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the adversary every declaration of the statesmen in power is taken up for passionate and immoderate discussion by irresponsible persons, but the statesmen themselves are obsessed by a fear that they may unfavorably influence public opinion in their country and thereby compromise the chances of the war, and also of prematurely disclosing their true intentions. That is why they use thunderlike* speech and persist in upholding unflinching points of view. If, therefore, it were intended to seek the basis for a compromise apt to make an end of the war, whose prolongation would mean nothing but suicide, and to save Europe from that catastrophe, resort should be had in any event to some other method which would permit of continuous and direct converse between the representatives of the governments and between them only. Such an exchange of views would take in the conflicting views of the several belligerent states to the same extent as the general principles on which to build up peace and the relations between states, and might first lead to an understanding as to those principles. The fundamental principles once agreed upon, an effort should be made in the course of the informal negotiations to apply them concretely to the several peace questions and thereby bring about their solution. We indulge the hope that none of the belligerents will object to this proposed exchange of views. There would be no interruption of military operations. The conversation would go no further than deemed useful by the participants; the parties concerned could be put to no disadvantage thereby. The exchange of views, far from doing any harm, could be but beneficial to the cause of peace; what might fail at the first attempt could be tried over again; something will at least have been done toward elucidating the problems. How many are the deep-rooted misunderstandings that might be dispelled! How many the new ideas that would break their way out! Human sentiments so long pent up could burst forth from all hearts, creating a warmer atmosphere while safeguarding every essential point and dispel many a discussion which at this time seems important. We are convinced that it is the duty of all belligerents to mankind to take up together the questions whether there is no way, after so many years of a struggle which, notwithstanding all the sacrifices it has cost, is still undecided and the whole course of which seems to demand a compromise, of bringing this awful war to an end. The Imperial and Royal Government, therefore, comes again to the governments of all the belligerent states with a proposal shortly to send to a neutral country, upon a previous agreement as to the date and place, delegates who would broach a confidential non-binding conversation over the fundamental principles of a peace that could be concluded. The delegates would be commissioned to communicate to one another the views of their respective governments on the aforesaid principles and very freely and frankly interchange information on every point for which provision should be made.

The Imperial and Royal Government has the honor to apply for your kindly good offices and to request that the Royal Government of Sweden kindly communicate the present communication, which is addressed to all the belligerent

The French text has "donnantes," which is here meaningless; "tonnantes," with the above meaning, was probably the word sent and distorted in transmission.

states simultaneously, to the Government of the United States of America and of Great Britain.

(Signed) BURIAN.

Be pleased to accept, Excellency, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

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I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, dated September 16th, communicating to me a note from the Imperial Government of Austria-Hungary, containing a proposal to the governments of all the belligerent states to send delegates to a confidential and unbinding discussion on the basic principles for the conclusion of peace. Furthermore, it is proposed that the delegates would be charged to make known to one another the conception of their governments regarding these principles and to receive analogous communications, as well as to request and give frank and candid explanations on all those points which need to be precisely defined.

In reply I beg to say that the substance of your communication has been submitted to the President, who now directs me to inform you that the Government of the United States feels that there is only one reply which it can make to the suggestion of the Imperial AustroHungarian Government. It has repeatedly and with entire candor stated the terms upon which the United States would consider peace and can and will entertain no proposal for a conference upon a matter concerning which it has made its position and purpose so plain. Accept, Sir, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration. (Signed) ROBERT LANSING.

Minister of Sweden,

In Charge of Austro-Hungarian Interests.

2 Official U. S. Bulletin, September 17, 1918.

Minister of Sweden to the Secretary of State.3




October 7, 1918.


By order of my government I have the honor confidentially to transmit herewith to you the following communication of the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary to the President of the United States of America:

The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which has waged war always and solely as a defensive war, and repeatedly given documentary evidence of its readiness to stop the shedding of blood and to arrive at a just and honorable peace, hereby addresses itself to His Lordship the President of the United States of America and offers to conclude with him and his allies an armistice on every front on land, at sea and in the air, and to enter immediately upon negotiations for a peace for which the fourteen points in the message of President Wilson to Congress of January 8, 1918, and the four points contained in President Wilson's address of February 12, 1918, should serve as a foundation and in which the viewpoints declared by President Wilson in his address of September 27, 1918, will also be taken into account.

Be pleased to accept, etc.

His Excellency,


(Signed) W. A. F. EKENGREN.

Secretary of State of the United States,


The Secretary of State to the Minister of Sweden.*




October 18, 1918.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 7th instant in which you transmit a communication of the Imperial

3 Official U. S. Bulletin, October 19, 1918.

4 Ibid., October 19, 1918.

and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary to the President. I am now instructed by the President to request you to be good enough, through your Government, to convey to the Imperial and Royal Government the following reply:

The President deems it his duty to say to the Austro-Hungarian Government that he cannot entertain the present suggestions of that Government because of certain events of utmost importance which, occurring since the delivery of his address of the 8th of January last, have necessarily altered the attitude and responsibility of the Government of the United States. Among the fourteen terms of peace which the President formulated at that time occurred the following:

"X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development."

Since that sentence was written and uttered to the Congress of the United States the Government of the United States has recognized that a state of belligerency exists between the Czecho-Slovaks and the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, and that the Czecho-Slovak National Council is a de facto belligerent government clothed with proper authority to direct the military and political affairs of the Czecho-Slovaks. It has also recognized in the fullest manner the justice of the nationalistic aspirations of the Jugo-Slavs for freedom. The President is, therefore, no longer at liberty to accept the mere "autonomy" of these peoples as a basis of peace, but is obliged to insist that they, and not he, shall be the judges of what action on the part of the Austro-Hungarian Government will satisfy their aspirations and their conception of their rights and destiny as members of the family of nations.

Accept, Sir, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration. (Signed) ROBERT LANSING.

The Minister of Sweden to the Secretary of State.




October 29, 1918.


By order of my government, I have the honor to beg you to transmit to the President the following communication from the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary:

In reply to the note of the President, Mr. Wilson, to the Austro-Hungarian

5 Official U. S. Bulletin, October 31, 1918.

Government, dated October 18 of this year, and about the decision of the President to take up, with Austria-Hungary separately, the question of armistice and peace, the Austro-Hungarian Government has the honor to declare that it adheres both to the previous declarations of the President and his opinion of the rights of the peoples of Austria-Hungary, notably those of the Czecho-Slovaks and the Jugo-Slavs, contained in his last note. Austria-Hungary having thereby accepted all the conditions which the President had put upon entering into negotiations on the subject of armistice and peace, nothing, in the opinion of the Austro-Hungarian Government, longer stands in the way of beginning those negotiations. The Austro-Hungarian Government therefore declares itself ready to enter, without waiting for the outcome of other negotiations, into negotiations for a peace between Austria-Hungary and the Entente States, and for an immediate armistice on all the fronts of Austria-Hungary, and begs the President, Mr. Wilson, to take the necessary measures to that effect.

Be pleased to accept, Excellency, the assurances of my high consideration.

His Excellency,


(Signed) W. A. F. EKENGREN.

Secretary of State of the United States,

Washington, D. C.

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