In the World War
by Count Ottokar Czernin
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We then entered into details, and I reproached the King for the dreadful treatment of our people interned in Roumania, which he said he regretted.

Finally, I requested that he would give me a clear and decided answer within forty-eight hours as to whether he would negotiate on the basis of our proposals or not.

The result of the interview was the appointment of the Marghiloman Ministry and the continuation of the negotiations.

Before Marghiloman consented to form a Cabinet, he approached me to learn the exact terms.

He declared himself to be in agreement with the first and hardest of the conditions—the cession of the Dobrudsha, because he was quicker than the King in seeing that in consequence of our binding obligation to Bulgaria in this connection, it could not be otherwise. As to our territorial demands, I told Marghiloman that I laid chief stress on entering into friendly and lasting relations with Roumania after peace was concluded, and, therefore, desired to reduce the demands in such measure as Roumania, on her part, would consider bearable. On the other hand, he, Marghiloman, must understand that I was bound to consider the Hungarian aspirations to a certain degree, Marghiloman, who was an old and tried parliamentarian, fully saw in what a constrained position I was placed. We finally agreed that the cession of the populated districts and towns like Turn-Saverin and Okna should not take place, and, altogether the original claims were reduced to about half. Marghiloman said he accepted the compromise.

My desire to enter into a lasting economic union with Roumania played an important part in the negotiations. It was clear to me that this demand was in Austrian, but not in Hungarian interests; but I still think that, even so, it was my duty, although joint Minister for both countries, to work for Austria, as the shortage of provisions made the opening of the Roumanian granaries very desirable. As was to be expected, this clause in the negotiations met with the most violent opposition in Hungary, and it was at first impossible to see a way out of the difficulty. I never took back my demand, however, and was firmly resolved that peace should not be signed if my plan was not realised. I was dismissed from office in the middle of the negotiations, and my successor did not attach the same importance to that particular item as I did.

On the German side there was at once evidence of that insatiable appetite which we had already noticed at Brest-Litovsk. The Germans wished to have a species of war indemnity by compelling Roumania to cede her petroleum springs, her railways and harbours to German companies, and placing the permanent control of her finances in German hands. I opposed these demands in the most decided manner from the very first, as I was convinced that such terms would preclude all possibility of any friendly relations in future. I went so far as to ask the Emperor Charles to telegraph direct to the Emperor William in that connection, which met with a certain amount of success. In the end the German claims were reduced by about fifty per cent., and accepted by Marghiloman in the milder form. With regard to the petroleum question, a ninety years' lease was agreed on. In the matter of the corn supply, Roumania was to bind herself to deliver her agricultural produce to the Central Powers for a certain number of years. The plan for Germany to be in the permanent control of Roumanian finances was not carried out. In the question of price, the Roumanian views held good. The most impossible of the German demands, namely, the occupation of Roumania for five to six years after the conclusion of peace, gave rise to great difficulties. This was the point that was most persistently and energetically insisted on by the German Supreme Military Command, and it was only with great trouble and after lengthy explanations and discussions that we settled the matter on the following lines: That on the conclusion of peace the entire legislative and executive power of the Roumanian Government would be restored in principle, and that we should content ourselves with exercising a certain control through a limited number of agents, this control not to be continued after the general peace was made. I cannot say positively whether this standpoint was adhered to by my successor or not, but certain it is that Marghiloman only undertook office on condition that I gave him a guarantee that the plan would be supported by me.

As already mentioned, the question of the Dobrudsha had prepared great difficulties for us in two respects. First of all there was the relinquishing of their claim which, for the Roumanians, was the hardest term of all, and imparted to the peace the character of a peace of violence; and secondly, the matter had precipitated a dispute between Turkey and Bulgaria.

The Bulgarians' view was that the entire Dobrudsha, including the mouth of the Danube, must be promised to them, and they insisted on their point with an obstinacy which I have seldom, if ever, come across. They went so far as to declare that neither the present Government nor any other would be able to return to Sofia, and allowed it clearly to be seen that by refusing their claims we could never again count on Bulgaria. The Turks, on the other hand, protested with equal vehemence that the Dobrudsha had been conquered by two Turkish army corps, that it was a moral injustice that the gains chiefly won by Turkish forces should be given exclusively to the Bulgarians, and that they would never consent to Bulgaria receiving the whole of the Dobrudsha unless compensation was given to them. By way of compensation, they asked not only for that stretch of land which they had ceded to Bulgaria on their entry into the war (Adrianople), but also a considerable area beyond.

In the numerous conferences at which the question was discussed, Kuehlmann and I played the part of honest mediators who were making every effort to reconcile the two so divergent standpoints. We both saw clearly that the falling off of the Bulgars or Turks might be the result if a compromise was not effected. Finally, after much trouble, we succeeded in drawing up a programme acceptable to both sides. It took this form: That "old" Dobrudsha should at once be given back to Bulgaria, and the other parts of the area to be handed over as a possession to the combined Central Powers, and a definite decision agreed upon later.

Neither Turkey nor Bulgaria was quite satisfied with the decision, nor yet averse to it; but, in the circumstances, it was the only possible way of building a bridge between the Turks and the Bulgars.

