War College, where his teachings
will prove of the greatest value to the armies of the United States.

Colonel House and his wife arrived to pay us a visit on March 19,
1915, and remained until the twenty-eighth. During this period the
Colonel met all the principal members of the German Government and
many men of influence and prominence in the world of affairs, such
as Herr von Gwinner, head of the Deutsche Bank, and Dr. Walter
Rathenau, who succeeded his father as head of the Allgemeine
Elektricitats Gesellschaft and hundreds of other corporations. The
Colonel dined at the house of Dr. Solf, the Colonial Minister,
and lunched with von Gwinner.

In April, negotiations were continued about the sinking of the
_William_P._Fry_, an American boat loaded with food and
destined for Ireland. The American Government on behalf of the
owners of the _William_P._Fry_ claimed damages for the boat.
Nothing was said about the cargo, but in the German answer it was
stated that the cargo of the _William_P._Fry_ consisting of
foodstuffs destined for an armed port of the enemy and, therefore,
presumed to be destined for the armed forces of the enemy was,
because of this, contraband. I spoke to von Jagow about this and
told him that I thought that possibly this would seem to amount
to a German justification of the British blockade of Germany.
He said that this note had been drawn by Director Kriege who
was their expert on international law, and that he would not
interfere with Kriege's work. Of course, as a matter of fact,
all foodstuffs shipped to Germany would have to be landed at
some armed port, and, therefore, according to the contentions
of Germany, these would be supposed to be destined to the armed
forces of the enemy and become contraband of war.

At international law, it had always been recognised that private
individuals and corporations have the right to sell arms and
ammunitions of war to any belligerent and, in the Hague Convention
held in 1907, this right was expressly ratified and confirmed.
This same Director Kriege who represented Germany at this Hague
Conference in 1907, in the debates on this point said: "The neutral
boats which engage in such a trade, commit a violation of the
duties of neutrality. However, according to a principle generally
recognised, the State of which the boat flies the flag is not
responsible for this violation. The neutral States are not called
upon to forbid their subjects a commerce which, from the point of
view of the belligerents, ought to be considered as unlawful."
(Conference International de la Paix, La Haye, 15 Juin-18 Octobre
1907. Vol. III, p. 859.)

During our trouble with General Huerta, arms and ammunition for
Huerta's forces from Germany were landed from German ships in
Mexico. During the Boer war the Germans, who openly sympathised
with the Boers, nevertheless furnished to England great quantities
of arms and munitions, expressly destined to be used against
the Boers; and this, although it was manifest that there was
no possibility whatever that the Boers could obtain arms and
munitions from German sources during the war. For instance, the
firm of Eberhardt in Dusseldorf furnished one hundred and nine
cannon, complete, with wagons, caissons and munitions, etc., to
the English which were expressly designed for use against the

At one time the Imperial Foreign Office sent me a formal note
making reference to a paragraph in former Ambassador Andrew D.
White's autobiography with reference to the alleged stoppage
in a German port of a boat laden with arms and ammunition, for
use against the Americans in Cuba during the Spanish War. Of
course, former Ambassador White wrote without having the Embassy
records at hand and those records show that the position he took
at the time of this alleged stoppage was eminently correct.

The files show that he wrote the letter to the State Department
in which he stated that knowledge came to him of the proposed
sailing of this ship, but he did not protest because he had been
advised by a Naval Attache that the United States did not have
the right to interfere. The Department of State wrote to him
commending his action in not filing any protest and otherwise

It seemed as if the German Government expressly desired to stir
up hatred against America on this issue in order to force the
American Government through fear of either the German Government,
or the German-American propagandists at home, to put an immediate
embargo on the export of these supplies.

In the autumn of 1914 Zimmermann showed me a long list sent him
by Bernstorff showing quantities of saddles, automobiles, motor
trucks, tires, explosives, foodstuffs and so on, exported from
America to the Allies and intimated that this traffic had reached
such proportions that it should be stopped.

In February, 1915, in the official _Communique_ of the day
appeared the following statement: "Heavy artillery fire in certain
sections of the West front, mostly with American ammunition;"
and in April in the official _Communique_ something to this
effect: "Captured French artillery officers say that they have
great stores of American ammunition." I obtained through the State
Department in Washington a statement from the French Ambassador
certifying that up to that time, the end of April, 1915, no shells
whatever of the French artillery had been furnished from America.

Nothing, however, would satisfy the Germans. They seemed determined
that the export of every article, whether of food or munitions
which might prove of use to the Allies in the war, should be
stopped. Newspapers were filled with bitter attacks upon America
and upon President Wilson, and with caricatures referring to
the sale of munitions.

It never seemed to occur to the Germans that we could not violate
the Hague Convention in order to change the rules of the game
because one party, after the commencement of hostilities, found
that the rule worked to his disadvantage. Nor did the Germans
consider that America could not vary its international law with
the changing fortunes of war and make one ruling when the Germans
lost control of the sea and another ruling if they regained it.

