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The New York Times
A Monthly Magazine
THE EUROPEAN WAR
THE LUSITANIA CASE MR. BRYAN'S RESIGNATION PRESIDENT WILSON'S REPLY TO BERLIN THE LUSITANIA'S "GUNS" Dr. Meyer-Gerhard's Mission Germany's Press Opinion Press Opinion of the Allies American Comment on Mr. Bryan's Resignation Mr. Bryan's Defense Bryan, Idealist and Average Man In the Name of Peace. A World League to Enforce Peace The League to Enforce Peace German-American Dissent Chant of Loyalty. American Munition Supplies A League for Preparedness Przemysl and Lemberg BELGIUM. Battle of the Labyrinth The Modern Plataea A British Call For Recruits The British Army in France The Dardanelles Campaign THE EUROPEAN WAR AS SEEN BY CARTOONISTS Italy vs. Austria-Hungary The Armed Strength of Italy The Alpine Frontier "Italy's Violation of Faith" Why Italy Went to War Britain's Cabinet and Munitions Lloyd George's Appeal to Labor Balkan Neutrality—As Seen By the Balkans Portsmouth Bells The Wanderers of the Emden Civilization at the Breaking Point "Human Beings and Germans" Garibaldi's Promise. The Uncivilizable Nation Retreat in the Rain. War a Game for Love and Honor THE BELGIAN WAR MOTHERS How England Prevented an Understanding With Germany Germany Free! Chronology of the War To the Captain of the U——.
THE LUSITANIA CASE
President Wilson's Reply to Germany
Account of the Resignation of William J. Bryan as American Secretary of State
True to the intimation in his note to President Wilson, Mr. Bryan has made public in full his reasons for resigning while American relations with Germany were strained. His statements are given herewith, together with comments in Europe and America on the causes and consequences of Mr. Bryan's act. The German reply to President Wilson's note of May 13 on the Lusitania case and the American rejoinder of June 9; the sending to Berlin of Dr. Anton Meyer-Gerhard, as arranged by Ambassador von Bernstorff in the White House on June 4, in order to explain more fully to the German Government the American policy and public feeling in this country; the Stahl perjury case, relating to the German charge that the Lusitania was armed; the question whether the American steamer Nebraskan was torpedoed on May 26 in the German submarine "war zone"; the controversy over exportations to the Allies of American munitions of war: the agitation for a stronger army and navy in the United States, and the meeting in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, on June 17, when 109 of the foremost men in the United States took steps toward forming a League of Peace among all the nations of the earth—these, as recorded below, form a new chapter in American history.
THE GERMAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR AT BERLIN.
BERLIN, May 28, 1915.
The undersigned has the honor to make the following reply to the note of his Excellency Mr. James W. Gerard, Ambassador of the United States of America, dated the fifteenth instant, on the subject of the impairment of many American interests by the German submarine war.
The Imperial Government has subjected the statements of the Government of the United States to a careful examination and has the lively wish on its part also to contribute in a convincing and friendly manner to clear up any misunderstandings which may have entered into the relations of the two Governments through the events mentioned by the American Government.
With regard firstly to the cases of the American steamers Cushing and Gulflight, the American Embassy has already been informed that it is far from the German Government to have any intention of ordering attacks by submarines or flyers on neutral vessels in the zone which have not been guilty of any hostile act; on the contrary the most explicit instructions have been repeatedly given the German armed forces to avoid attacking such vessels. If neutral vessels have come to grief through the German submarine war during the past few months by mistake, it is a question of isolated and exceptional cases which are traceable to the misuse of flags by the British Government in connection with carelessness or suspicious actions on the part of the captains of the vessels. In all cases where a neutral vessel through no fault of its own has come to grief through the German submarines or flyers according to the facts as ascertained by the German Government, this Government has expressed its regret at the unfortunate occurrence and promised indemnification where the facts justified it. The German Government will treat the cases of the American steamers Cushing and Gulflight according to the same principles. An investigation of these cases is in progress. Its results will be communicated to the Embassy shortly. The investigation might, if thought desirable, be supplemented by an International Commission of Inquiry, pursuant to Title Three of The Hague Convention of October 18, 1907, for the pacific settlement of international disputes.
[Footnote 1: Germany's apology and offer of reparation for the attack on the Gulflight, together with a request for information in the case of the Cushing, are conveyed in the following note, which was received by the State Department in Washington from Ambassador Gerard on June 3, and laid before the Cabinet, and published on June 4:
Referring to the note of May 28, the undersigned has the honor to inform his Excellency the American Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr. James W. Gerard, that the examination undertaken on the part of the German Government concerning the American steamers Gulflight and Cushing has led to the following conclusions:
In regard to the attack on the steamer Gulflight, the commander of a German submarine saw on the afternoon of May 1, in the vicinity of the Scilly Islands, a large merchant steamer coming in his direction which was accompanied by two smaller vessels. These latter took such position in relation to the steamer that they formed a regulation safeguard against submarines; moreover, one of them had a wireless apparatus, which is not usual with small vessels. From this it evidently was a case of English convoy vessels. Since such vessels are frequently armed, the submarine could not approach the steamer on the surface of the water without running the danger of destruction. It was, on the other hand, to be assumed that the steamer was of considerable value to the British Government, since it was so guarded. The commander could see no neutral markings on it of any kind—that is, distinctive marks painted on the freeboard recognizable at a distance, such as are now usual on neutral ships in the English zone of naval warfare. In consequence he arrived at the conclusion from all the circumstances that he had to deal with an English steamer, submerged, and attacked.
The torpedo came in the immediate neighborhood of one of the convoy ships, which at once rapidly approached the point of firing; that the submarine was forced to go to a great depth to avoid being rammed. The conclusion of the commander that an English convoy ship was concerned was in this way confirmed. That the attacked steamer carried the American flag was first observed at the moment of firing the shot. The fact that the steamship was pursuing a course which led neither to nor from America was a further reason why it did not occur to the commander of the submarine that he was dealing with an American steamship.
Upon scrutiny of the time and place of the occurrence described, the German Government has become convinced that the attacked steamship was actually the American steamship Gulflight. There can be no doubt, according to the attendant circumstances, that the attack is to be attributed to an unfortunate accident, and not to the fault of the commander. The German Government expresses its regrets to the Government of the United States concerning this incident, and declares itself ready to furnish full recompense for the damage thereby sustained by American citizens. It is left to the discretion of the American Government to present a statement of this damage, or, if doubt may arise over individual points, to designate an expert who would have to determine, together with a German expert, the amount of damage.
It has not yet been possible by means of an inquiry to clear up fully the case of the American ship Cushing. Official reports available report only one merchant ship attacked by a German flying machine in the vicinity of Nordhind Lightship. The German aviator was forced to consider the vessel as hostile because it carried no flag, and, further, because of no recognizable neutral markings. The attack of four bombs was, of course, not aimed at any American ship.
However, that the ship attacked was the American steamer Cushing is possible, considering the time and place of the occurrences. Nevertheless, the German Government accordingly requests of the American Government that it communicate to the German Government the material which was submitted for judgment, in order that, with this as a basis, a further position can be taken in the matter.
The undersigned leaves it to the Ambassador to bring the foregoing to the immediate attention of his Government, and takes this opportunity to renew to him the assurance of his most distinguished consideration.
VON JAGOW, Minister for Foreign Affairs.]
In the case of the sinking of the English steamer Falaba, the commander of the German submarine had the intention of allowing passengers and crew ample opportunity to save themselves.
It was not until the captain disregarded the order to lay to and took to flight, sending up rocket signals for help, that the German commander ordered the crew and passengers by signals and megaphone to leave the ship within ten minutes. As a matter of fact he allowed them twenty-three minutes and did not fire the torpedo until suspicious steamers were hurrying to the aid of the Falaba.
With regard to the loss of life when the British passenger steamer Lusitania was sunk, the German Government has already expressed its deep regret to the neutral Governments concerned that nationals of those countries lost their lives on that occasion. The Imperial Government must state for the rest the impression that certain important facts most directly connected with the sinking of the Lusitania may have escaped the attention of the Government of the United States. It therefore considers it necessary in the interest of the clear and full understanding aimed at by either Government primarily to convince itself that the reports of the facts which are before the two Governments are complete and in agreement.
The Government of the United States proceeds on the assumption that the Lusitania is to be considered as an ordinary unarmed merchant vessel. The Imperial Government begs in this connection to point out that the Lusitania was one of the largest and fastest English commerce steamers, constructed with Government funds as auxiliary cruisers, and is expressly included in the navy list published by British Admiralty. It is moreover known to the Imperial Government from reliable information furnished by its officials and neutral passengers that for some time practically all the more valuable English merchant vessels have been provided with guns, ammunition and other weapons, and reinforced with a crew specially practiced in manning guns. According to reports at hand here, the Lusitania when she left New York undoubtedly had guns on board which were mounted under decks and masked.