Just as England and France secured the entry into the war of Italy through the Treaty of London, so did the Emperor Francis Joseph and Burian, as well as the Government in Berlin, give binding promises to the Bulgars to secure their co-operation, and these promises proved later to be the greatest obstacles to a peace of understanding. Nevertheless, no sensible person can deny that it is natural that a state engaged in a life-and-death struggle should seek an ally without first asking whether the keeping of a promise later will give rise to important or minor difficulties. The fireman extinguishing flames in a burning house does not first ask whether the water he pumps on it has damaged anything. When Roumania attacked us in the rear the danger was very great, the house was in flames, and the first act of my predecessor was naturally, and properly, to avert the great danger. There was no lack of promises, and the Dobrudsha was assigned to the Bulgarians. Whether and in what degree the Turks had a right, through promises, to the territory they, on their part, had ceded to the Bulgars I do not know. But they certainly had a moral right to it.

On the occasion of the Roumanian peace in the spring of 1918, too severe a test of the loyalty of Bulgars and Turks to the alliance was dangerous. For some time past the former had been dealing in secret with the Entente. The alliance with Turkey rested mainly on Talaat and Enver. Talaat told me in Bucharest, however, quite positively that he would be forced to send in his resignation if he were to return empty-handed, and in that case the secession of Turkey would be very probable.

We tried then at Bucharest to steer our way through the many shoals; not mortally to offend the Roumanians, to observe as for as possible the character of a peace of understanding, and yet to keep both Turks and Bulgars on our side.

The cession of the Dobrudsha was a terribly hard demand to make on the Roumanians, and was only rendered bearable for them when Kuehlmann and I, with the greatest difficulty and against the most violent opposition from the Bulgarians, obtained for them free access to the Black Sea.

When later, in one breath, we were reproached with having enforced a peace of violence on the Roumanians and with not having treated the Bulgarian claims and wishes with sufficient consideration—the answer to the charge is obvious. Because we were compelled to consider both Bulgaria and Turkey we were forced to demand the Dobrudsha from the Roumanians and treat them with greater severity than we should have done otherwise, in order finally to gain the Turks and the Bulgars for our negotiation plans. Judged according to the Versailles standard, the Peace of Bucharest would be a peace of understanding, both as regards form and contents.

The Central Powers' mediators, both at Versailles and St. Germain, would have been glad had they been treated in the same way as the Marghiloman Ministry was treated.

The Roumanians lost the Dobrudsha, but acquired safe and guaranteed access to the sea; they lost a district of sparsely populated mountainous country to us, and through us they acquired Bessarabia.

They gained far more than they lost.



The farther the world war progressed, the more did it lose the character of the work of individual men. It assumed rather the character of a cosmic event, taking more and more from the effectiveness of the most powerful individuals.

All settlements on which coalitions were based were connected with certain war aims by the Cabinets, such as the promises of compensation given to their own people, the hopes of gain from the final victory. The encouragement of intense and boundless hatred, the increasing crude brutality of the world all tended to create a situation making each individual like a small stone which, breaking away from an avalanche of stones, hurls itself downwards without a leader and without goal, and is no longer capable of being guided by anyone.

The Council of Four at Versailles tried for some time to make the world believe that they possessed the power to rebuild Europe according to their own ideas. According to their own ideas! That signified, to begin with, four utterly different ideas, for four different worlds were comprised in Rome, Paris, London, and Washington. And the four representatives—"the Big Four," as they were called—were each individually the slave of his programme, his pledges, and his people. Those responsible for the Paris negotiations in camera, which lasted for many months, and were a breeding ground for European anarchy, had their own good reasons for secrecy; there was no end to the disputes, for which no outlet could be found.

Here, Wilson had been scoffed at and cursed because he deserted his programme; certainly, there is not the slightest similarity between the Fourteen Points and the Peace of Versailles and St. Germain, but it is forgotten now that Wilson no longer had the power to enforce his will against the three others. We do not know what occurred behind those closed doors, but we can imagine it, and Wilson probably fought weeks and months for his programme. He could have broken off proceedings and left! He certainly could have done so, but would the chaos have been any less; would it have been any better for the world if the only one who was not solely imbued with the lust of conquest had thrown down his arms? But Clemenceau, too, the direct opposite of Wilson, was not quite open in his dealings. Undoubtedly this old man, who now at the close of his life was able to satisfy his hatred of the Germans of 1870, gloried in the triumph; but, apart from that, if he had tried to conclude a "Wilson peace," all the private citizens of France, great and small, would have risen against him, for they had been told for the last five years: Que les boches payeront tout. What he did, he enjoyed doing; but he was forced to do it or France would have dismissed him.

And Italy? From Milan to Naples is heard the subterraneous rumbling of approaching revolution; the only means the Government have adopted to check the upheaval is to drown the revolution in a sea of national interests. I believe that in 1917, when the general discontent was much less and finances were much better, the Italian Government might much more probably have accepted Wilson's standpoint than after final victory. Then they could not do it. At Versailles they were the slaves of their promises. And does anyone believe that Lloyd George would have had the power at Versailles to extend the Wilson principle of the right of self-determination to Ireland and the Dominions? Naturally, he did not wish to do otherwise than he did; but that is not the question here, but rather that neither could have acted very differently even had he wished to do so.

It seems to me that the historical moment is the year 1917 when Wilson lost his power, which was swallowed up in Imperialism, and when the President of the United States neglected to force his programme on his Allies. Then power was still in his hands, as the American troops were so eagerly looked for; but later, when victory came, he no longer held it.

And thus there came about what is now a fact. A dictated peace of the most terrible nature was concluded and a foundation laid for a continuance of unimaginable disturbances, complications and wars.