From early in 1915 until I left Germany, I do not think I ever
had a conversation with a German without his alluding to this
question. Shortly before leaving Germany, in January, 1917, and
after I had learned of the probability of the resumption of ruthless
submarine war, at an evening party at the house of Dr. Solf, the
Colonial Minister, a large German who turned out to be one of
the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, planted himself some
distance away from me and addressed me in German saying, "You are
the American Ambassador and I want to tell you that the conduct
of America in furnishing arms and ammunition to the enemies of
Germany is stamped deep on the German heart, that we will never
forget it and will some day have our revenge." He spoke in a
voice so loud and slapped his chest so hard that everyone in
the room stopped their conversation in order to hear. He wore
on his breast the orders of the Black Eagle, the Red Eagle, the
Elephant and the Seraphim, and when he struck all this menagerie
the rattle alone was quite loud. I reminded him politely of the
Hague Convention, of the fact that we could not change international
law from time to time with the change in the situation of the war,
and that Germany had furnished arms to England to use against the
Boers. But he simply answered, "We care nothing for treaties,"
and my answer, "That is what they all say," was a retort too
obvious to be omitted.

The German press continually published articles to the effect
that the war would be finished if it were not for the shipment
of supplies from America. All public opinion was with the German
Government when the warning was issued on February fourth, 1915,
stating that the blockade of England would commence on the eighteenth
and warning neutral ships to keep out of the war zone. From then
on we had constant cases and crises with reference to the sinking
of American boats by the German submarine. There were the cases
of the _Gulfflight_ and the _Cushing_ and the _Falaba_, an English
boat sunk without warning on which Americans were killed. On May
sixth, 1915, Director Kriege of the Foreign Office asked Mr. Jackson
to call and see him, and told him that he would like to have the
following three points brought to the attention of the American

"1. As the result of the English effort to stop all foreign
commerce with Germany, Germany would do everything in her power
to destroy English commerce and merchant shipping. There was,
however, never at any time an intention to destroy or interfere
with neutral commerce or to attack neutral shipping unless
engaged in contraband trade. In view of the action of the
British Government in arming merchant vessels and causing
them to disguise their national character, the occasional
destruction of a neutral ship was unavoidable. Naval officers
in command of submarines had been instructed originally, and
new and more stringent instructions had been issued repeatedly,
to use the utmost care, consistent with their own safety, to
avoid attacks on neutral vessels.

"2. In case a neutral ship should be destroyed by a submarine
the German Government is prepared to make an immediate and
formal expression of its regret and to pay an indemnity, without
having recourse to a prize court.

"3. All reports with regard to the destruction of a neutral
vessel by a German submarine are investigated at once by both
the German Foreign Office and Admiralty and the result is
communicated to the Government concerned, which is requested in
return to communicate to the German Government the result of its
own independent investigation. Where there is any material
divergence in the two reports as to the presumed cause of
destruction (torpedo or mine), the question is to be submitted
to investigation by a commission composed of representatives of
the two nations concerned, with a neutral arbiter whose decision
will be final. This course has already been adopted in two cases,
in which a Dutch and a Norwegian vessel, respectively, were
concerned. The German Government reserves its right to refuse
this international arbitration in exceptional cases where for
military reasons the German Admiralty are opposed to its taking

Director Kriege told Mr. Jackson that a written communication in
which the substance of the foregoing would be contained, would
soon to be made to the Embassy.

Mr. Jackson put this conversation down in the form above given
and showed Director Kriege a copy of it. Later in the day Geheimrat
Simon called on Mr. Jackson at the Embassy and said that Dr.
Kriege would like to have point two read as follows:

"In case _through_any_unfortunate_mistake_a_neutral_ship_,"
and continuing to the end; and that Dr. Kriege would like to
change what was written on point three beginning with "Where
there is" so that it should read, as follows:--"Where there is
any material divergence in the two reports as to the presumed
cause of destruction (torpedo or mine), the German Government has
already in several instances declared its readiness to submit
the question to the decision of an international commission in
accordance with the Hague Convention for the friendly settlement
of international disputes."

This had been suggested by Director Kriege in case it should
be decided to make a communication to the American Press. Mr.
Jackson told Geheimrat Simon that he would report the subject of
his conversation to me, but that it would depend upon me whether
any communication should be made to the American Government or
to the press upon the subject.

Of course, the news of the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_ on
May seventh and of the great loss of American lives brought
about a very critical situation, and naturally nothing was done
with Kriege's propositions.

It is unnecessary here for me to go into the notes which were
exchanged between the two governments because all that is already
public property.