The Imperial Government furthermore has the honor to direct the particular attention of the American Government to the fact that the British Admiralty by a secret instruction of February of this year advised the British merchant marine not only to seek protection behind neutral flags and markings, but even when so disguised to attack German submarines by ramming them. High rewards have been offered by the British Government as a special incentive for the destruction of the submarines by merchant vessels, and such rewards have already been paid out. In view of these facts, which are satisfactorily known to it, the Imperial Government is unable to consider English merchant vessels any longer as "undefended territory" in the zone of maritime war designated by the Admiralty Staff of the Imperial German Navy, the German commanders are consequently no longer in a position to observe the rules of capture otherwise usual and with which they invariably complied before this. Lastly, the Imperial Government must specially point out that on her last trip the Lusitania, as on earlier occasions, had Canadian troops and munitions on board, including no less than 5,400 cases of ammunition destined for the destruction of brave German soldiers who are fulfilling with self-sacrifice and devotion their duty in the service of the Fatherland. The German Government believes that it acts in just self-defense when it seeks to protect the lives of its soldiers by destroying ammunition destined for the enemy with the means of war at its command. The English steamship company must have been aware of the dangers to which passengers on board the Lusitania were exposed under the circumstances. In taking them on board in spite of this the company quite deliberately tried to use the lives of American citizens as protection for the ammunition carried, and violated the clear provisions of American laws which expressly prohibit, and provide punishment for, the carrying of passengers on ships which have explosives on board. The company thereby wantonly caused the death of so many passengers. According to the express report of the submarine commander concerned, which is further confirmed by all other reports, there can be no doubt that the rapid sinking of the Lusitania was primarily due to the explosion of the cargo of ammunition caused by the torpedo. Otherwise, in all human probability, the passengers of the Lusitania would have been saved.
The Imperial Government holds the facts recited above to be of sufficient importance to recommend them to a careful examination by the American Government. The Imperial Government begs to reserve a final statement of its position with regard to the demands made in connection with the sinking of the Lusitania until a reply is received from the American Government, and believes that it should recall here that it took note with satisfaction of the proposals of good offices submitted by the American Government in Berlin and London with a view to paving the way for a modus vivendi for the conduct of maritime war between Germany and Great Britain. The Imperial Government furnished at that time ample evidence of its good will by its willingness to consider these proposals. The realization of these proposals failed, as is known, on account of their rejection by the Government of Great Britain.
The undersigned requests his Excellency the Ambassador to bring the above to the knowledge of the American Government and avails himself of the opportunity to renew, &c.
MR. BRYAN'S RESIGNATION
WASHINGTON, June 8, 1915.
My Dear Mr. President:
It is with sincere regret that I have reached the conclusion that I should return to you the commission of Secretary of State, with which you honored me at the beginning of your Administration.
Obedient to your sense of duty and actuated by the highest motives, you have prepared for transmission to the German Government a note in which I cannot join without violating what I deem to be an obligation to my country, and the issue involved is of such moment that to remain a member of the Cabinet would be as unfair to you as it would be to the cause which is nearest my heart; namely, the prevention of war.
I, therefore, respectfully tender my resignation, to take effect when the note is sent, unless you prefer an earlier hour.
Alike desirous of reaching a peaceful solution of the problems, arising out of the use of submarines against merchantmen, we find ourselves differing irreconcilably as to the methods which should be employed.
It falls to your lot to speak officially for the nation; I consider it to be none the less my duty to endeavor as a private citizen to promote the end which you have in view by means which you do not feel at liberty to use.
[Footnote 2: In Washington dispatches of June 8, 1915, Mr. Bryan was reported to have said at his home, when told of the formal announcement of his resignation:
In view of the announcement of my resignation, I will say that letters being made public therewith state my reasons, but I will have a more complete statement that will be given out when the American reply to the German note is sent, which probably will be tomorrow.
My resignation takes effect as soon as the note has been forwarded.]
In severing the intimate and pleasant relations which have existed between us during the past two years, permit me to acknowledge the profound satisfaction which it has given me to be associated with you in the important work which has come before the State Department, and to thank you for the courtesies extended.
With the heartiest good wishes for your personal welfare and for the success of your Administration, I am, my dear Mr. President, very truly yours,
THE PRESIDENT TO SECRETARY BRYAN.
Washington, June 8, 1915.
My Dear Mr. Bryan:
I accept your resignation only because you insist upon its acceptance; and I accept it with much more than deep regret, with a feeling of personal sorrow.
Our two years of close association have been very delightful to me. Our judgments have accorded in practically every matter of official duty and of public policy until now; your support of the work and purposes of the Administration has been generous and loyal beyond praise; your devotion to the duties of your great office and your eagerness to take advantage of every great opportunity for service it offered have been an example to the rest of us; you have earned our affectionate admiration and friendship. Even now we are not separated in the object we seek, but only in the method by which we seek it.
It is for these reasons my feeling about your retirement from the Secretaryship of State goes so much deeper than regret. I sincerely deplore it.
Our objects are the same and we ought to pursue them together. I yield to your desire only because I must and wish to bid you Godspeed in the parting. We shall continue to work for the same causes even when we do not work in the same way.
With affectionate regard,
To Hon. William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State.
ROBERT LANSING, SECRETARY OF STATE AD INTERIM.
The White House, Washington, June 9, 1915.
The Hon. William Jennings Bryan having resigned the office of Secretary of State, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby, in conformity with the provisions of Sections 177 and 179 of the Revised Statutes, and of the act of Congress approved February 9, 1891, authorize and direct the Hon. Robert Lansing, Counselor for the Department of State, to perform the duties of the office of Secretary of State for a period not to exceed thirty days, until a Secretary shall have been appointed and have qualified.
PRESIDENT WILSON'S REPLY TO BERLIN
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, June 9, 1915.
American Ambassador, Berlin:
You are instructed to deliver textually the following note to the Minister of Foreign Affairs:
In compliance with your Excellency's request I did not fail to transmit to my Government immediately upon their receipt your note of May 28 in reply to my note of May 15, and your supplementary note of June 1, setting forth the conclusions so far as reached by the Imperial German Government concerning the attacks on the American steamers Cushing and Gulflight. I am now instructed by my Government to communicate the following in reply:
The Government of the United States notes with gratification the full recognition by the Imperial German Government, in discussing the cases of the Cushing and the Gulflight, of the principle of the freedom of all parts of the open sea to neutral ships and the frank willingness of the Imperial German Government to acknowledge and meet its liability where the fact of attack upon neutral ships "which have not been guilty of any hostile act" by German aircraft or vessels of war is satisfactorily established; and the Government of the United States will in due course lay before the Imperial German Government, as it requests, full information concerning the attack on the steamer Cushing.
With regard to the sinking of the steamer Falaba, by which an American citizen lost his life, the Government of the United States is surprised to find the Imperial German Government contending that an effort on the part of a merchantman to escape capture and secure assistance alters the obligation of the officer seeking to make the capture in respect of the safety of the lives of those on board the merchantman, although the vessel had ceased her attempt to escape when torpedoed. These are not new circumstances. They have been in the minds of statesmen and of international jurists throughout the development of naval warfare, and the Government of the United States does not understand that they have ever been held to alter the principles of humanity upon which it has insisted. Nothing but actual forcible resistance or continued efforts to escape by flight when ordered to stop for the purpose of visit on the part of the merchantman has ever been held to forfeit the lives of her passengers or crew. The Government of the United States, however, does not understand that the Imperial German Government is seeking in this case to relieve itself of liability, but only intends to set forth the circumstances which led the commander of the submarine to allow himself to be hurried into the course which he took.
Your Excellency's note, in discussing the loss of American lives resulting from the sinking of the steamship Lusitania, adverts at some length to certain information which the Imperial German Government has received with regard to the character and outfit of that vessel, and your Excellency expresses the fear that this information may not have been brought to the attention of the Government of the United States. It is stated in the note that the Lusitania was undoubtedly equipped with masked guns, supplied with trained gunners and special ammunition, transporting troops from Canada, carrying a cargo not permitted under the laws of the United States to a vessel also carrying passengers, and serving, in virtual effect, as an auxiliary to the naval forces of Great Britain. Fortunately these are matters concerning which the Government of the United States is in a position to give the Imperial German Government official information. Of the facts alleged in your Excellency's note, if true, the Government of the United States would have been bound to take official cognizance in performing its recognized duty as a neutral power and in enforcing its national laws. It was its duty to see to it that the Lusitania was not armed for offensive action, that she was not serving as a transport, that she did not carry a cargo prohibited by the statutes of the United States, and that, if in fact she was a naval vessel of Great Britain, she should not receive clearance as a merchantman; and it performed that duty and enforced its statutes with scrupulous vigilance through its regularly constituted officials. It is able, therefore, to assure the Imperial German Government that it has been misinformed. If the Imperial German Government should deem itself to be in possession of convincing evidence that the officials of the Government of the United States did not perform these duties with thoroughness the Government of the United States sincerely hopes that it will submit that evidence for consideration.