In spite of all the apparent power of victorious armies, in spite of all the claims of the Council of Four, a world has expired at Versailles—the world of militarism. Solely bent on exterminating Prussian militarism, the Entente have gained so complete a victory that all fences and barriers have been pulled down and they can give themselves up unchecked to a torrent of violence, vengeance and passion. And the Entente are so swallowed up by their revengeful paroxysm of destruction that they do not appear to see that, while they imagine they still rule and command, they are even now but instruments in a world revolution.

The Entente, who would not allow the war to end and kept up the blockade for months after the cessation of hostilities, has made Bolshevism a danger to the world. War is its father, famine its mother, despair its godfather. The poison of Bolshevism will course in the veins of Europe for many a long year.

Versailles is not the end of the war, it is only a phase of it. The war goes on, though in another form. I think that the coming generation will not call the great drama of the last five years the world-war, but the world-revolution, which it will realise began with the world-war.

Neither at Versailles nor St. Germain has any lasting work been done. The germs of decomposition and death lie in this peace. The paroxysms that shattered Europe are not yet over; as, after a terrible earthquake, the subterraneous rumblings may still be heard. Again and again we shall see the earth open, now here, now there, and shoot up flames into the heavens; again and again there will be expressions of elementary nature and elementary force that will spread devastation through the land—until everything has been swept away that reminds us of the madness of the war and the French peace.

Slowly but with unspeakable suffering a new world will be born. Coming generations will look back to our times as to a long and very bad dream, but day follows the darkest night. Generations have been laid in their graves, murdered, famished, and a prey to disease. Millions, with hatred and murder in their hearts, have died in their efforts to devastate and destroy.

But other generations will arise and with them a new spirit: They will rebuild what war and revolution have pulled down. Spring comes always after winter. Resurrection follows after death; it is the eternal law in life.

Well for those who will be called upon to serve as soldiers in the ranks of whoever comes to build the new world.

June, 1919.



Resolutions of the London Conference, of April 26, 1915[11]

On February 28, 1917, the Isvestia published the following text of this agreement:

"The Italian Ambassador in London, Marchese Imperiali, acting on the instructions of his Government, has the honour to convey to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sir Edward Grey, the French Ambassador in London, M. Cambon, and the Russian Ambassador in London, Count Benckendorff, the following notable points:

Sec.1. A Military Convention shall be concluded without delay between the General Staffs of France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy. This convention to determine the minimum of forces to be directed by Russia against Austria-Hungary in case that country should turn all its forces against Italy, provided Russia decides to concentrate chiefly against Germany. The Military Convention referred to shall also settle questions bearing upon an armistice, in so far as these by their nature come within the scope of the Army Command.

Sec.2. Italy on her part undertakes to carry on war with all the means at her disposal, together with France, Great Britain and Russia, against all countries at war with them.

Sec.3. The naval forces of France and Great Britain are to render Italy undiminished, active assistance until the destruction of the Austrian fleet, or until the moment peace is concluded. A Naval Convention shall be concluded without delay between France, Great Britain and Italy.

Sec.4. At the coming conclusion of peace Italy is to receive: the district of the Trentino; the whole of South Tyrol as far as its natural geographical boundary, thereby understood the Brenner; the city and district of Trieste; the provinces of Goerz and Gradisca, the whole of Istria as far as Quarnero, including Volosca and the Istrian islands of Cherso and Lussin, also the smaller islands of Plavnica, Unie, Canidolo, Palazzoli, as well as the island of St. Peter de Nembi, Astinello and Cruica, with the neighbouring islands.

Note: 1. By way of supplement to Sec.4, the frontier shall be drawn through the following-points: From the peak of the Umbrail in a northerly direction as far as the Stilfserjoch, and thence along the watershed of the Ratische Alps as far as the sources of the rivers Etsch and Eisack, then over the Reschen-Scheideck, the Brenner and the Oetztaler and Zillertaler Alps; the frontier line then to turn southwards, cutting the Toblach range, and proceeding as far as the present frontier of Grein, drawn towards the Alps; following this it will run to the heights of Tarvis, then, however, pursuing a course along the watershed of the Julian Alps, over the heights of Predil, Mangart and Triglav group, and the passes of Podbrda, Podlaneskan and Idria. From there the frontier continues in a south-easterly direction to the Schneeberg, so that the basin of the River Save, with its sources, shall not fall within the Italian territory. From the Schneeberg the frontier proceeds towards the coast, enclosing Castua, Matuglie and Volosca in the Italian possessions.

Sec.5. Similarly, Italy is to receive the province of Dalmatia in its present form, including Lissarik and Trebinje in the north, and all possessions as far as a line drawn from the coast at Cape Blanca eastward to the watershed in the south, so as to include in the Italian possessions all valleys on the course of the rivers debouching at Sebenico, such as Cikola, Kerke and Budisnica, with all those situate on their sources. Similarly also, Italy is promised all the islands lying north and west of the Dalmatian coast, beginning with the islands of Premuda, Selve, Ulbo, Skerda Maon, Pago and Puntadura, etc., in the north; as far as Malarda in the south, adding also the islands of St. Andrae, Busi, Lissa, Lessina, Torzola, Curzola, Cazza and Lagosta, with all rocks and islets thereto pertaining, as well as Pelagosa, but not to include the islands of Great and Lesser Zirona, Pua, Solta and Brazza.