Sometime after I had delivered our first _Lusitania_ Note of
May 11th, 1915, Zimmermann was lunching with us. A good looking
American woman, married to a German, was also of the party and
after lunch although I was talking to some one else I overheard
part of her conversation with Zimmermann. When Zimmermann left
I asked her what it was that he had said about America, Germany,
Mr. Bryan and the _Lusitania_. She then told me that she
had said to Zimmermann that it was a great pity that we were
to leave Berlin as it looked as if diplomatic relations between
the two countries would be broken, and that Zimmermann told her
not to worry about that because they had just received word from
the Austrian Government that Dr. Dumba, the Austrian Ambassador
in Washington, had cabled that the _Lusitania_ Note from
America to Germany was only sent as a sop to public opinion in
America and that the government did not really mean what was
said in that note. I then called on Zimmermann at the Foreign
Office and he showed me Dumba's telegram which was substantially
as stated above. Of course, I immediately cabled to the State
Department and also got word to President Wilson. The rest of
the incident is public property. I, of course, did not know what
actually occurred between Mr. Bryan and Dr. Dumba, but I am sure
that Dr. Dumba must have misunderstood friendly statements made
by Mr. Bryan.

It was very lucky that I discovered the existence of this Dumba
cablegram in this manner which savours almost of diplomacy as
represented on the stage. If the Germans had gone on in the belief
that the _Lusitania_ Note was not really meant, war would
have inevitably resulted at that time between Germany and America,
and it shows how great events may be shaped by heavy luncheons
and a pretty woman.

Before this time much indignation had been caused in Germany
by the fact that the _Lusitania_ on her eastward voyage
from New York early in February, 1915, had raised the American
flag when nearing British waters.

Shortly after this incident had become known, I was at the
Wintergarten, a large concert hall in Berlin, with Grant Smith,
First Secretary of the Embassy at Vienna and other members of
my staff. We naturally spoke English among ourselves, a fact
which aroused the ire of a German who had been drinking heavily
and who was seated in the next box. He immediately began to call
out that some one was speaking English and when told by one of
the attendants that it was the American Ambassador, he immediately
cried in a loud voice that Americans were even worse than English
and that the _Lusitania_ had been flying the American flag as
protection in British waters.

The audience, however, took sides against him and told him to
shut up and as I left the house at the close of the performance,
some Germans spoke to me and apologised for his conduct. The
next day the manager of the Wintergarten called on me also to
express his regret for the occurrence.

About a year afterwards I was at the races one day and saw this
man and asked him what he meant by making such a noise at the
Wintergarten. He immediately apologised and said that he had
been drinking and hoped that I would forget the incident. This
was the only incident of the kind which occurred to me during
all the time that I was in Germany.

Both before and after the sinking of the _Lusitania_, the
German Foreign Office put forward all kinds of proposals with
reference to American ships in the war zone. On one afternoon,
Zimmermann, who had a number of these proposals drafted in German,
showed them to me and I wrote down the English translation for him
to see how it would look in English. These proposals were about
the sailing from America of what might be called certified ships,
the ships to be painted and striped in a distinctive way, to come
from certified ports at certain certified times, America to agree
that these ships should carry no contraband whatever. All these
proposals were sternly rejected by the President.

On February sixteenth, the German answer to our note of February
tenth had announced that Germany declined all responsibility for
what might happen to neutral ships and, in addition, announced
that mines would be allowed in waters surrounding Great Britain
and Ireland. This note also contained one of Zimmermann's proposed
solutions, namely, that American warships should convoy American

The German note of the sixteenth also spoke about the great traffic
in munitions from the United States to the Allies, and contained
a suggestion that the United States should induce the Allies to
adopt the Declaration of London and omit the importation not
only of food but also of all raw materials into Germany.

February twentieth was the date of the conciliatory note addressed
by President Wilson to both Great Britain and Germany; and contained
the suggestion that submarines should not be employed against
merchant vessels of any nationality and that food should be allowed
to go through for the civil population of Germany consigned to
the agencies named by the United States in Germany, which were
to see that the food was received and distributed to the civil

In the meantime the mines on the German coast had destroyed two
American ships, both loaded with cotton for Germany; one called
the _Carib_ and the other the _Evelyn_.

In America, Congress refused to pass a law to put it in the power
of the President to place an embargo on the export of munitions
of war.

In April, Count Bernstorff delivered his note concerning the
alleged want of neutrality of the United States, referring to
the numerous new industries in war materials being built up in
the United States, stating, "In reality the United States is
supplying only Germany's enemies, a fact which is not in any
way modified by the theoretical willingness to furnish Germany
as well."

To this note, Secretary Bryan in a note replied that it was
impossible, in view of the indisputable doctrines of accepted
international law, to make any change in our own laws of neutrality
which meant unequally affecting, during the progress of the war,
the relations of the United States with the various nations at
war; and that the placing of embargoes on the trade in arms which
constituted such a change would be a direct violation of the
neutrality of the United States.

But all these negotiations, reproaches and recriminations were
put an end to by the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_, with the
killing of American women and civilians who were passengers on
that vessel.