Whatever may be the contentions of the Imperial German Government regarding the carriage of contraband of war on board the Lusitania or regarding the explosion of that material by the torpedo, it need only be said that in the view of this Government these contentions are irrelevant to the question of the legality of the methods used by the German naval authorities in sinking the vessel.
But the sinking of passenger ships involves principles of humanity which throw into the background any special circumstances of detail that may be thought to affect the cases, principles which lift it, as the Imperial German Government will no doubt be quick to recognize and acknowledge, out of the class of ordinary subjects of diplomatic discussion or of international controversy. Whatever be the other facts regarding the Lusitania, the principal fact is that a great steamer, primarily and chiefly a conveyance for passengers, and carrying more than a thousand souls who had no part or lot in the conduct of the war, was torpedoed and sunk without so much as a challenge or a warning, and that men, women, and children were sent to their death in circumstances unparalleled in modern warfare. The fact that more than one hundred American citizens were among those who perished made it the duty of the Government of the United States to speak of these things and once more, with solemn emphasis, to call the attention of the Imperial German Government to the grave responsibility which the Government of the United States conceives that it has incurred in this tragic occurrence, and to the indisputable principle upon which that responsibility rests. The Government of the United States is contending for something much greater than mere rights of property or privileges of commerce. It is contending for nothing less high and sacred than the rights of humanity, which every Government honors itself in respecting and which no Government is justified in resigning on behalf of those under its care and authority. 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. This principle the Government of the United States understands the explicit instructions issued on August 3, 1914, by the Imperial German Admiralty to its commanders at sea to have recognized and embodied, as do the naval codes of all other nations, and upon it every traveler and seaman had a right to depend. It is upon this principle of humanity as well as upon the law founded upon this principle that the United States must stand.
[Footnote 3: The reference made by President Wilson in his first note of May 13 to the German Government regarding the sinking of the Lusitania to the "humane and enlightened attitude hitherto assumed by the Imperial German Government in matters of international right, and particularly with regard to the freedom of the seas," was based, it was learned in Washington on June 12, upon the instructions of Aug. 3, 1914, which the German Government sent to its naval commanders. These German rules are now in the possession of the State Department. While no mention is made in them of submarine warfare, the extent and method of the exercise of the right of search and the stoppage of ships is prescribed with great nicety, and provision is made for the safety of passengers and crew. After outlining the purpose of visiting and searching vessels, the regulations state:
All measures are to be carried out in a form whose observance, even against the enemy, will comport with the dignity of the German Empire and with a regard for neutrals conformable to the usages of international law and the German interest.
The method of signaling ships to be halted is prescribed, and it is directed that "two successive blank charges are to be fired, and, if necessary, a shotted charge over the ship" if the signals are not obeyed. "If the ship does not then stop or makes resistance, the Captain will compel her to stop," the instructions continue. After specifying what ships may be captured and destroyed, the regulations continue:
Before destruction all persons on board, if possible with their personal effects, are to be placed in safety and all the ship's papers and other articles of evidence, which in the opinion of the interested parties are of value for the judgment of the prize court, are to be taken over by the Captain.]
The Government of the United States is happy to observe that your Excellency's note closes with the intimation that the Imperial German Government is willing, now as before, to accept the good offices of the United States in an attempt to come to an understanding with the Government of Great Britain by which the character and conditions of the war upon the sea may be changed. The Government of the United States would consider it a privilege thus to serve its friends and the world. It stands ready at any time to convey to either Government any intimation or suggestion the other may be willing to have it convey and cordially invites the Imperial German Government to make use of its services in this way at its convenience. The whole world is concerned in anything that may bring about even a partial accommodation of interests or in any way mitigate the terrors of the present distressing conflict.
In the meantime, whatever arrangement may happily be made between the parties to the war, and whatever may in the opinion of the Imperial German Government have been the provocation or the circumstantial justification for the past acts of its commanders at sea, the Government of the United States confidently looks to see the justice and humanity of the Government of Germany vindicated in all cases where Americans have been wronged or their rights as neutrals invaded.
The Government of the United States therefore very earnestly and very solemnly renews the representations of its note transmitted to the Imperial German Government on the 15th of May, and relies in these representations upon the principles of humanity, the universally recognized understandings of international law, and the ancient friendship of the German Nation.
The Government of the United States cannot admit that the proclamation of a war zone from which neutral ships have been warned to keep away may be made to operate as in any degree an abbreviation of the rights either of American shipmasters or of American citizens bound on lawful errands as passengers on merchant ships of belligerent nationality. It does not understand the Imperial German Government to question those rights. It understands it, also, to accept as established beyond question the principle that the lives of non combatants cannot lawfully or rightfully be put in jeopardy by the capture or destruction of an unresisting merchantman, and to recognize the obligation to take sufficient precaution to ascertain whether a suspected merchantman is in fact of belligerent nationality or is in fact carrying contraband of war under a neutral flag. The Government of the United States therefore deems it reasonable to expect that the Imperial German Government will adopt the measures necessary to put these principles into practice in respect of the safeguarding of American lives and American ships, and asks for assurances that this will be done.
ROBERT LANSING, Secretary of State ad Interim.
THE LUSITANIA'S "GUNS"
In a Washington dispatch of June 2, 1915, to THE NEW YORK TIMES, the following report appeared:
In his conversation with President Wilson today the German Ambassador said that he had obtained evidence through means of affidavits that the Lusitania was an armed vessel, as asserted by the German Government. The affidavits to which Count von Bernstorff referred have been placed in possession of the State Department, which has turned them over to the Department of Justice for an investigation as to the statements sworn to and the character of the individuals making them.
One of the affidavits is made by Gustav Stahl of 20 Leroy Street, New York City. He says:
On the day prior to the sailing of the Lusitania, I was asked by my friend, A. Lietch, who was employed as first cabin steward, to help him to bring his trunk aboard. In the course of the evening we went on board, without being hindered by the quartermaster on guard. After having remained some time in the "gloria," (steward's quarters,) we went to the stern main deck. About fifteen to eighteen feet from the entrance to the "gloria," on port and starboard, respectively, I saw two guns of twelve to fifteen centimeters. They were covered with leather, but the barrel was distinctly to be seen. To satisfy my curiosity I unfastened the buckles to ascertain the calibre of the guns. I could also ascertain that the guns were mounted on deck on wooden blocks. The guns were placed about three feet from the respective ship sides and the wall could be removed at that particular place.
On the foredeck there were also two guns of the same calibre and covered in the same manner. They were placed at about fifteen to twenty feet from the entrance of the crew's quarters, and four feet from the ship side, where the wall could also be removed.
Josephine Weir, who describes herself as a New York boarding house keeper, provided another affidavit. She swore that Lietch, who is named in Stahl's statement, told her he was to sail on the Lusitania as a steward, and when she spoke of the danger from German submarines, he said:
"Oh, I am not afraid. We have four big brightly polished copper guns."
A man named Grieve has an affidavit that he heard Lietch make this statement to Mrs. Weir.
In an affidavit furnished by one Bruckner it is stated that he saw a cannon on the Lusitania. He was standing on the dock in New York at the time, he avers.
The affidavits were supplied to the State Department by the German Embassy in order to support the allegation, contained in the German response to President Wilson's note of May 13, that the Lusitania was an armed vessel.
By The Associated Press.
WASHINGTON, June 2.—The four affidavits as presented to the State Department by the German Embassy alleging that guns were carried by the Lusitania are believed to constitute the evidence to which the German Government referred in its last note. Should it develop that the Foreign Office had been misinformed, German diplomatists said, an acknowledgment of the mistake would not be withheld.
These affidavits were not made public by either the embassy or the State Department, but the character of the individuals who made them and their testimony is being made the subject of a quiet investigation. Those officials who had seen the statements, however, were confident that they could not be accepted as disproving the testimony given by Inspectors whose duty it was to search for guns.
THE ARREST OF STAHL.
The following report appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES June 11, 1915:
Gustav Stahl, the former German soldier who made an affidavit that he saw four guns mounted on the Lusitania on the night before it sailed from this port on its last voyage and who disappeared immediately after the affidavit was made public, was produced by Secret Service men before the Federal Grand Jury yesterday afternoon at a proceeding to determine whether Paul Koenig, alias Stemler, who is the head of the detective bureau of the Hamburg-American Line, and others unnamed, had entered into a conspiracy to defraud the United States Government. The fraud is not stated specifically, and the charge is a technical one that may cover a variety of acts.
Stahl, who speaks little English, affirmed through an interpreter to the Grand Jury that he had seen the guns on the Lusitania. He was questioned for two hours and a half and told his story with great detail.