The following are to be neutralised: (1) The entire coast from Cape Blanca in the north as far as the southern end of the peninsula of Sabbioncello, and in the south including the whole of the mentioned peninsula in the neutralised area; (2) a part of the coast beginning from a point situate 10 versts south of the cape of Alt-Ragusa, as far as the river Wojusa in the south, so as to include within the boundaries of the neutralised zone the whole of the Bay of Cattaro with its ports, Antivari, Dulcigno, San Giovanni di Medua and Durazzo; this not to affect the declarations of the contracting parties in April and May, 1909, as to the rights of Montenegro.

In consideration, however, of the fact that these rights were only admitted as applying to the present possessions of Montenegro, they shall not be so extended as to embrace any lands or ports which may in the future be ceded to Montenegro. In the same way, no part of the coast at present belonging to Montenegro shall be subject to future neutralisation. The restrictions in the case of the port of Antivari, agreed by Montenegro itself in 1909, remain in force. (3) Finally, the islands not accorded to Italy.

Note: 3. The following lands in the Adriatic Sea are accorded by the Powers of the Quadruple Alliance to the territories of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro: In the north of the Adriatic, the entire coast, commencing from the Bay of Volosca on the frontier of Istria as far as the northern frontier of Dalmatia, including the whole of the coast-line now belonging to Hungary, the entire coast of Croatia, the port of Fiume and the small harbours of Novi and Carlopago, as also the islands of Velia, Pervicchio, Gregorio, Goli and Arbe. In the south of the Adriatic, where Serbia and Austrian interests lie, the entire coast from Cape Planca as far as the river Drina, with the principal ports of Spaluto, Ragusa, Cattaro, Antivari, Dulcigno and San Giovanni di Medua, and with the islands of Greater Zirona, Pua, Solta, Brazza, Jaklian and Calamotta.

The port of Durazzo can be accorded to an independent Mohammedan State of Albania.

Sec.6. Italy to be given full possession of Valona, the Island of Sasseno, and a sufficiently extensive territory to protect it in military respects, approximately from the River Vojusa in the north and east to the boundary of the Chimara district in the south.

Sec.7. Italy, receiving the Trentino according to Sec.4, Dalmatia and the islands of the Adriatic according to Sec.5, as well as Valona, is not to oppose the possible wishes of France, Great Britain and Russia in case of the establishment of a small autonomous neutralised state in Albania, as to division of the northern and southern frontier belts of Albania between Montenegro, Serbia and Greece. The southern strip of coast from the frontier of the Italian district of Valona as far as Cape Stiloa to be subject to neutralisation.

Italy has the prospect of right to determine the foreign policy of Albania; in any case, Italy undertakes to assent to the cession of a sufficient territory to Albania to make the frontiers of the latter on the west of the Ochrida Lake coincide with the frontiers of Greece and Serbia.

Sec.8. Italy to have full possession of all the islands of the Dodecanessus which it occupies at present.

Sec.9. France, Great Britain and Russia accept in principle the fact of Italy's interest in maintaining political equilibrium in the Mediterranean, as also Italy's right, in case of any division of Turkey, to a like portion with themselves in the basin of the Mediterranean, and that in the part adjacent to the province of Adalia, where Italy has already acquired particular rights, and developed particular interests, to be noted in the Italo-British Convention. The zone then falling to the possession of Italy will in due time be determined according to the vital interests of France and Great Britain. Similarly, the interests of Italy are also to be considered in case the territorial integrity of Asiatic Turkey should be maintained by the Powers for a further period, and only a limitation between the spheres of interest be made. Should, in such case, any areas of Asiatic Turkey be occupied by France, Great Britain and Russia during the present war, then the entire area contiguous to Italy, and further defined below, shall be granted to Italy, together with the right to occupy the same.

Sec.10. In Lybia, Italy is to be granted all rights and claims hitherto conceded to the Sultan on the basis of the Treaty of Lausanne.

Sec.11. Italy to receive such part of the war contribution as shall be commensurate with her sacrifices and efforts.

Sec.12. Italy subscribes to the declaration issued by France, England and Russia whereby Arabia and the holy cities of the Mohammedans are to be granted to an independent Mohammedan Power.

Sec.13. In case of any extension of the French and English colonial possessions in Africa at the expense of Germany, France and Great Britain acknowledge in principle the right of Italy to demand certain compensation in respect of extension of Italian possessions in Eritrea, Somaliland, in Lybia, and the colonial areas contiguous to the colonies of France and England.

Sec.14. England undertakes to facilitate the immediate realisation of a loan of not less than 50 million pounds sterling in the English market on favourable conditions.

Sec.15. France, England and Russia undertake to support Italy in preventing the representatives of the Holy See from taking any diplomatic steps whatever in connection with the conclusion of a peace, or the regulation of questions connected with the present war.

Sec.16. The present treaty to be kept secret. As regards Italy's agreement to the declaration of September 5, 1914, this declaration will be made public as soon as war is declared by Italy or against Italy.

The foregoing points having been duly noted, the respective authorised representatives of France, Great Britain and Russia, together with the representative of Italy similarly authorised by his Government for this purpose, are agreed: France, Great Britain and Russia declare their full agreement with the foregoing notable points, as set before them by the Italian Government. With regard to Sec.Sec.1, 2 and 3, referring to the agreement upon military and naval undertakings of all four Powers, Italy undertakes to commence active operations at the earliest possible date, and in any case not later than one month after the signing of the present document by the contracting parties.

