[Paleopsych] NYT: Relations With Germany Are Broken Off

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Relations With Germany Are Broken Off

[I'm sorry for the delay in forwarding this.

     This event took place on February 3, 1917, and was reported in the The
     New York Times the following day.

Relations With Germany Are Broken Off

     Break With Austria Too

     Notice of Her Blockade Arrives as President is Speaking


     President Expresses Belief That They Will Follow America's Course


     Mr. Wilson Unable to Believe That Germany Means to Carry Out Threat

Special to The New York Times


          American Ship Housatonic Sunk, Crew Safe: First Sinking Reported:
        London Hears No Warning Was Given Housatonic Off Scilly Islands: 25
        Americans on Board: Armed British Steamer Picks Up the Officers and
           Crew of the Vessel: News Stirs in Washington: But if U-Boat Took
                   Precautions Attack Will Not Be Adequate Cause for Action

     Militia Called Out: State Forces Ready Today: Mobilization of Land and
      Naval Units Starts at Once: Guards Doubled at Forts: Police Posted on
     Bridges and Home Defense League Ordered to Prepare for Duty: Governors
     Island Busy: Corporation Employes to Protect Plants -- Germans Meeting
                                                              Places Listed

       German Ships Seized: Teuton Ships Are Seized: Federal Officials Take
        Over Vessels Held in Our Ports: Dispossess Appam's Crew: Two German
     Auxiliary Cruisers Also Are Among Those Now in Custody: Liner Had Been
     Crippled: Kronprinzessin Cecile is Found Useless -- Austrian Ship Here
                                                                is Damaged.

                                         Text of President Wilson's Address

      Bernstorff Was Not Surprised: But on Receiving Passports Did Not Hide
          His Concern Over Failure of His Efforts: Has No Safe Conduct Yet:
       Details of Arrangements for His Departure Not Settled -- His Wife an

          The St. Louis Held; May Mount Guns: Convoy or Six Rapid-Firers to
       Protect American Liner on Voyage to Europe: Sailing Tomorrow Likely:
           Adriatic Leaves for the War Zone With 44 Passengers -- Others to

            Attempt to Scuttle Destroyer Jacob Jones At Philadelphia; Petty
                                                       Officer Put In Irons

     W ashington, Feb. 3 -- Diplomatic relations between Germany and the
     United States were severed today. It was President Wilson's answer to
     the German notice that any merchant vessel which entered prescribed
     areas would be sunk without warning. Count von Bernstorff, the
     Kaiser's Ambassador, has received his passports, in other words, he
     has been dismissed by this Government. James W. Gerard, the American
     Ambassador at Berlin, has been ordered to return home with his staff.

     President Wilson made the sensational answer in a momentous address
     delivered before the two houses of Congress assembled in joint session
     this afternoon. Congress appears to be unanimous in a determination to
     stand by the President in whatever measures he takes. Party lines have
     been obliterated in the general desire to support the Administration
     in dealing with a critical situation that most observers expect to
     result in the entrance of the United States into the European

     War has not been declared. The President in his address said: "we do
     not desire any hostile conflict with the German Government." But
     preparations for war are being made. Many yards have been closed to
     the public. For the present private shipbuilding concerns and other
     plants engaged in Government work will take their own precautionary
     measures. Private ship builders have offered to place their
     establishments under the control of the Government, and a provision
     authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to do this will be offered by
     the Naval Committee in the House on Monday.

     German merchant ships at American ports are being closely guarded, and
     some have been seized. Our war vessels are said to have received
     precautionary orders. Army arsenals have been told to guard against
     danger. Public buildings here and elsewhere are being guarded also.