As he was leaving the Grand Jury room he was arrested by United States Marshal Thomas B. McCarthy on a complaint made on information and belief by Assistant District Attorney Raymond H. Sarfaty that Stahl had committed perjury in his testimony before the Federal Grand Jury. Stahl was held in bail of $10,000 by United States Commissioner Houghton and locked up in the Tombs.
Stahl was the only witness heard by the Grand Jury in the proceedings against Koenig. It was learned that Stahl had been in conference with Koenig before he made the affidavit, and that his affidavit had passed through Koenig's hands before it went to Ambassador Bernstorff, who submitted it to Secretary of State Bryan.
The proceedings against Koenig were initiated to establish the charge that Koenig used improper influence to induce Stahl to make the affidavit.
While Stahl was waiting in the Marshal's chamber in the Federal Building, after his arrest, for the arrival of Edward Sandford, a lawyer, of 27 William Street, who had been assigned to act as his counsel, he was asked, through an interpreter:
"Would you be willing to spend twenty years in jail for your Fatherland?"
"Make it a hundred!" he replied, in German, and then broke into a hearty laugh.
Stahl is about 27 years old and slightly under middle size. He has a round, somewhat rosy countenance, dark hair getting very thin in front, and parted in the middle, dark-brown eyes and a small, closely-cropped dark mustache. He was calm and smiling, ready with his answers, and very insistent and emphatic in repeating that he had seen the guns on the Lusitania.
He was neatly dressed in a dark mixed suit, with a new straw hat, a green tie on which was a stickpin with a dog's head in porcelain, brightly polished tan shoes, and lavender socks with scarlet-embroidered flowers.
Following is the complaint on which he was held:
Raymond H. Sarfaty, being duly sworn, deposes and says that he is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
That on the 10th day of June, 1915, there was then and there pending before the Grand Jury of the United States in and for the Southern District of New York, a certain proceeding against one Paul Koenig, alias Stemler, and others, upon a charge of having conspired to defraud the United States, in violation of Section 37, U.S.C.C.; that on the said 10th day of June, 1915, the foreman of said Grand Jury, Frederick M. Delano, an officer duly empowered and qualified to administer oaths in the proceedings before said Grand Jury, duly administered an oath to the said Gustav Stahl, that he would testify to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with respect to the aforesaid matter then being presented before the said Grand Jury; that the said Gustav Stahl, at the time and place aforesaid, and within the district aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this court, after said oath was administered, knowingly and fraudulently committed perjury, and that he testified in part, in substance, and effect as follows:
That on the 30th day of April, 1915, the said Gustav Stahl went aboard the steamship Lusitania at the City of New York, in the Southern District of New York, with one Neal J. Leach; that while on said steamship he saw four guns on one of the decks of said steamship, two forward and two aft; that the said guns were mounted on wooden blocks; that the said guns were covered with leather.
That affiant is informed and believes, and therefore avers, that, whereas, in truth and in fact, the said Gustav Stahl did not, on the 30th day of April, 1915, go aboard the steamship Lusitania at the City of New York, in the Southern District of New York, with one Neal J. Leach, nor did he, the said Gustav Stahl, go aboard the steamship Lusitania on said last mentioned date; and the said Gustav Stahl did not see four guns on the deck of the said steamship, two forward and two aft, nor did he, the said Gustav Stahl, see four guns on the deck of said steamship mounted on wooden blocks; nor did he, the said Gustav Stahl, see four guns on the deck of said steamship covered with leather.
That the said matters testified to before the said Grand Jury by the said Gustav Stahl, as aforesaid, were material matters in the investigation aforesaid; against the peace of the United States and their dignity, and contrary to the form of the statute of the United States in such case made and provided.
That to disclose the source of affiant's information at this time might defeat the ends of justice.
Wherefore, affiant prays that said Gustav Stahl may be arrested and imprisoned, or bailed, as the case may be.
This complaint was read to Stahl when he was taken before Commissioner Houghton, being interpreted for him, sentence by sentence. When the name of Neal J. Leach was read as the alleged steward who had taken him aboard the Lusitania, Stahl exclaimed: "Not Neal." In his affidavit he had described the steward as "A. Leach." A steward named Neal J. Leach went down when the Lusitania was torpedoed.
When that part of the complaint was read which said that Stahl had not seen guns on the Lusitania, he exclaimed in German:
"Yes, I did see them."
After the complaint had been read, Commissioner Houghton asked about bail. Assistant District Attorney Roger B. Wood, who conducted the proceedings before the Grand Jury, said:
"Ten thousand dollars, not a cent less."
Commissioner Houghton fixed bail at that figure. He then asked Stahl if he had anything to say, and the prisoner replied:
"Before I say anything I would like to see several gentlemen."
Commissioner Houghton then asked if he had a lawyer. Stahl replied that he had not, and that he had no means to employ one.
"Shall I assign one for you?" asked the Commissioner.
"No," replied Stahl; "I should like to have Mr. Sandford, who acted for me yesterday and the day before."
He referred to Edward Sandford of 27 William Street, who was counsel for Carl Buenz, a Director of the Hamburg-American Line, and for other officials of that line, who were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury on March 1 on the charge of conspiring against the United States by making out false clearance papers and false manifests for the collection of customs in connection with the steamships Fram, Somerstadt, Lorenzo, and Berwind, which were loaded with coal and provisions intended for the German cruiser Karlsruhe and the auxiliary cruiser Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
Commissioner Houghton assigned Mr. Sandford as counsel for Stahl. The Commissioner then asked Stahl if he had any friends in the room, to which Stahl with a smile, replied in the negative.
"I would like to have the date of June 24 set for the hearing," said Assistant District Attorney Wood. "The Grand Jury which is now holding this investigation will probably continue its hearings until then."
Commissioner Houghton fixed the date accordingly.
After the hearing adjourned Stahl was asked where he had been since his disappearance. He replied in German:
"I told the Grand Jury all I have to say."
He was asked where he would live if he got bail.
"I don't want anybody to know," he said. "I have had so many visitors in the past few days that I don't want any more, if I can help it."
He was asked if he was a German reservist, and he replied that that was his business. Other questions got the same response. He denied that he knew Paul Koenig, the Hamburg-American detective, but he admitted he knew Stemler, which is a name sometimes used by the detective. When he was informed that he was to spend the night in the Tombs he said:
"Will Stemler be with me?"
He seemed disappointed when he was told that he would have to go there alone. Stahl was asked if Josephine Weir, who had signed a corroborative affidavit, knew of his whereabouts during his hiding. He refused to answer this question, but of Josephine Weir he said in English:
"Oh, that's a nice girl."
Stahl sat smoking a cigar and laughing in the best of temper until a flashlight powder was exploded unexpectedly. He put both hands to his face and hid in a corner made by a wall and a filing cabinet, but when he realized that his picture had been taken he ran to a man whom he thought to be a Federal employe, and protested in German. A little later Mr. Sandford arrived with another interpreter and went into consultation with his client.
Stahl went to Albany on June 4, the day after his affidavit was made public. While a search was being conducted in this city and surrounding cities by Federal agents and newspapers, Stahl was in hiding in Albany, his expenses there being paid for him by a confidential adviser sent with him.
Instead of relaxing after a few days, the search for Stahl grew more rigorous. When it was seen that there was little chance of keeping Stahl in permanent seclusion and that the extraordinary character of the disappearance of the German Ambassador's chief witness against the Lusitania was arousing intense nationwide interest, Paul Koenig, the Secret Service man of the Hamburg-American Line, decided that it would be better if he were found at once.
On Monday of this week Koenig and Mr. Sandford called on Inspector Lamb of the Customs Service and told him that Stahl was at Albany and would be available if the Federal officials wanted him. Superintendent William M. Offley, of the special agents of the Department of Justice, had at that time some strong clues as to Stahl's whereabouts.
On Tuesday Stahl and his personal conductor arrived in this city from Albany and were met by Superintendent Offley and Special Agents Adams and Pigniullo. Stahl was taken to the office of Superintendent Offley in the presence of Mr. Sandford, who was asked to take part in the proceedings in the interests of fair play, although he was not then Stahl's lawyer.
At this examination and at a second one held on Wednesday, Stahl repeated his charge that he had seen guns on the Lusitania. He showed great familiarity with the details of the construction of the Lusitania.
At the end of the examination it was urged by representatives of the Hamburg-American Line that Stahl should stay under the watch of the Federal agents in order that, if he told a different story later, there could be no charge that outsiders had tampered with him. Stahl remained with the Government detectives on Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday, although he was not under arrest. When he appeared yesterday before the Grand Jury it was under a subpoena.
Assistant District Attorney Wood said yesterday that the charge of perjury had been lodged against Stahl on the strength of the statement by the Collector of the Port, Dudley Field Malone, that there were no guns aboard the Lusitania.