The present agreement, in four copies, signed in London on the 26th April, 1915, and sealed, by

Sir Edward Grey, Cambon, Marchese Imperiali, Graf Benckendorff."

After the entry of Roumania into the war (September, 1916) this programme was further extended.


Note from Count Czernin to the American Government, dated March 5, 1917

From the aide-memoire of the American Ambassador in Vienna, dated February 18 of this year, the Imperial and Royal Ministry for Foreign Affairs understands that the Washington Cabinet entertains some doubt, in view of the statements issued by the Imperial and Royal Government on February 10 and January 11 of this year, as to what attitude Austria-Hungary contemplates adopting for the future with regard to submarine warfare, and whether the assurance given by the Austrian Government to the Washington Cabinet in the course of the proceedings with regard to the case of the vessels Ancona and Persia might not be taken as altered or withdrawn by the statements mentioned.

The Austrian Government is most willing to meet the desire of the United States Government that this doubt should be removed by a clear and final declaration.

It should here be permitted first of all to touch very briefly on the methods adopted by the Allied Powers in marine warfare, since these form the starting-point of the aggravated submarine warfare put into practice by Austria-Hungary and her allies, besides throwing a clear light upon the attitude hitherto adopted by the Austrian Government in the questions arising therefrom.

When Great Britain entered upon the war with the Central Powers, but a few years had elapsed since the memorable time when Great Britain itself, together with the remaining states, had commenced at the Hague to lay the foundations of a modern code of law for marine warfare. Shortly after that the English Government had brought about a meeting of representatives of the principal naval Powers, assembling in London, in order further to carry forward the work commenced at the Hague, presumably in a spirit of reasonable compromise between the interests of belligerents and those of neutrals. The unexpected success of these endeavours, which aimed at nothing less than concerted establishment of legal standards calculated to maintain the freedom of the seas and the interests of neutrals even in time of war, was not to be long enjoyed by the peoples concerned.

Hardly had the United Kingdom decided to take part in the war than it also began to break through the barriers with which it was confronted by the standards of international law. While the Central Powers immediately on the outbreak of war had announced their intention of observing the Declaration of London, which also bore the signature of the British representative, England discarded the most important points in that Declaration. In the endeavour to cut off the Central Powers from all supplies by sea, England gradually extended the list of contraband until it included everything now required by human beings for the maintenance of life. Great Britain then placed all the coasts of the North Sea—an important transit-way also for the maritime trade of Austria-Hungary—under the obstruction of a so-called "blockade," in order to prevent the entry into Germany of all goods not yet inscribed on the contraband list, as also to bar all neutral traffic with those coasts, and prevent any export from the same. That this method of proceeding stands in the most lurid contradiction to the standards of blockade law arrived at and established by international congress has already been admitted by the President of the United States in words which will live in the history of the law of nations. By this illegally preventing export of goods from the Central Powers Great Britain thought to be able to shut down the innumerable factories and industries which had been set up by industrious and highly-developed peoples in the heart of Europe; and to bring the workers to idleness and thence to want and revolt. And when Austria-Hungary's southern neighbour joined the ranks of the enemies of the Central Powers her first step was to declare a blockade of all the coasts of her opponent—following the example, of course, of her Allies—in disregard of the legal precepts which Italy had shortly before helped to lay down. Austria-Hungary did not fail to point out to the neutral Powers at once that this blockade was void of all legal validity.

For two years the Central Powers have hesitated. Not until then, and after long and mature consideration for and against, did they proceed to answer in like measure and close with their adversaries at sea. As the only belligerents who had done everything to secure the observance of the agreement which should provide for freedom of the seas to neutrals, it was sorely against their wishes to bow to the need of the moment and attack that freedom; but they took that step in order to fulfil their urgent duty to their peoples and with the conviction that the step in question must lead towards the freedom of the seas in the end. The declarations made by the Central Powers on the last day of January of this year are only apparently directed against the rights of neutrals; as a matter of fact, they are working toward the restitution of those rights which the enemy has constantly infringed and would, if victorious, annihilate for ever. The submarines, then, which circle round England's shores, announce to all peoples using and needing the sea—and who does not need it?—that the day is not far off when the flags of all nations shall wave over the seas in newly acquired freedom.

It may doubtless be hoped that this announcement will find echo wherever neutral peoples live, and that it will be understood in particular by the great people of the United States of America, whose most famous representative has in the course of the war spoken up with ardent words for the freedom of the seas as the highway of all nations. If the people and the government of the Union will bear in mind that the "blockade" established by Great Britain is intended not only to force the Central Powers to submission by starvation but ultimately to secure undisputed mastery of the sea for itself, and thereby ensure its supremacy over all other nations, while on the other hand the blockading of England and its Allies only serves to render possible a peace with honour for these Powers and to guarantee to all peoples the freedom of navigation and maritime trade, thus ensuring their safe existence, then the question as to which of the two belligerent parties has right on its side is already decided. Though the Central Powers are far from wishing to seek for further allies in their struggle, they nevertheless feel justified in claiming that neutrals should appreciate their endeavours to bring to life again the principles of international law and the equal rights of nations.