I believed myself that we would immediately break diplomatic
relations, and prepared to leave Germany. On May eleventh, I
delivered to von Jagow the _Lusitania_ Note, which after
calling attention to the cases of the sinking of American boats,
ending with the _Lusitania_, contained the statement, "The
Imperial German Government will not expect the Government of
the United States to omit any word or any act necessary to the
sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and
its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercises and

During this period I had constant conversations with von Jagow
and Zimmermann, and it was during the conversations about this
submarine warfare that Zimmermann on one occasion said to me:
"The United States does not dare to do anything against Germany
because we have five hundred thousand German reservists in America
who will rise in arms against your government if your government
should dare to take any action against Germany." As he said this,
he worked himself up to a passion and repeatedly struck the table
with his fist. I told him that we had five hundred and one thousand
lamp posts in America, and that was where the German reservists
would find themselves if they tried any uprising; and I also
called his attention to the fact that no German-Americans making
use of the American passports which they could easily obtain,
were sailing for Germany by way of Scandinavian countries in
order to enlist in the German army. I told him that if he could
show me one person with an American passport who had come to
fight in the German army I might more readily believe what he
said about the Germans in America rising in revolution.

As a matter of fact, during the whole course of the war, I knew
of only one man with American citizenship who enlisted in the
German army. This was an American student then in Germany who
enlisted in a German regiment. His father, a business man in New
York, cabled me asking me to have his son released from the German
army; so I procured the discharge of the young man who immediately
wrote to me and informed me that he was over twenty-one, and
that he could not see what business his father had to interfere
with his military ambitions. I thereupon withdrew my request
with reference to him, but he had already been discharged from
the army. When his regiment went to the West front he stowed
away on the cars with it, was present at the attack on Ypres,
and was shot through the body. He recovered in a German hospital,
received the Iron Cross, was discharged and sailed for America.
What has since become of him I do not know.

I do not intend to go in great detail into this exchange of notes
and the public history of the submarine controversy, as all that
properly belongs to the history of the war rather than to an
account of my personal experiences; and besides, as Victor Hugo
said, "History is not written with a microscope." All will remember
the answer of Germany to the American _Lusitania_ Note, which
answer, delivered on May twenty-ninth, contained the charge that
the _Lusitania_ was armed and carried munitions, and had been
used in the transport of Canadian troops. In the meantime, however,
the American ship, _Nebraskan_, had been torpedoed off the coast
of Ireland on the twenty-sixth; and, on May twenty-eighth, Germany
stated that the American steamer, _Gulfflight_, had been torpedoed
by mistake, and apologised for this act.

Von Jagow gave me, about the same time, a Note requesting that
American vessels should be more plainly marked and should illuminate
their marking at night.

The second American _Lusitania_ Note was published on June
eleventh, 1915; and its delivery was coincident with the resignation
of Mr. Bryan as Secretary of State. In this last Note President
Wilson (for, of course, it is an open secret that he was the
author of these Notes) made the issue perfectly plain, referring
to the torpedoing of enemy passenger ships. "Only her actual
resistance to capture or refusal to stop when ordered to do so
for the purpose of visit could have afforded the commander of the
submarine any justification for so much as putting the lives of
those on board the ship in jeopardy." On July eighth the German
answer to this American _Lusitania_ Note was delivered, and
again stated that "we have been obliged to adopt a submarine war
to meet the declared intentions of our enemies and the method of
warfare adopted by them in contravention of international law".
Again referring to the alleged fact of the _Lusitania's_
carrying munitions they said: "If the _Lusitania_ had been
spared, thousands of cases of munitions would have been sent to
Germany's enemies and thereby thousands of German mothers and
children robbed of breadwinners." The note then contained some
of Zimmermann's favourite proposals, to the effect that German
submarine commanders would be instructed to permit the passage of
American steamers marked in a special way and of whose sailing
they had been notified in advance, provided that the American
Government guaranteed that these vessels did not carry contraband
of war. It was also suggested that a number of neutral vessels
should be added to those sailing under the American flag, to
give greater opportunity for those Americans who were compelled
to travel abroad, and the Note's most important part continued:
"In particular the Imperial Government is unable to admit that
the American citizens can protect an enemy ship by mere fact
of their presence on board."

July twenty-first, the American Government rejected the proposals
of Germany saying, "The lives of noncombatants may in no case
be put in jeopardy unless the vessel resists or seeks to escape
after being summoned to submit to examination," and disposed
of the claim that the acts of England gave Germany the right
to retaliate, even though American citizens should be deprived
of their lives in the course of retaliation by stating: "For a
belligerent act of retaliation is _per_se_ an act beyond the
law, and the defense, of an act as retaliatory, is an admission
that it is illegal." Continuing it said: "If a belligerent cannot
retaliate against an enemy without injuring the lives of neutrals,
as well as their property, humanity, as well as justice and a
due regard for the dignity of neutral powers, should dictate
that the practice be discontinued."