"We can bring fifty witnesses," he said, "to prove that the Lusitania had no guns on board and that Stahl is guilty of perjury."
Mr. Wood was asked if there was any evidence that Stahl had ever been in the employ of the German Consul-General at this port or of Captain Boy-Ed, Naval Attache of the German Embassy, who is said to be the head of the German Secret Service here. Mr. Wood refused to discuss either question. When he was asked if the investigation promised to involve any man of importance, he said:
"I don't know. We are holding the Grand Jury investigation to find out all that we can about the case."
After consulting with Stahl, Mr. Sandford said that he would not represent the prisoner but would seek to get a good lawyer for him at once. When asked if he represented Koenig, he refused to say. He was asked if he knew anything about the charge against Koenig. He said:
"No. The charge of attempting to defraud the Government is a charge on which the Government can get anybody at any time for anything."
CAPT. TURNER'S DENIAL.
A London cable dispatch of June 15 to THE NEW YORK TIMES said:
At the opening of the Court of Inquiry today into the torpedoing of the steamship Lusitania on May 7, two outstanding points were vividly impressed. One was that the Cunarder was unarmed. The other was that the ship was proceeding at reduced speed, eighteen knots an hour, only nineteen of her twenty-five boilers being used, the result of her effort to save in coal and labor.
Sir Edward Carson, the Attorney General, in outlining the evidence in the hands of the Crown, adverted impressively to President Wilson's note to Germany on the sinking of the Lusitania in which the President informed the German Government that it was wrong in assuming that the Lusitania was equipped with masked guns and manned by trained gunners. "We have ample evidence to disprove the German lie that the Lusitania was armed," said the Attorney General. "Aside from the word of witnesses we have that of President Wilson in his recent note to Germany, based upon investigation made by officials under him. The sinking of the Lusitania was murder."
Sir Edward lifted a newspaper clipping of the President's note from the table and slowly read the passage disposing of the German allegation that the Lusitania was an armed auxiliary.
Captain W.T. Turner, who seemed slightly grayer than before the Lusitania was torpedoed, in that way alone showing the strain under which he has been since his ship was sunk under him, gave evidence that there was not one gun on the Lusitania's deck, and declared that the German assertion that the steamer was armed was a "sheer lie."
STAHL INDICTED FOR PERJURY.
In THE NEW YORK TIMES of June 19 appeared the following report of the Grand Jury's indictment of Stahl on a charge of perjury and the announcement that the Federal investigation will be continued:
Gustav Stahl, the alleged German reservist, who made an affidavit that he had seen guns on board the Lusitania on the day before she sailed on her last voyage, was indicted on a charge of perjury by the Federal Grand Jury yesterday. The perjury charge is based on his testimony before the Grand Jury, during which examination he repeated that he had seen the guns on the Lusitania as set forth in his affidavit filed by the German Embassy in Washington and now in the hands of the State Department.
The name of Paul Koenig, who, it is said, was known to Stahl as Stemler, and who is the chief of the secret service of the Hamburg-American Line, is mentioned by name in the indictment. The indictment sets forth that on June 10 there was pending before the Grand Jury an investigation concerning Koenig and others and that Stahl was among the witnesses called in the course of that investigation. It then goes on to say that Stahl testified in substance and to the effect that on April 30 he went aboard the Lusitania, then with one Leach, and that while on the vessel he saw four guns on one of the decks of the steamship, two forward and two aft, and all mounted on wooden blocks and covered with leather. The indictment further charges that at the time of so swearing Stahl did not believe it to be true that he had been on board the Lusitania and had seen the four guns.
The indictment, in conclusion, charges that there were no guns upon the decks of the Lusitania on April 30. "Therefore," the Grand Jury charges, "that Stahl, after taking an oath before a competent officer to truly depose and testify, did willfully, knowingly and feloniously and contrary to his said oath, depose and state material matters which were not true and which he did not then believe to be true, and thereby did commit willful and corrupt perjury against the peace of the United States and their dignity and contrary to the form of the statute of the United States in such cases made and provided."
Stahl will be arraigned before Judge Russell in the criminal branch of the United States District Court on Monday. He is now in the Tombs in default of $10,000 bail. Should he be convicted of perjury he may be sentenced to prison for five years or fined $10,000, or both.
The indictment of Stahl does not mean that the Government's investigation of the Lusitania affidavits, and the way in which they were procured, is at an end. On the other hand it is proceeding vigorously. Three witnesses, all Government officials, were before the Grand Jury yesterday in connection with the case. Heinz Hardenberg, who was found in Cincinnati a week ago today and brought here to be examined by the Grand Jury, has not yet appeared before that body, although the Government agents insist they can produce him when his testimony is desired.
THE NEBRASKAN CASE.
An Associated Press dispatch dated at London on May 26, 1915, reported:
The American steamer Nebraskan, Captain Greene, from Liverpool May 24 for Delaware Breakwater, was torpedoed yesterday evening by a submarine at a point forty miles west-southwest of Fastnet, off the south coast of Ireland. [Captain Greene's report, given below, says the Nebraskan was "struck by either mine or torpedo."]
The sea was calm at the time. The crew at once took to the boats and stood by the steamer. It was soon ascertained that the Nebraskan was not seriously damaged, but she had been struck forward, and her foreholds were full of water.
The crew returned on board and got the vessel under way. No lives were lost among the crew. The Nebraskan did not carry any passengers.
This information was received at the British Admiralty in London, and it was at once communicated to the American Embassy.
Immediately she was struck the Nebraskan began calling for help by wireless. Brow Head received the wireless communication at 9 P.M. yesterday from Crookhaven.
A message to Lloyd's from Kinsale, Ireland, says that the Nebraskan passed that point at 11 o'clock this morning. She was down at the bows, but was proceeding under her own steam, and flying the signal: "I am not under control."
The vessel passed Queenstown in the afternoon on the way to Liverpool. She was proceeding at eight knots.
A message to The Star from Liverpool says that the name and nationality of the Nebraskan were painted in large letters on her sides. She was in water ballast.
A message to Lloyd's says that an armed trawler went to the assistance of the Nebraskan and stood by her all night.
The report that the Nebraskan had been torpedoed caused surprise to American officials here. Apparently the affair occurred before 9 o'clock last night.
Last evening was clear, and the period between 8 and 9 o'clock is the twilight hour in the British islands at this season.
The German submarine campaign is continuing actively. Dispatches from Norway state that the people of that country have been aroused by the sinking last week of the Norwegian steamer Minerva and the attempt to torpedo the Iris, which went to her assistance.
The steamer Cromer, loaded with passengers, had a narrow escape from being torpedoed while bound for Rotterdam yesterday. A submarine fired a torpedo without warning. It missed the ship by only fifteen yards. According to the Captain's story, told to Rotterdam correspondents, the periscope was seen 500 yards distant, and then the wash of the torpedo, which was moving so rapidly that nothing could be done to avoid it. The attack occurred at a point four miles north of North Hinder Lightship.
The first news of the Nebraskan having been disabled off the southwest coast of Ireland was received on May 26, at the office of the American-Hawaiian Line in a message from the Captain, which read:
Struck by either mine or torpedo, forty-eight miles west of Fastnet. Am steaming under convoy to Liverpool. Water in lower hold. No one injured.
Three dispatches concerning the Nebraskan incident were received at the State Department at Washington on May 26—one from Walter H. Page, the American Ambassador in London, and two from Robert P. Skinner, the United States Consul General in London. The dispatch from the Ambassador said:
Urgent. Report at midnight last night to British Admiralty from Lands End states that American steamer Nebraskan torpedoed forty-five miles south by west of Southcliffe, crew taking to boats. British trawler standing by now reports Nebraskan still afloat and making for Liverpool with four holds full of water. No lives reported lost.
The first dispatch from Consul General Skinner was as follows:
Admiralty reports American steamer Nebraskan, Liverpool for Delaware Breakwater, torpedoed forty miles south by west of Fastnet. Crew in boats. Standing by. Weather fine.
The following cablegram came from the Consul General:
Nebraskan proceeding to Liverpool under own steam about 8-1/2 knots, crew having returned on board. Apparently no lives lost. Extent of damage unknown.
In an Associated Press dispatch from Crookhaven, Ireland, on May 26, this report appeared:
It was learned today that a submarine was seen last night off the southern coast of Ireland. She was sighted soon after 9 P.M., near Barley Cove, which is about ten miles from Fastnet. The mishap to the steamer Nebraskan is reported to have occurred shortly before 9 o'clock, about forty miles from Fastnet.
A steamer was seen outside Crookhaven, which lies just north of Barley Cove, at about 9 o'clock last night. As she approached in the direction of Fastnet Lighthouse two loud reports of a gun were heard. A boat in Crookhaven Harbor went in the direction of the steamer which put about and was lost to sight.
