By M. Ryan Floyd (auth.)
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Extra info for Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914–December 1915
He wondered if he should have sent House to meet with the leaders earlier, but his friend replied that it would not have mattered. 63 The president was also very worried about the possible outcomes of the contest raging in Europe. ” House wrote in his diary that Wilson was unsympathetic toward Germany and that he argued it carried the chief burden for starting the conflict. ” Nevertheless, despite his personal antipathy toward Berlin, Wilson still believed that his views should not affect America’s official neutrality or his chances to open talks.
The foreign secretary decided that good relations with the United States outweighed the financial benefits that Berlin might receive. ” Britain wanted to ensure that the ships stayed off their normal trade routes. 55 Lansing forwarded the foreign secretary’s telegram to Wilson and wrote that he found Grey’s argument to be fair—that the British demands were appropriate considering the circumstances. There was, however, no reason, he added, to consent publicly to London’s additional stipulations and risk German protests over a violation of US neutrality; American shipowners 22 ABANDONING AMERICAN NEUTRALITY would avoid trading with Germany simply to avoid the risk of seizure by the British.
Whitehall would only consider talks that required Germany’s acceptance of dictated peace terms, but on September 19, Spring-Rice sent Wilson a paraphrase of a telegram he had received from Grey outlining Britain’s view on negotiations. The foreign secretary wanted Wilson to believe that Britain was not opposed to opening a discussion. 28 ABANDONING AMERICAN NEUTRALITY Grey again made strong preconditions that Germany would have to accept, which included disarmament and reparations to Belgium. “[I]f Germany desires the mediation of the United States,” the foreign secretary argued, “these facts must be considered in drawing up the conditions of peace.
Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914–December 1915 by M. Ryan Floyd (auth.)