It was also said: "The United States cannot believe that the
Imperial Government will longer refrain from disavowing the wanton
act of its naval commander in sinking the _Lusitania_ or
from offering reparation for the American lives lost, so far
as reparation can be made for the needless destruction of human
life by an illegal act." And the meat of the Note was contained
in the following sentence: "Friendship itself prompts it (the
United States) to say to the Imperial Government that repetition
by the commanders of German naval vessels of acts in contravention
of those rights must be regarded by the Government of the United
States, when they affect American citizens, as being deliberately

There the matter has remained so far as the Lusitania was concerned
until now. In the meantime, the attack of the American ship,
_Nebraskan_, was disavowed; the German Note stating that
"the torpedo was not meant for the American flag and is to be
considered an unfortunate accident."

The diplomatic situation with regard to the use of the submarine
and the attack on many merchant ships without notice and without
putting the passengers in safety was still unsettled when on
August nineteenth, 1915, the British ship _Arabic_, was
torpedoed, without warning, not far from the place where the
_Lusitania_ had gone down. Two Americans were among the
passengers killed.

The German Government, after the usual quibbling, at length,
in its Note of September seventh, claimed that the Captain of
the German submarine, while engaged in preparing to sink the
_Dunsley_, became convinced that the approaching _Arabic_
was trying to ram him and, therefore, fired his torpedo. The
Imperial Government refused to admit any liability but offered
to arbitrate.

There followed almost immediately the case of the _Ancona_,
sunk by a submarine flying the Austrian flag. This case was naturally
out of my jurisdiction, but formed a link in the chain, and then
came the sinking of the _Persia_ in the Mediterranean. On this
boat our consul to Aden lost his life.

In the Note of Count Bernstorff to Secretary Lansing, dated September
first, 1915, Count Bernstorff said that liners would not be sunk
by German submarines without warning, and without putting the
passengers in safety, provided that the liners did not try to
escape or offer resistance; and it was further stated that this
policy was in effect before the sinking of the _Arabic_.

There were long negotiations during this period concerning the
_Arabic_. At one time it looked as if diplomatic relations
would be broken; but finally the Imperial Government consented
to acknowledge that the submarine commander had been wrong in
assuming that the _Arabic_ intended to ram his boat, offered
to pay an indemnity and disavowed the act of the commander. It
was stated that orders so precise had been given to the submarine
commanders that a "recurrence of incidents similar to the
_Arabic_ is considered out of the question."

In the same way the Austrian Government gave way to the demands
of America in the _Ancona_ case at the end of December, 1915.
Ambassador Penfield, in Austria, won great praise by his admirable
handling of this case.

The negotiations as to the still pending _Lusitania_ case
were carried on in Washington by Count Bernstorff and Secretary
Lansing, and finally Germany offered to pay an indemnity for
the death of the Americans on the _Lusitania_ whose deaths
Germany "greatly regretted," but refused to disavow the act of
the submarine commander in sinking the _Lusitania_ or to admit
that such act was illegal.

About this time our State Department sent out a Note proposing
in effect that submarines should conform to "cruiser" warfare,
only sinking a vessel which defended itself or tried to escape,
and that before sinking a vessel its passengers and crew should
be placed in safety; and that, on the other hand, merchant vessels
of belligerent nationality should be prohibited from carrying
any armaments whatever. This suggestion was not followed up.

Zimmermann (not the one in the Foreign Office) wrote an article
in the _Lokal_Anzeiger_ of which he is an editor, saying
that the United States had something on their side in the question
of the export of munitions. I heard that von Kessel, commander of
the _Mark_of_Brandenburg_ said that he, Zimmermann, ought to be
shot as a traitor. Zimmermann hearing of this made von Kessel
apologise, but was shortly afterwards mobilised.

Colonel House had arrived in Germany at the end of January, 1916,
and remained only three days. He was quite worried by the situation
and by an interview he had had with Zimmermann in which Zimmermann
expressed the readiness of Germany to go to war with the United

In February, 1916, the Junkers in the Prussian Lower House started
a fight against the Chancellor and discussed submarine war, a
matter out of their province. The Chancellor hit back at them hard
and had the best of the exchange. At this period it was reported
that the Emperor went to Wilhelmshafen to warn the submarine
commanders to be careful.

About March first it was reported that a grand council of war
was held at Charleville and that in spite of the support of von
Tirpitz by Falkenhayn, the Chief of Staff, the Chancellor was
supported by the Emperor, and once more beat the propositions
to recommence ruthless submarine war.

In March too, the "illness" of von Tirpitz was announced, followed
shortly by his resignation. On March nineteenth, his birthday,
a demonstration was looked for and I saw many police near his
dwelling, but nothing unusual occurred. I contemplated a trip
to America, but both the Chancellor and von Jagow begged me not
to go.