Several residents of Crookhaven turned out and went along the shore, keeping a sharp lookout. They sighted a submarine off Cove, near the mouth of a little creek. One of the men on shore fired two shots with a rifle at the man in the conning tower of the submarine. The submarine dived immediately, but soon rose again further out. Three more shots were fired at her and she again disappeared.
The detailed report on the Nebraskan incident by Lieutenant Towers of the American Embassy in London, as submitted by Ambassador Gerard to the State Department, is thus described in a Washington dispatch to THE NEW YORK TIMES of June 16, 1915:
Evidence indicating that the American steamer Nebraskan was torpedoed by a German submarine on May 25, was obtained by the State Department today when it received a long mail report from Ambassador Page at London containing the results of the investigation conducted by the American Consul General at Liverpool upon the arrival of the Nebraskan at that port.
Ambassador Page's mail report contained the detailed report made by Lieutenant John H. Towers, Naval Attache of the American Embassy at London, who made a technical and expert examination of the Nebraskan in drydock at Liverpool. Lieutenant Towers's report contained a number of photographs of the shattered fore section of the hull of the Nebraskan, but the most interesting feature of the report consisted of exhibits in the form of what Secretary Lansing described as "fragments of metal."
While officials would not make known the character of these fragments or the details of the report until they had opportunity to carefully examine the data, it was learned tonight that the report indicated that the Nebraskan was torpedoed, and that the fragments sent with the report consisted of portions of the shell of a torpedo, which were found in the hull of the Nebraskan.
The report also contained the depositions of three of the officers of the Nebraskan, taken by the Consul at Liverpool, including the statement of the Captain and the Chief Engineer. The latter stated that at 8:24 o'clock on the night of May 25, after the flag of the Nebraskan had been hauled down, he observed a white streak in the water perpendicular to the ship on the starboard side and a severe shock was almost instantly felt, followed by a violent explosion abreast of No. 1 hold.
The report of Lieutenant Towers showed that the hatch covers of No. 1 hold were blown off, also the cargo booms above it, and that the bottom plating and pieces of the side of the ship were blown up through two decks of the ship.
THE "FRAGMENTS OF METAL"
The following appeared as a special dispatch from Washington to THE NEW YORK TIMES, dated June 17:
Despite the extreme secrecy of officials, indications were abundant in Washington tonight that the case of the American steamer Nebraskan, believed to have been torpedoed by a German submarine, was assuming great importance in the eyes of the United States Government. One evidence of this is found in the unusual pains that are being taken to determine by indisputable evidence whether the Nebraskan, which was damaged by an external explosion off Fastnet Rock, on May 25, was the victim of a torpedo or a mine.
Despite the reports forwarded by Ambassador Page, the Administration is unwilling to base its conclusions in the Nebraskan case on the verbal evidence it already possesses. It has determined upon an independent expert, technical, and scientific examination of the "fragments of metal" that have been sent by Ambassador Page, in conjunction with the photographs that have been received. This investigation is being conducted by experts of the Navy Department, and will probably take about ten days. Robert Lansing, the Secretary of State ad interim, refused tonight to discuss the "fragments of metal" received from Ambassador Page in connection with the Nebraskan case further than to say that the reports received yesterday, with the photographs and accompanying exhibits, had been referred to the Navy Department. Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, said tonight that the report had been referred to experts of the Navy Department for a confidential report to be submitted to the State Department.
Neither at the State Department nor from any official or officer of the Navy Department was it possible to obtain any further clue as to the character of the reports.
It was learned that the reports accompanying the set of photographs and "fragments of metal" were not the original reports on the Nebraskan case, made by Lieutenants Towers and McBride, which were received by the State Department last week, but were in the nature of a second set of supplementary reports, based on actual examination of the battered bow of the Nebraskan and the technical examination of the interior of her forward compartment. This examination was made by Lieutenants Towers and McBride, while the Nebraskan was in a drydock at Liverpool. Photographs of the interior and exterior of the steamer's hull were taken by the naval experts.
The "fragments" in question will be analyzed metallurgically for the purpose of ascertaining precisely what metal they contain. Generally speaking, torpedoes are made of a higher grade of metal, within and without, than that used in the construction of mines. The exterior metal of torpedoes consists of nickel steel and copper, and the interior mechanism includes the same kinds of metal and brass. The exterior shell of a mine is generally made of less expensive material, such as galvanized iron, but the interior mechanism and clock-work are of finer metal.
In the examination being conducted by the Navy Department the metallurgical nature of the fragments will be ascertained after their size, shape, contour and character have been very carefully studied by a large number of naval experts who will endeavor to ascertain not only the character of the naval engine of destruction these fragments once fitted, but also the particular portion of torpedo or mine the fragments constituted. These studies and tests are to be conducted partly in the Navy Department, partly at the Washington Navy Yard, partly at the naval proving grounds at Indian Head, Md., and partly at the experimental station at the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
All the naval experts in Washington qualified to have a hand in the tests will be utilized. There are some naval experts outside of Washington, within a few days' reach of the city, who will be summoned here to participate in the examination. It is understood the examination will continue about ten days before any report can be formulated for submission to the State Department.
While this unusual care is being exercised in the tests of the fragments, it is understood that there is nothing in the conclusions thus far drawn in the reports to indicate that the fragments were once part of a mine, and that the reports as they stand indicate that the Nebraskan was hit by a torpedo. This is the conclusion the Administration is expected to draw from the evidence unless the technical examination of the fragments nullifies this evidence.
Dr. Meyer-Gerhard's Mission
In a cable dispatch from Berlin, via London, dated June 2, 1915, the following complaint of lack of official news from Washington and of means for obtaining it was made known by the German Government:
The German Foreign Office is unable to communicate with Count von Bernstorff, the Ambassador at Washington, except by wireless in plain language, and even this mode of communication is uncertain during periods when the static conditions of the atmosphere are unfavorable.
Reports which reach the newspapers are regarded with suspicion, not only because they come exclusively through British channels, but on account of their contradictory character.
One set of reports intimates that the German counter-proposals have been found to harmonize with Mr. Bryan's plan of providing for a period of investigation in cases of international conflict, while other advices reproduce various American editorials, declaring that the German note is utterly unacceptable, and demanding that steps of varying degrees of aggressiveness be taken.
While waiting, the time is being utilized by some of the more aggressive German newspapers and writers of the type of Reventlow to launch abusive articles against the United States and President Wilson's policy, but the press and public generally seem desirous of avoiding anything which might increase the tension between the two Governments while the German note is under consideration. In this they are acting in complete accord with the Foreign Office, which apparently is sincerely anxious to preserve friendly relations with the United States and deprecates any publication which would tend to inflame the feelings either in Germany or America.
There seems to be no doubt that the Foreign Office would rejoice at a solution consistent with German interests, and it is considered here that one of the unfortunate features of the situation is the inability of the Foreign Office to cope with the chronic firebrands of the press.
This complaint was followed by the news, published by The Chicago Herald on June 4, that a special arrangement had been effected by Ambassador Bernstorff in his conference with President Wilson on June 2, as follows:
With the approval of the President of the United States, Count von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador in Washington, has sent a special agent to Berlin to discuss the American view of the Lusitania tragedy with the German Government.
The agent is Dr. Anton Meyer-Gerhard. He sailed today for Denmark. It is not believed that his voyage will be interfered with. Mr. Gerhard's connection with the great question between the United States and Germany has been guarded with the utmost secrecy. It leaked out only when inquiries were made regarding his departure in such a hurry. Mr. Gerhard himself could not be seen.
The suggestion that Mr. Gerhard go to Berlin was made by Count von Bernstorff to the President at the White House conference on Wednesday. The Ambassador described to the President the difficulties he experienced in transmitting information to his Government. He cannot use the cables, which are in the possession of the Allies. So far as wireless is concerned, conditions make it almost impossible to send anything but the briefest dispatches. As a result, Germany is not well informed in regard to the reasons controlling the policy of the Administration or the state of public sentiment. If his Government were adequately informed the Ambassador is confident that it would look at the demands of the United States in a different fashion.
The President apparently appreciated the view presented by the Ambassador. In any event, he authorized him to send an agent to Berlin, and it is presumed that thereupon he was apprised of the identity of the man selected. Count von Bernstorff vouched for Mr. Gerhard as thoroughly informed on the entire diplomatic situation as well as upon the condition of public sentiment. In addition, he is carrying full explanatory reports from the Ambassador himself.
[Dr. Meyer-Gerhard arrived in Berlin via Copenhagen on June 16 and reported at the German Colonial Office. While en route The Providence Journal and The New York Tribune published stories, varying in detail, to the effect that the United States Government had been hoaxed into obtaining safe conduct into Germany for a Dr. Alfred Meyer, reported to be a German buyer of munitions of war in this country, either under the name of Dr. Anton Meyer-Gerhard, falsely given, or under Meyer-Gerhard's protection. On receiving assurances to the contrary from Count von Bernstorff, Secretary Lansing announced on June 18 that the charge was false.]