     Break With Austria, Too

     Diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary are to be severed also. This
     was made certain by the receipt by the State Department today of a
     note from the Vienna Government containing notice of adherence to the
     German submarine blockade policy. President Wilson did not know this
     when he went to the Capitol. Count Tarnowski von Tarnow, the newly
     accredited Ambassador of Austria-Hungary, who had reached the United
     States on Thursday, went to the State Department today to arrange for
     his formal presentation to President Wilson. Word was brought to him
     that Secretary Lansing would be unable to receive him. Hardly had the
     Ambassador gone when the department received a cable message from
     Frederic C. Penfield, giving the text of the Austro-Hungarian
     adherence to the German war zone order. As Count Tarnowski has not
     been formally received by this Government he may not be dismissed in
     the same way as Count von Bernstorff was, but he will be invited to
     leave the country, with the members of his suite and embassy staff.
     Ambassador Penfield and his embassy staff will be ordered home. If war
     results it will be war with Austria-Hungary and Turkey as well, and
     possibly with Bulgaria.

     Demands Release of Americans

     Taking it for granted that war is inevitable, speculation is being
     indulged in here as to how soon the clash will come. That it will come
     soon is a general opinion tonight. A German submarine is reported to
     have sunk the American freight steamer Housatonic. Word came
     officially today that Germany was holding as prisoners of war
     sixty-odd American citizens taken from merchant ships by a German
     raider. This Government has demanded their release immediately. If
     Germany refuses - and this is expected- the President may ask Congress
     to authorize him to take measures of reprisal. He will certainly do so
     if Germany does not spare American merchantman entering the forbidden
     areas. An important aspect of the situation to which little attention
     has been attracted is that President Wilson hopes that other neutral
     nations will join the United States in blacklisting Germany in
     proclaiming that Government unworthy of association with other nations
     in the great world family. The President, as his intention is
     understood, wants Germany "sent to Coventry," not to be spoken to
     until she has shown herself worthy of recognition again.

     The United States stands ready to champion the integrity of neutral
     rights. Whether this will be done single-handed or with the
     cooperation of other neutral nations is not known. An exchange of
     views between the United States and the Foreign Offices of South
     America and Europe is expected to be in progress by Monday. In Spain's
     recent reply to President Wilson's note to the belligerent nations
     that country's willingness to participate in any concert of neutrals
     was indicated. Other European neutrals are known to be ready to arrive
     at an understanding with American Government.

     The President gave a hint of this intention in the address he
     delivered to Congress today. After he had indicated that he might find
     it necessary later on that "authority be given to me to use any means
     that may be necessary for the protection of our seamen and our people
     to the prosecution of their peaceful and legitimate errands on the
     high seas," the President said, "I take it for granted that all
     neutral nations will take the same course."

     Bernstorff Promptly Notified

     The note of dismissal handed to Count von Bernstorff was practically a
     paraphrase of the President's address to Congress. It was signed by
     Robert Lansing, Secretary of State, and was given to the German
     Ambassador personally by Lester H. Woolsey, an assistant solicitor of
     the State Department who does most of the confidential legal work for
     Secretary Lansing. Mr. Woolsey went to the German Embassy in
     Massachusetts Avenue at exactly 2 o'clock and was received immediately
     by Count von Bernstorff. Mr. Woolsey's arrival at the embassy was
     timed to correspond to the moment when President Wilson appeared in
     the hall of the House of Representatives to inform Congress that
     diplomatic relations with Germany had been severed. With the note
     handed to the German Ambassador by Mr. Woolsey were the passports
     guaranteeing Count von Bernstorff safe conduct out of the United
     States. When and how he will depart and where he will go are questions
     to be determined. Count von Bernstorff is still at the embassy.

     The concluding paragraph of the note of dismissal to Count von
     Bernstorff gives in brief form the action taken by this Government
     today, which breaks officially for the first time in history the
     friendly relations existing between Germany or any German State and
     the United States. That paragraph reads:

     "The President has, therefore, directed me to announce to your
     Excellency that all diplomatic relations between the United States and
     the German Empire are severed, and that the American Ambassador at
     Berlin will be immediately withdrawn, and in accordance with such
     announcement to deliver to your Excellency your passports." And the
     Secretary of State, whose language was scrupulously courteous
     throughout his communication, had "the honor to be, your Excellency's
     obedient servant, Robert Lansing."