From the time of the _Lusitania_ sinking to that of the _Sussex_
all Germany was divided into two camps. The party of the Chancellor
tried to keep peace with America and did not want to have Germany
branded as an outlaw among nations. Von Tirpitz and his party of
naval and military officers called for ruthless submarine war, and
the Conservatives, angry with Bethmann-Hollweg because of his
proposed concession as to the extension of the suffrage, joined
the opposition. The reception of our last _Lusitania_ Note in
July, 1915, was hostile and I was accused of being against Germany,
although, of course, I had nothing to do with the preparation of
this Note.

In August, 1915, the deputies representing the great industrials
of Germany joined in the attack on the Chancellor. These men
wished to keep Northern France and Belgium, because they hoped
to get possession of the coal and iron deposits there and so
obtain a monopoly of the iron and steel trade of the continent.
Accelerators of public opinion, undoubtedly hired by the Krupp
firm, were hard at work. These Annexationists were opposed by the
more reasonable men who signed a petition against the annexation
of Belgium. Among the signers of this reasonable men's petition
were Prince Hatzfeld (Duke of Trachenberg) head of the Red Cross,
Dernburg, Prince Henkel Donnersmarck, Professor Delbruck, von
Harnack and many others.

The rage of the Conservatives at the _Arabic_ settlement
knew no bounds, and after a bitter article had appeared in the
_Tageszeitung_ about the _Arabic_ affair, that newspaper was
suppressed for some days,--a rather unexpected showing of backbone
on the part of the Chancellor. Reventlow who wrote for this newspaper
is one of the ablest editorial writers in Germany. An ex-naval
officer, he is bitter in his hatred of America. It was said that
he once lived in America and lost a small fortune in a Florida
orange grove, but I never succeeded in having this verified.

In November, 1915, after the _Arabic_ settlement there followed
a moment for us of comparative calm. Mrs. Gerard was given the
Red Cross Orders of the first and third classes, and Jackson
and Rives of the Embassy Staff the second and third class. The
third class is always given because one cannot have the first
and second unless one has the third or lowest.

There were rumours at this time of the formation of a new party;
really the Socialists and Liberals, as the Socialists as such were
too unfashionable, in too bad odour, to open a campaign against
the military under their own name. This talk came to nothing.

The Chancellor always complained bitterly that he could not
communicate in cipher _via_ wireless with von Bernstorff.
On one occasion he said to me, "How can I arrange as I wish to
in a friendly way the _Ancona_ and _Lusitania_ cases
if I cannot communicate with my Ambassador? Why does the United
States Government not allow me to communicate in cipher?" I said,
"The Foreign Office tried to get me to procure a safe-conduct for
the notorious von Rintelen on the pretense that he was going to do
charitable work for Belgium in America; perhaps Washington thinks
you want to communicate with people like that." The Chancellor then
changed the subject and said that there would be bad feeling in
Germany against America after the war. I answered that that idea
had been expressed by a great many Germans and German newspapers,
and that I had had private letters from a great many Americans
who wrote that if Germany intended to make war on America, after
this war, perhaps we had better go in now. He then very amiably
said that war with America would be ridiculous. He asked me why
public opinion in America was against Germany, and I answered
that matters like the Cavell case had made a bad impression in
America and that I knew personally that even the Kaiser did not
approve of the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_. The Chancellor
said, "How about the _Baralong_?" I replied that I did not
know the details and that there seemed much doubt and confusion
about that affair, but that there was no doubt about the fact
that Miss Cavell was shot and that she was a woman. I then took
up in detail with him the treatment of British prisoners and
said that this bad treatment could not go on. This was only one
of the many times when I complained to the Chancellor about the
condition of prisoners. I am sure that he did not approve of the
manner in which prisoners of war in Germany were treated; but
he always complained that he was powerless where the military
were concerned, and always referred me to Bismarck's memoirs.

During this winter of submarine controversy an interview with
von Tirpitz, thinly veiled as an interview with a "high naval
authority," was published in that usually most conservative of
newspapers, the _Frankfurter_Zeitung_. In this interview the
"high naval authority" advocated ruthless submarine war with
England, and promised to bring about thereby the speedy surrender
of that country. After the surrender, which was to include the
whole British fleet, the German fleet with the surrendered British
fleet added to its force, was to sail for America, and exact from
that country indemnities enough to pay the whole cost of the war.

After his fall, von Tirpitz, in a letter to some admirers who
had sent him verses and a wreath, advocated holding the coast of
Flanders as a necessity for the war against England and America.

The successor of von Tirpitz was Admiral von Holtzendorff, whose
brother is Ballin's right hand man in the management of the Hamburg
American Line. Because of the more reasonable influence and
surroundings of von Holtzendorff, I regarded his appointment as
a help towards peaceful relations between Germany and America.

I have told in another chapter how the Emperor had refused to
receive me as Ambassador of a country which was supplying munitions
to the Allies.