Germany's Press Opinion
Editorial comment of the German newspapers on President Wilson's note of June 9 was reported by THE TIMES staff correspondent in Berlin on June 12 as being "surprisingly restrained and optimistic." Captain L. Persius, the naval critic of the Berliner Tageblatt, which is close to Dr. von Bethmann-Hollweg, writing under the caption, "On the Way to an Understanding," said:
An agreement is possible and the Washington Government shows an honest desire to arrive at an agreement. This is characteristic of the American note. There is no evidence of rattling the sabre, as those who viewed American statesmen and American conditions rightly anticipated. The hopes of our enemies who have already rejoiced at the thought that the Stars and Stripes soon would be floating beside the union jack and the tricolor are proved false, and one can anticipate that the answer of our Government will put aside that last stumbling block to doing away with all differences. The note indicates that America by no means takes the position that the German Admiralty must issue an order to end the submarine warfare before any negotiations can be entered upon. Giving up submarine warfare is only hinted at by implication. Germany's humanity is appealed to entirely in general terms and merely the expectation is expressed that the lives of American citizens and their property will be spared in the future.
A willingness is expressed to help make England give up the plan to starve out Germany. The giving up of the attempt to starve Germany out on the part of England is the most important point for us. The main interest will centre in future upon it. Will England declare herself ready to return to the basis of the London Declaration? Will she no longer place any difficulties in the way of neutral commerce, and in particular will she remove the declaration of the North Sea as a war zone? We will wait and see if the English statesmen have learned that Germany can't be starved. We can await Great Britain's decision with quietness.
The evening edition of the Vossische Zeitung said:
President Wilson's note creates no new situation between Germany and America, but its honorable and carefully weighed tone will help to clear up the existing situation. There can be no difference of opinion about Mr. Wilson's final aim—that the lives of peaceful neutrals must be kept out of danger. What we can do and what America must do to achieve this will require negotiations between us and America, which must be conducted with every effort toward being just and by maintaining our standpoint in the friendliest spirit.
The Lokalanzeiger commented:
The colored reports spread by our enemies are not borne out by the text, which contains no trace of an ultimatum. The tone is friendly and free from all brusqueness. The contents are only a rewriting of the earlier standpoint, and it will be a matter for further negotiations to state again the arguments advanced by Germany and to justify them. It would be premature to comment on individual points, particularly those of a technical nature. One can rejoice, however, that the Wilson note is so couched as not to preclude a possibility for further negotiations promising success.
He gives the German Government an opportunity to send further proofs in the Lusitania case and declares his willingness to negotiate between Germany and England relative to mutual concessions having a bearing on submarine warfare. This offer, to be sure, would have been decidedly more valuable if he had expressed a willingness to take the initiative. But be that as it may, in the further negotiations America will see that on the German side exists an honorable desire to deal with friendly suggestions in a friendly spirit. In any event, the situation resulting from the American note is such that it is apparent that in the statement trumpeted abroad that America had also entered the ranks of our enemies the wish was father to the thought.
The widely read Mittag Zeitung said of the note:
The alarming messages which the Reuter Bureau appended to the Bryan resignation must be all taken back today. There is neither an ultimatum nor any threatening language toward Germany in the note. To be sure, the difference between America's and Germany's conception of the submarine warfare remain. The Americans for the present simply will not see that the best protection against endangering the lives of American citizens is for Americans not to go aboard English ships.
Over the question of whether the Lusitania carried ammunition or not, which for us is not in question, the present inquiry will throw some light. In any case, the English hope and prophecy that the new note would mean a rupture in the German-American negotiations have not been fulfilled. For everything else we can wait with calmness.
The morning edition of the Vossische Zeitung, commenting on the summary, merely said:
The contents and tone of this note make it inexplainable that the break between Wilson and Bryan was on its account. After Bryan's declarations we had expected a note which might conjure up danger of a German-American war. Mr. Bryan, who heads all the American peace associations and likes to hear himself popularly referred to as the Prince of Peace, apparently wants to appear as the savior from this danger for reasons of internal politics, so as to win peace friends among the German-Americans, Irish, and Jews with a view to the Democratic Presidential nomination. Mr. Wilson, on the other hand, hopes as negotiator between England and Germany to play the role of arbiter mundi and through a great success in foreign politics assure his position at home. The new Secretary, Mr. Lansing, has been long considered a coming man. He has by no means been considered an out-and-out friend of England.
The Morgen Post, in a particularly sane two-column editorial, expresses Germany's genuine satisfaction over America's hearty offer of good offices, and says:
There is no tinge of threat or high-handed tone toward Germany in the note. On the contrary, its tone is quiet though earnest throughout, and in several places it strikes a note of whole-hearted friendship and seeks to leave a way open for further friendly negotiations. No doubt the German Government will accept America's proffered good offices with pleasure. It will be interesting to see what attitude the English will now take. If they will revise the contraband list set up by themselves and desist from making difficulties for neutral commerce with Germany, and, above all, let foodstuffs and textile raw materials through unhindered to Germany, then so far as we are concerned the submarine warfare can cease.
Let the English continue to violate international law whereby they forced us to resort to the use of the submarine as a weapon against their commerce, and we will never allow ourselves to be persuaded to give up this weapon, the only one we have to protect us against violation at the hands of England and with which we can punish England for her unlawful conduct. Should America's good offices prove to be in vain it will be not ours but England's fault, and the Americans will then readily understand that the reproach of an inhuman mode of warfare must be laid at the doors of England and not Germany.
It will soon be seen whether President Wilson employs the same measure of energy against the English as against us. We sincerely hope so because of the friendly, hearty tone of his note. "The American Government cannot admit that the proclamation of a war zone may be made to abbreviate the rights of American citizens?" Really not? We recall that at the beginning of the war England declared the whole North Sea as a war zone and the Americans did not get excited at that time. We had a right to protest bitterly at America's attitude then, but we will forget about it at the present moment. America has proffered her good offices, and we will not doubt that her intentions are honorable and meant in good faith.
Paul Michaelis, in the Tageblatt, said:
It is certain that the note does not simplify the serious situation, and it is equally certain that it does not completely bar the way to a peaceful and friendly understanding. The American Government holds fast to the principle that submarine warfare on merchantmen is inconsistent with the principles of justice and humanity, but the German Government has never left the slightest doubt that it only decided on the submarine warfare because the English method of scorning all previous rules of naval warfare forced Germany to a counter-war on commerce with the submarine.
But there seems to be no reason why the German and American Governments should not get together in a joint discussion looking toward some other form of naval warfare. This presupposes that England, which took the first step in the commerce war, also takes the first step to end it. At the same time the question must be investigated of how ammunition shipments to our enemies can be reconciled with the eternal principles of humanity featured by the American note.
While there may be some practical difficulties, there can be no doubt of Germany's willingness to help to bring about a modification of the naval war along more humane lines. The answer to the American note must, of course, take most carefully into account all the diplomatic, political, and military exigencies, and it will be several weeks before it is ready to be handed to the American Ambassador, especially as we must wait to hear Dr. Meyer-Gerhard.
But it must be said now that the German people, now, as formerly, lay great value on a continuation of unclouded relations with the United States, whose war for freedom it once greeted with rejoicing, and within whose borders millions of Germans have found a new home.
Count Reventlow, Germany's "enfant terrible" who has been a consistent thorn in the flesh of the German Foreign Office because of his anti-American utterances, struck a surprisingly restrained and moderate tone in the Tageszeitung:
The question is not how it may be possible to do away with all differences of opinion under all circumstances, but whether it is at all possible to do away with them without rendering the submarine war impotent. This standpoint contains nothing unfriendly, nothing brusque against the United States. The practical question remains whether we can preserve our German standpoint and still come to an understanding with America. If Mr. Wilson holds to his non-recognition of the war zone, with all its corollaries, then we cannot see how we can possibly come to a real understanding.
On the other hand, the question arises whether President Wilson would continue to cling to that standpoint if certain modifications and mutual guarantees could be brought about which under certain circumstances would render American passenger traffic safe.
A newspaper war between advocates of a friendly settlement and the "no compromise" representatives soon began to rage. Naval writers in particular urged that Germany could not afford to yield an iota regarding the principles and practice of submarine warfare, but the very violence of their attacks upon the advocates of an understanding indicates that the latter are not without influence.
The Cologne Gazette points out editorially that the German press in general has shown satisfaction that President Wilson's communication offers opportunity for an understanding, and expresses the belief that diplomacy on both sides of the Atlantic will work with zeal and good-will to this end. It adds:
It is quite certain the German Government, at least, will do this, and will be generally supported therein by the people. It would be pure imbecility to seek to drag in without necessity a ninth or tenth enemy for ourselves, even though its participation in the war should be limited to supplying the Quadruple Alliance with money and munitions. We say without necessity; for recognition of the fact that Germany is acting in self-defense in using the torpedoes of its submarines against hostile merchantmen so long as England maintains its business blockade against us should, we believe, be a condition which the United States should recognize as preliminary to negotiations.