     Precautions at Capital

     Washington is calm outwardly, but under the surface, the excitement is
     intense. Having recovered from its first shock of realization that the
     break with Germany which might mean war had come at last, Washington
     began to discuss the situation and arrived at the conclusion that a
     break was the only possible outcome of the German notice that ruthless
     methods of submarine warfare were to be resumed. This of course,
     applies to Washington generally. Official Washington showed a bit of
     excitement as the day wore along. It was impossible not to come under
     the spell of the air of activity in the Government Departments where
     the wheels were humming in a way suggestive of the period of the war
     with Spain.

     Persons who have been in the habit of passing regularly in and out of
     Government buildings were stopped at the entrances and told that they
     could not enter unless they furnished evidence that they were
     Government employes attending engagements with officials. The great
     host of clerks who make their homeward way nightly through the White
     House grounds were politely told by policemen that the grounds were
     closed to the public for an indefinite period. The gates leading to
     the footways were closed., and while the gates of the entrances to the
     driveways were open they were guarded by policemen.

     Suffragists bearing banners inquiring of President Wilson how long
     women must wait for liberty and what the President would do for
     suffrage kept up their vigil at the White House gates. It was bitterly
     could, but the women stood their watches cheerfully. The part of the
     White House grounds closed today has never been closed except for the
     brief periods of ceremonial occasions.

     Joseph P. Tumulty, Secretary to the President, said the grounds had
     been closed merely out of excess of caution. He thought it well to
     take that action in a time likely to lead to great popular excitement.

     Decision Reached at Night

     President Wilson's decision to break with Germany at once was
     apparently reached in the still watches of the night. When he left the
     Capitol yesterday evening after consulting with sixteen Senators, he
     did not indicate what course he intended to follow in dealing with the
     German Government. All that was known was that the new submarine
     policy of Germany made a break inevitable. But when it was to come was
     problematical. The President had been advised by some of his conferees
     to break at once. Others had thought he should wait for an actual
     sinking of a merchantman without warning by a German submarine. Some -
     but they were few - suggested that another diplomatic note should be
     sent to Germany before a severance of relations. Which of these
     courses the President would be inclined to follow he did not indicate
     when he left the Capitol.

     It was about 10:30 o'clock this morning that the President sent for
     secretary Lansing and told him that he had determined that diplomatic
     relations with Germany should be broken at once. He then arranged for
     addressing Congress at 2 o'clock. Secretary Lansing went back to the
     State Department, to make the necessary arrangements for dismissing
     Ambassador von Bernstorff and recalling Ambassador Gerard.

     The scene when President Wilson appeared at the House at 2 o'clock was
     dramatic. Reports had been in circulation that the President had
     ordered a break with Germany, but comparatively few persons in that
     large audience were certain as to what attitude the President had
     decided to adopt. Floor and galleries were packed and jammed when the
     President entered the chamber. He got a cordial reception. In the
     thirty minutes that he stood at the rostrum facing that breathless,
     eager gathering of men and women, only twice did his hearers become
     really demonstrative. He had received a round of hand clapping and a
     cheer or two when he appeared. The audience listened attentively to
     the President's words as he read from little printed pages.

     Draws Volleys of Cheers

     The President had sketched the steps the Government had taken to bring
     Germany to a realization of her responsibility to other nations in the
     conduct of submarine warfare. It was near the close of the address
     when the crowd broke into applause over his declaration that he had
     directed that all diplomatic relations between Germany and the United
     States should be severed. A moment later there was another outbreak of
     approval when he said that he refused to believe that the German
     Government intended to do in fact what it had given warning of
     intention to do, but this applause was not very marked. When near the
     very end of the address, the President said he would come before
     Congress again to ask authority to protect Americans on the seas if
     Germany carried out her threats, the audience burst into spontaneous

     On the whole the businesslike and direct character of the address
     brought general commendation from those who heard it and a careful
     canvass of opinion among Senators and Representatives showed that
     party lines were obliterated in the patriotic desire to prove to the
     President that the nation's legislators stood behind him in the most
     important action he has undertaken in his Presidential term.

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