From time to time since I learned of this in March, 1915, I kept
insisting upon my right as Ambassador to be received by the Emperor;
and finally early in October, 1915, wrote the following letter
to the Chancellor:

"Your Excellency:

Some time ago I requested you to arrange an audience for me
with his majesty.

Please take no further trouble about this matter.

Sincerely yours,


This seemed to have the desired effect. I was informed that I
would be received by the Emperor in the new palace at Potsdam
on October twenty-second. He was then to pay a flying visit to
Berlin to receive the new Peruvian Minister and one or two others.
We went down in the train to Potsdam, von Jagow accompanying us,
in the morning; and it was arranged that we should return on
the train leaving Potsdam a little after one o'clock. I think
that the authorities of the palace expected that I would be with
the Emperor for a few minutes only, as when I was shown into the
room where he was, a large room opening from the famous shell
hall of the palace, the Peruvian Minister and the others to be
received were standing waiting in that hall.

The Emperor was alone in the room and no one was present at our
interview. He was dressed in a Hussar uniform of the new field
grey, the parade uniform of which the frogs and trimmings were
of gold. A large table in the corner of the room was covered
with maps, compasses, scales and rulers; and looked as if the
Emperor there, in company with some of his aides, or possibly
the chief of staff, had been working out the plan of campaign
of the German armies.

The Emperor was standing; so, naturally, I stood also; and, according
to his habit, which is quite Rooseveltian, he stood very close to
me and talked very earnestly. I was fortunately able to clear
up two distinct points which he had against America.

The Emperor said that he had read in a German paper that a number
of submarines built in America for England had crossed the Atlantic
to England, escorted by ships of the American Navy. I was, of
course, able to deny this ridiculous story at the time and furnish
definite proofs later. The Emperor complained because a loan to
England and France had been floated in America. I said that the
first loan to a belligerent floated in America was a loan to
Germany. The Emperor sent for some of his staff and immediately
inquired into the matter. The members of the staff confirmed my
statement. The Emperor said that he would not have permitted
the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_ if he had known, and that
no gentleman would kill so many women and children. He showed,
however, great bitterness against the United States and repeatedly
said, "America had better look out after this war:" and "I shall
stand no nonsense from America after the war."

The interview lasted about an hour and a quarter, and when I finally
emerged from the room the officers of the Emperor's household were
in such a state of agitation that I feel sure they must have
thought that something fearful had occurred. As I walked rapidly
towards the door of the palace in order to take the carriage which
was to drive me to the train, one of them walked along beside
me saying, "Is it all right? Is it all right?"

The unfortunate diplomats who were to have been received and
who had been standing all this time outside the door waiting for
an audience missed their train and their luncheon.

At this interview, the Emperor looked very careworn and seemed
nervous. When I next saw him, however, which was not until the
end of April, 1916, he was in much better condition.

I was so fearful in reporting the dangerous part of this interview,
on account of the many spies not only in my own Embassy but also
in the State Department, that I sent but a very few words in a
roundabout way by courier direct to the President.

The year, 1916, opened with this great question still unsettled
and, in effect, Germany gave notice that after March first, 1916,
the German submarines would sink all armed merchantmen of the
enemies of Germany without warning. It is not my place here to
go into the agitation of this question in America or into the
history of the votes in Congress, which in fact upheld the policy
of the President. A proposal as to armed merchantmen was issued by
our State Department and the position taken in this was apparently
abandoned at the time of the settlement of the _Sussex_ case
to which I now refer.

In the latter half of March, 1916, a number of boats having Americans
on board were torpedoed without warning. These boats were the
_Eaglejoint_, the _Englishman_, the _Manchester_Engineer_ and the
_Sussex_. One American was killed or drowned on the _Englishman_,
but the issue finally came to a head over the torpedoing of the
channel passenger boat, _Sussex_ which carried passengers between
Folkstone and Dieppe, France.

On March twenty-fourth the _Sussex_ was torpedoed near the
coast of France. Four hundred and thirty-six persons, of whom
seventy-five were Americans, were on board. The captain and a
number of the passengers saw the torpedo and an endeavour was
made to avoid it. After the boat was struck the many passengers
took to the boats. Three Americans were injured and over forty
persons lost their lives, although the boat was not sunk but
was towed to Boulogne.