In a leading article entitled "Bad Advice" the Cologne Gazette takes the Lokalanzeiger to task for attempting to palliate the British "starving-out policy" and exportations from America of war supplies. Conceding that the cutting off of supplies is an accepted method of warfare, it states that international law provides expressly that this weapon may be used only in the form of an effective blockade. It holds that no effective blockade of the German coasts has been declared, however, and that Germany therefore is deprived of the possibility of taking action against blockading ships.
Regarding the exportation of munitions from the United States, the Gazette adopts the argument of Philip Zorn, German member of The Hague Tribunals, that, although the convention adopted at The Hague justifies sales by private firms, a neutral State is bound to prohibit sales of this nature when the commerce in arms assumes such magnitude that continuation of war is directly dependent thereon. He says:
"That the German representatives [at The Hague] voted in favor of permission to deliver arms is incontestable," the article continues, "but there is a great difference between stamping every sale of arms by a private firm in a neutral State as a violation of international law—this was what the German representatives objected to—and arguing that to supply enormous quantities to one group of belligerents alone, and to devote practically the entire available industry of a country thereto, is consonant with the spirit of true neutrality."
Captain von Kuehlwetter, the naval expert of the Tag, points out that the American note passes over in silence the German representations regarding the British Admiralty's instructions to merchantmen to seek cover under neutral flags and to attack submarines under this cover. He declares this is the kernel of the whole argument and the justification for the German policy. He adds:
If a submarine attacks such a ship there is an outcry about barbarians who violate international law and endanger innocent neutral passengers, but if a ship attacks a submarine then it is a brave act of a daring shipper, to whom is given a commission, a gold watch, and a diploma.
Press Opinion of the Allies
A.G. Gardiner, editor of The London Daily News, writing in that paper on June 12, says the rupture between President Wilson and Mr. Bryan is one of the great landmarks of the war. He goes on:
Whatever other significance the event may have, it is conclusive evidence of the failure of German diplomacy in America. The Kaiser has made many miscalculations about nations and about men, but no greater miscalculation than that which he has made in regard to President Wilson and the United States.
He is not alone in that. There has been a good deal of ignorance on the same subject in this country. In the early stages of the war there was a mischievous clamor against the United States in a section of the press, which has never quite got rid of the idea that America is only a rather rebellious member of our own household, to be patronized when it does what we want and lectured like a disobedient child when it does not.
President Wilson has assumed in these ill-informed quarters to be a timid academic person, so different from that magnificent tub thumper, Roosevelt, who would have been at war with Mexico in a trice, and would, it was believed, have plunged into the European struggle with or without an excuse.
If there was misunderstanding here on this subject, we cannot be surprised that the Kaiser blundered so badly. He, too, believed in the schoolmaster view of Woodrow Wilson. A man who had refused such a golden opportunity of annexing Mexico must be a timid, invertebrate person, who had only to be bullied in order to do what he was told. Moreover, was there not a great German population to serve as a whip for the Presidential blank and see that he did not send the polite, the gracious, the supple Prince von Buelow to Washington?
That courtly gentleman was dispatched to Italy to charm the Italian Nation into quiescence. For the Americans he needed another style of diplomacy, and he sent thither the stout and rather stupid Dernburg to let President Wilson and the Americans know that Germany was a very rough customer and would stand no nonsense from anybody.
It was a fatal blunder, the blunder of a people who had been so blinded by materialism that they do not seem to have so much as the consciousness that there is such a thing as moral strength on earth. No one who had followed with intelligent understanding the career of President Wilson could have doubted that he had to deal with a man of iron, a man with a moral passion as fervid as that of his colleague Bryan, but with that passion informed by wide knowledge and controlled by a masterful will, a quiet, still man, who does not live with his ear to the ground and his eye on the weathercock, who refuses to buy popularity by infinite hand-shaking and robustous speech, but comes out to action from a sanctuary of his own thoughts, where principle and not expediency is his counselor.
It is because no man in a conspicuous position of the democratic world today is so entirely governed by principle and by moral sanctions that President Wilson is not merely the first citizen of the United States, but the first citizen of the world.
The Daily Chronicle says:
President Wilson's note gives Germany every opportunity of saving her face if she desires to do so. Not only is it phrased in the most friendly terms, but it invites a submission of further evidence regarding the Lusitania's alleged guns and even the resumption of negotiations with Great Britain through American intermediacy. Here are the vistas of a negotiation which might keep the diplomatists of Berlin and Washington happily employed till the war is over; only the President insists once more that the submarine outrages must stop while the negotiations are in progress. It is this last point, firmly submitted at the end of the note, which gives significance to the whole. Obviously, without it the note would be nothing but an abdication on the part of the United States, and it is because it is not that Mr. Bryan disapproves it.
We do not question the sincerity of Mr. Bryan's attachment to the cause of arbitration; but it is strange that he does not see what a disservice he does to arbitration by accepting and preaching a travesty of it. When there is litigation between individuals over an alleged wrong, the first condition is that the wrong shall stop for the interim—a result effected through an interim injunction between nations. There is no judge to grant such an injunction. It has to be obtained by mutual consent unless it is obtained by arbitration. It simply means a license to the wrongdoer to continue his wrongdoing for as long as he can make the arbitration last, which, where the time is important, will be all that he wants. To accept such a doctrine, as Mr. Bryan apparently does, is simply to put a premium on the wrongdoing and a very heavy discount on arbitration.
The Morning Post comments as follows:
Mr. Bryan resigned, according to his own explanation, because he thought President Wilson's note to Germany would endanger the cause of peace. It might, therefore, have been supposed that the American note was to be a departure from the previous American policy; but now that President Wilson's note is published we are puzzled to find the reason for Mr. Bryan's action. The note contains nothing new; it merely affirms in a friendly manner the position taken up by the United States—a position founded upon the generally accepted principles of international law. It testates the claim which America has always made, that a belligerent has no right to sink a presumably innocent merchantman and endanger the lives of its crew and passengers, but must first determine the character of its cargo and establish its contraband nature and must secure the safety of the people on board. This is obviously a stand in the cause of humanity. We might call it the irreducible minimum of the rights of neutrals; for it is clear that, if a Government allows its subjects to be slain in cold blood and its ships to be destroyed, it abandons the primary function of a Government.
The Daily Mail says:
The first impression made upon most readers of the new American note to Germany will be, we suspect, that it is extremely polite and quite harmless. They will ask in wonder what Mr. Bryan could have found in it sufficiently menacing to call for his resignation. To many people it will seem that Mr. Bryan altogether misjudged the effect of the American reply. They will find it difficult to believe that any diplomatic dispatch could in the circumstances be more courteous or more restrained. It observes all the forms of international politeness, with, if anything, almost exaggerated punctiliousness.
Yet it is possible that Mr. Bryan is as nearly right as he ever is. The vital passages in the note are those in which the United States Government "very earnestly and very solemnly renews the representations of its note" of May 15, and again asks for assurances that American lives and American ships shall not be endangered on the high seas. In other words, the United States still presses for an official disavowal of the acts of German submarine commanders, still demands reparation for the American lives lost in the Lusitania, and still calls for a promise that no similar outrage will be perpetrated in future.
The Daily Telegraph says:
The note presented to Germany on behalf of the United States Government is a firm and courteous document—the courtesy at least as obvious as the firmness—stating the position of the President very much on the lines expected, and leaving us to wonder even more than we did before why Bryan thought it necessary to resign his Secretaryship. The spirit of the second note is exactly that of the first.
Following is The London Times comment:
The gist of President Wilson's note lies in the last half dozen words and proceeds. It remains to be seen what answer will be made to this categorical demand. The general opinion in the United States appears to be that it will not be a refusal. Germany, it is thought, will begin by making concessions enough to prevent the abrupt conclusion of conversations, and will finally extend them sufficiently to preserve friendly relations with the Republic.
It would be rash to express a decided view, but we shall not be surprised should this forecast prove to be correct. The feeling in Germany is very bitter against the Government and people of the United States; but it seems unlikely that the Government in Berlin will allow the ill-temper of the public to influence its conduct. The semi-official Lokalanzeiger is already deprecating an unfriendly attitude toward the United States. There is nothing in the note to suggest that a policy such as the American newspapers seem to expect from Germany would be doomed to failure. The American people, we are told, are determined to attain their ends, but they welcome every prospect of attaining them by peaceful means.
The note, it is observed, not only does not shut out further conversations, but gives a distinct opening for them by its treatment of von Jagow's renewed intimation that Germany would gladly accept American good offices in negotiations with this country as to the character and conditions of maritime war. The Wilhelmstrasse can discover in this and some other passages material for procrastination if it so desires.