Proceeding now to answer the questions set forth in the memorandum of February 18 of this year, already referred to, the Austrian Government would first of all remark that in the exchange of Notes in the cases of the Ancona and Persia this Government restricted itself to consideration of the concrete questions which had up to then arisen, without setting forth the legal position in point of principle. In the Note of December 29, 1915, however, regarding the Ancona case it reserved the right to bring up the intricate questions of international law connected with the submarine warfare for discussion at a later date. In reverting now to this point, and taking up the question as to sinking of enemy ships, with which the memorandum is concerned, for brief consideration, it is with the hope that it may be made clear to the American Government that the Austrian Government now as heretofore holds immovably by the assurance already given, and with the endeavour to avoid any misunderstanding between the Monarchy and the American Union by clearing up the most important question arising out of the submarine warfare—most important as it rests on the dictates of humanity.

First and foremost the Austrian Government wishes to point out that the thesis advanced by the American Government and adopted in many learned works—to the effect that enemy merchant vessels, save in the event of attempted flight or resistance, should not be destroyed without provision for the safety of those on board—is also, in the opinion of the Austrian Government itself, the kernel, so to speak, of the whole matter. Regarded from a higher point of view, this theory can at any rate be considered in connection with possible circumstances, and its application be more closely defined; from the dictates of humanity, which the Austrian Government and the Washington Cabinet have equally adopted as their guide, we can lay down the general principle that, in exercising the right to destroy enemy merchant shipping, loss of life should be avoided as far as possible. This necessitates a warning on the part of the belligerent before exercising the right of destruction. And he can here adopt the method indicated by the theory of the Union Government referred to, according to which the commander of the warship himself issues a warning to the vessel about to be sunk, so that crew and passengers can be brought into safety at the last moment; or, on the other hand, the Government of the belligerent state can, when it is considered an imperative necessity of war, give warning, with complete effect, before the sailing of the vessel to be sunk; or, finally, such Government can, when preparing comprehensive measures against the enemy traffic at sea, have recourse to a general warning applicable to all enemy vessels concerned.

That the principle as to providing for the safety of persons on board is liable to exceptions has been admitted by the Union Government itself. The Austrian Government believes, however, that destruction without warning is not only justifiable in cases of attempted escape or resistance. It would seem, to take one instance only, that the character of the vessel itself should be taken into consideration; thus merchant ships or other private craft, placed in the service of war operations, whether as transports or guardships, or with a military crew or weapons on board for the purpose of any kind of hostilities, should doubtless, according to general law, be liable to destruction without notice. The Austrian Government need not go into the question of how far a belligerent is released from any obligation as to provision for safety of human life when his opponent sinks enemy merchant vessels without such previous warning, as in the well-known cases, previously referred to, of the Elektra, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, etc., since, in this respect, despite its evident right, the Austrian Government itself has never returned like for like. Throughout the entire course of the war Austro-Hungarian warships have not destroyed a single enemy merchant vessel without previous warning, though this may have been of a general character.

The theory of the Union Government, frequently referred to, also admits of several interpretations; the question arises, for instance, whether, as has frequently been maintained, only armed resistance can be held to justify destruction of ship and persons on board, or whether the same applies to resistance of another sort, as, for example, when the crew purposely refrain from getting the passengers into the boats (the case of the Ancona), or when the passengers themselves decline to enter the boats. In the opinion of the Austrian Government cases such as those last should also justify destruction of the vessel without responsibility for the lives of those on board, as otherwise it would be in the power of anyone on the vessel to deprive the belligerent of his right to sink the ship. For the rest it should also be borne in mind that there is no unanimity of opinion really as to when the destruction of enemy merchant tonnage is justifiable at all.

The obligation as to issuing a warning immediately before sinking a vessel will, in the view of the Austrian Government on the one hand, involve hardships otherwise avoidable, while, on the other, it may in certain circumstances be calculated to prejudice the rightful interests of the belligerent. In the first place it cannot be denied that saving lives at sea is nearly always a matter of blind uncertainty, since the only alternatives are to leave them on board a vessel exposed to the operations of the enemy, or to take them off in small boats to face the dangers of the elements. It is, therefore, far more in accordance with the dictates of humanity to restrain people from venturing upon vessels thus endangered by warning them beforehand. For the rest, however, the Austrian Government is not convinced, despite careful consideration of all legal questions concerned, that the subjects of neutral countries have any claim to immunity when travelling on board enemy ships.

The principle that neutrals shall also in time of war enjoy the freedom of the seas extends only to neutral vessels, not to neutral persons on board enemy ships, since the belligerents are admittedly justified in hampering enemy traffic at sea as far as lies in their power. Granted the necessary military power, they can, if deemed necessary to their ends, forbid enemy merchant vessels to sail the sea, on pain of instant destruction, as long as they make their purpose known beforehand so that all, whether enemy or neutral, are enabled to avoid risking their lives. But even where there is doubt as to the justification of such proceeding, and possible reprisals threatened by the opposing side, the question would remain one to be decided between the belligerents themselves alone, they being admittedly allowed the right of making the high seas a field for their military operations, of suppressing any interruption of such operations and supremely determining what measures are to be taken against enemy ships. The neutrals have in such case no legitimate claims beyond that of demanding that due notice be given them of measures contemplated against the enemy, in order that they may refrain from entrusting their persons or goods to enemy vessels.