I was instructed to inquire from the German Government as to
whether a German submarine had sunk the _Sussex_. The Foreign
Office finally, at my repeated request, called on the Admiralty
for a report of the torpedoing of the _Sussex_; and finally
on the tenth of April the German Note was delivered to me. In the
meantime, and before the delivery of this Note I had been assured
again and again that the _Sussex_ had not been torpedoed by
a German submarine. In this Note a rough sketch was enclosed,
said to have been made by the officer commanding the submarine, of
a vessel which he admitted he had torpedoed, in the same locality
where the _Sussex_ had been attacked and at about the same
time of day. It was said that this boat which was torpedoed was
a mine layer of the recently built _Arabic_ class and that a
great explosion which was observed to occur in the torpedoed ship
warranted the certain conclusion that great amounts of munitions
were on board. The Note concluded: "The German Government must
therefore assume that injury to the _Sussex_ was attributable
to another cause than attack by a German submarine." The Note
contained an offer to submit any difference of opinion that might
develop to be investigated by a mixed commission in accordance
with the Hague Convention of 1907. The _Englishman_ and
the _Eaglepoint_, it was claimed, were attacked by German
submarines only after they had attempted to escape, and an
explanation was given as to the _Manchester_Engineer_. With
reference to the _Sussex_, the note continued: "Should the
American Government have at its disposal other material at the
conclusion of the case of the _Sussex_, the German Government
would ask that it be communicated, in order to subject this material
also to investigation."

In the meantime, American naval officers, etc., had been engaged
in collecting facts as to the sinking of the _Sussex_, and
this evidence, which seemed overwhelming and, in connection with
the admissions in the German note, absolutely conclusive, was
incorporated in the note sent to Germany in which Germany was
notified: "Unless the Imperial Government should now immediately
declare and effect abandonment of this present method of submarine
warfare against passenger and freight carrying vessels, the
Government of the United States can have no choice but to sever
diplomatic relations with the German Empire altogether."

The issue was now clearly defined.

I have already spoken of the fact that for a long time there had
been growing up two parties in Germany. One party headed by von
Tirpitz in favour of what the Germans called _rucksichtloser_,
or ruthless submarine war, in which all enemy merchant ships
were to be sunk without warning, and the party then headed by
the Chancellor which desired to avoid a conflict with America
on this issue.

As I have explained in a former chapter, the military have always
claimed to take a hand in shaping the destinies and foreign policies
of Germany. When the Germans began to turn their attention to the
creation of a fleet, von Tirpitz was the man who, in a sense,
became the leader of the movement and, therefore, the creator of
the modern navy of Germany. A skilful politician, he for years
dominated the Reichstag and on the question of submarine warfare
was most efficiently seconded by the efforts of the Navy League,
an organization having perhaps one million members throughout
Germany. Although only one of the three heads of the navy (he
was Secretary of the Navy), by the force of his personality, by
the political position which he had created for himself, and by
the backing of his friends in the Navy League he really dominated
the other two departments of the navy, the Marine Staff and the
Marine Cabinet.

Like most Germans of the ruling class, ambition is his only passion.
These Spartans do not care either for money or for the luxury
which it brings. Their life is on very simple lines, both in
the Army and Navy, in order that the officers shall not vie with
one another in expenditure, and in order that the poorer officers
and their wives shall not be subject to the humiliation which
would be caused if they had to live in constant contact with
brother officers living on a more luxurious footing.

Von Tirpitz' ambition undoubtedly led him to consider himself
as a promising candidate for Bethmann-Hollweg's shoes. The whole
submarine issue, therefore, became not only a question of military
expediency and a question for the Foreign Office to decide in
connection with the relations of America to Germany, but also a
question of internal politics, a means of forcing the Chancellor
out of office. The advocates for the ruthless war were drawn from
the Navy and from the Army, and those who believed in the use
of any means of offence against their enemies and particularly
in the use of any means that would stop the shipment of munitions
of war to the Allies. The Army and the Navy were joined by the
Conservatives and by all those who hoped for the fall of the
Chancellor. The conservative newspapers, and even the Roman Catholic
newspapers were violent in their call for ruthless submarine war
as well as violent in their denunciations of the United States
of America.

American passengers on merchant ships of the enemy were called
_Schutzengel_ (guardian angels), and caricatures were published,
such as one which showed the mate reporting to the Captain of
an English boat that everything was in readiness for sailing
and the Captain's inquiry, "Are you sure that the American
_Schutzengel_ is on board?" The numerous notes sent by America
to Germany also formed a frequent subject of caricature and I
remember particularly one quite clever one in the paper called
_Brummer_, representing the celebrations in a German port
on the arrival of the one hundredth note from America when the
Mayor of the town and the military, flower girls and singing
societies and _Turnverein_ were drawn up in welcoming array.

The liberal papers were inclined to support the Chancellor in
his apparent intention to avoid an open break with America. But
even the liberal papers were not very strong in their stand.

The military, of course, absolutely despised America and claimed
that America could do no more harm by declaring war than it was
doing then to Germany; and that possibly the war preparations
of America might cut down the amount of the munitions available
for export to the enemies of the Empire. As to anything that
America could do in a military way, the Navy and the Army were
unanimous in saying that as a military or naval factor the United
States might be considered as less than nothing. This was the
situation when the last _Sussex_ Note of America brought
matters to a crisis, and even the crisis itself was considered
a farce as it had been simmering for so long a period.


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