The Austrian Government may presumably take it for granted that the Washington Cabinet agrees with the foregoing views, which the Austrian Government is fully convinced are altogether unassailable. To deny the correctness of these views would imply—and this the Union Government can hardly intend—that neutrals have the right of interfering in the military operations of the belligerents; indeed, ultimately to constitute themselves the judges as to what methods may or may not be employed against an enemy. It would also seem a crying injustice for a neutral Government, in order merely to secure for its subjects the right of passage on enemy ships when they might just as well, or indeed with far greater safety, travel by neutral vessels, to grasp at the arm of a belligerent Power, fighting perhaps for its very existence. Not to mention the fact that it would open the way for all kinds of abuses if a belligerent were forced to lay down arms at the bidding of any neutral whom it might please to make use of enemy ships for business or pleasure. No doubt has ever been raised as to the fact that subjects of neutral states are themselves responsible for any harm they may incur by their presence in any territory on land where military operations are in progress. Obviously, there is no ground for establishing another standard for naval warfare, particularly since the second Peace Conference expressed the wish that, pending the agreement of rules for naval warfare, the rules observed in warfare upon land should be applied as far as possible at sea.

From the foregoing it appears that the rule as to warning being given to the vessel itself before such vessel is sunk is subject to exceptions of various kinds under certain circumstances, as, for instance, the cases cited by the Union Government of flight and resistance, the vessel may be sunk without any warning; in others warning should be given before the vessel sails. The Austrian Government may then assert that it is essentially in agreement with the Union Government as to the protection of neutrals against risk of life, whatever may be the attitude of the Washington Cabinet towards some of the separate questions here raised. The Austrian Government has not only put into practice throughout the war the views it holds in this respect, but has gone even farther, regulating its actions with the strictest care according to the theory advanced by the Washington Cabinet, although its assurance as published only stated that was "essentially in agreement" with the Union Government's views. The Austrian Government would be extremely satisfied if the Washington Cabinet should be inclined to assist it in its endeavours, which are inspired by the warmest feelings of humanity, to save American citizens from risk at sea by instructing and warning its subjects in this direction.

Then, as regards the circular verbal note of February 10 of this year concerning the treatment of armed enemy merchant vessels, the Austrian Government must in any case declare itself to be, as indicated in the foregoing, of the opinion that the arming of trading ships, even when only for the purpose of avoiding capture, is not justified in modern international law. The rules provide that a warship is to approach an enemy merchant vessel in a peaceable manner; it is required to stop the vessel by means of certain signals, to interview the captain, examine the ship's papers, enter the particulars in due form and, where necessary, make an inventory, etc. But in order to comply with these requirements it must obviously be understood that the warship has full assurance that the merchant vessel will likewise observe a peaceable demeanour throughout. And it is clear that no such assurance can exist when the merchant vessel is so armed as to be capable of offering resistance to a warship. A warship can hardly be expected to act in such a manner under the guns of an enemy, whatever may be the purpose for which the guns were placed on board. Not to speak of the fact that the merchant vessels of the Entente Powers, despite all assurances to the contrary, have been proved to be armed for offensive purposes, and make use of their armament for such purposes. It would also be to disregard the rights of humanity if the crew of a warship were expected to surrender to the guns of an enemy without resistance on their own part. No State can regard its duty to humanity as less valid in respect of men defending their country than in respect of the subjects of a foreign Power.

The Austrian Government is therefore of opinion that its former assurance to the Washington Cabinet could not be held to apply to armed merchant vessels, since these, according to the legal standards prevailing, whereby hostilities are restricted to organised military forces, must be regarded as privateers (freebooters) which are liable to immediate destruction. History shows us that, according to the general law of nations, merchant vessels have never been justified in resisting the exercise by warships of the right of taking prizes. But even if a standard to this effect could be shown to exist, it would not mean that the vessels had the right to provide themselves with guns. It should also be borne in mind that the arming of merchant ships must necessarily alter the whole conduct of warfare at sea, and that such alteration cannot correspond to the views of those who seek to regulate maritime warfare according to the principles of humanity. As a matter of fact, since the practice of privateering was discontinued, until a few years back no Power has ever thought of arming merchant vessels. Throughout the whole proceedings of the second Peace Conference, which was occupied with all questions of the laws of warfare at sea, not a single word was ever said about the arming of merchant ships. Only on one occasion was a casual observation made with any bearing on this question, and it is characteristic that it should have been by a British naval officer of superior rank, who impartially declared: "Lorsqu'un navire de guerre se propose d'arreter et de visiter un vaisseau marchand, le commandant, avant de mettre une embarcation a la mer, fera tirer un coup de canon. Le coup de canon est la meilleure garantie que l'on puisse donner. Les navires de commerce n'ont pas de canons a bord." (When a warship intends to stop and board a merchant vessel the commander, before sending a boat, will fire a gun. The firing of a gun is the best guarantee that can be given. Merchant vessels do not carry guns.)

Nevertheless, Austria-Hungary has in this regard also held by its assurance; in the circular verbal note referred to neutrals were cautioned beforehand against entrusting their persons or their goods on board any armed ship; moreover, the measures announced were not put into execution at once, but a delay was granted in order to enable neutrals already on board armed ships to leave the same. And, finally, the Austro-Hungarian warships are instructed, even in case of encountering armed enemy merchant vessels, to give warning and to provide for the safety of those on board, provided it seems possible to do so in the circumstances.

The statement of the American Ambassador, to the effect that the armed British steamers Secondo and Welsh Prince were sunk without warning by Austrian submarines, is based on error. The Austrian Government has in the meantime received information that no Austro-Hungarian warships were at all concerned in the sinking of these vessels.

The Austrian Government has, as in the circular verbal note already referred to—reverting now to the question of aggravated submarine warfare referred to in the memorandum—also in its declaration of January 31 of this year issued a warning to neutrals with corresponding time limit; indeed, the whole of the declaration itself is, from its nature, nothing more or less than a warning to the effect that no merchant vessel may pass the area of sea expressly defined therein. Nevertheless, the Austrian warships have been instructed as far as possible to warn such merchant vessels as may be encountered in the area concerned and provide for the safety of passengers and crew. And the Austrian Government is in the possession of numerous reports stating that the crews and passengers of vessels destroyed in these waters have been saved. But the Austrian Government cannot accept any responsibility for possible loss of human life which may after all occur in connection with the destruction of armed vessels or vessels encountered in prohibited areas. Also it may be noted that the Austro-Hungarian submarines operate only in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, and there is thus hardly any question as to any action affecting American interests on the part of Austro-Hungarian warships.

After all that has been said in the preamble to this Memorandum, it need hardly be said that the declaration of the waters in question as a prohibited area is in no way intended as a measure aiming at the destruction of human life, or even to endangering the same, but that its object—apart from the higher aims of relieving humanity from further suffering by shortening the war, is only to place Great Britain and its Allies, who have—without establishing any legally effective blockade of the coasts of the Central Powers—hindered traffic by sea between neutrals and these Powers in a like position of isolation, and render them amenable to a peace with some guarantee of permanency. That Austria-Hungary here makes use of other methods of war than her opponents is due mainly to circumstances beyond human control. But the Austrian Government is conscious of having done all in its power to avoid loss of human life. The object aimed at in the blockading of the Western Powers would be most swiftly and certainly attained if not a single human life were lost or endangered in those waters.

To sum up, the Austrian Government may point out that the assurance given to the Washington Cabinet in the case of the Ancona, and renewed in the case of the Persia, is neither withdrawn nor qualified by its statements of February 10, 1916, and January 31, 1917. Within the limits of this assurance the Austrian Government will, together with its Allies, continue its endeavours to secure to the peoples of the world a share in the blessings of peace. If in the pursuit of this aim—which it may take for granted has the full sympathy of the Washington Cabinet itself—it should find itself compelled to impose restrictions on neutral traffic by sea in certain areas, it will not need so much to point to the behaviour of its opponents in this respect, which appears by no means an example to be followed, but rather to the fact that Austria-Hungary, through the persistence and hatred of its enemies, who are determined upon its destruction, is brought to a state of self-defence in so desperate extreme as is unsurpassed in the history of the world. The Austrian Government is encouraged by the knowledge that the struggle now being carried on by Austria-Hungary tends not only toward the preservation of its own vital interests, but also towards the realisation of the idea of equal rights for all states; and in this last and hardest phase of the war, which unfortunately calls for sacrifices on the part of friends as well, it regards it as of supreme importance to confirm in word and deed the fact that it is guided equally by the laws of humanity and by the dictates of respect for the dignity and interests of neutral peoples.


Speech by Dr. Helfferich, Secretary of State, on the Submarine Warfare

The Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of May 1, 1917, gives the following speech by Dr. Helfferich, Secretary of State, on the economic effects of the submarine warfare delivered in the principal committee of the Reichstag on April 28. The speech is here given verbatim, with the exception of portions containing confidential statements:

"In the sitting of yesterday a member rightly pointed out that the technical and economic results of the submarine warfare have been estimated with caution. In technical respects the caution observed in estimating the results is plain; the sinkings have, during the first month, exceeded by nearly a quarter, in the second by nearly half, the estimated 600,000 tons, and for the present month also we may fairly cherish the best expectations. The technical success guarantees the economic success with almost mathematical exactitude. True, the economic results cannot be so easily expressed numerically and set down in a few big figures as the technical result in the amount of tonnage sunk. The economic effects of the submarine warfare are expressed in many different spheres covering a wide area, where the enemy seeks to render visibility still more difficult by resorting, so to speak, to statistical smoke-screens.

"The English statistics to-day are most interesting, one might almost say, in what they wisely refrain from mentioning. The Secretary of State for the Navy pointed out yesterday how rapidly the pride of the British public had faded. The English are now suppressing our reports on the successes of our submarines and our statements as to submarine losses; they dare not make public the amount of tonnage sunk, but mystify the public with shipping statistics which have given rise to general annoyance in the English Press itself. The English Government lets its people go on calmly trusting to the myth that instead of six U-boats sunk there are a hundred at the bottom of the sea. It conceals from the world also the true course of the entries and departures of tonnage in British ports since the commencement of unrestricted submarine warfare. And more than all, the English Government has since February suppressed most strictly all figures tending to throw light on the position of the grain market. In the case of the coal exports, the country of destination is not published. The monthly trade report, which is usually issued with admirable promptness by the tenth of the next month or thereabouts, was for February delayed and incomplete; and for March it has not yet appeared at all. It is to be regretted that this sudden withdrawal of information makes it more difficult for us to estimate the effect of our submarine operations, but there is a gratifying side to the question after all. It is not to be supposed that England should suddenly become reticent in order to avoid revealing its strength.

"For the rest, what can be seen is still sufficient to give us an idea.

"I will commence with the tonnage. You are aware that in the first two months of the unrestricted submarine warfare more than 1,600,000 tons were sunk, of which probably considerably over one million tons sailed under the British flag.

"The estimates as to the quantity of English tonnage at present available are somewhat divergent; in any case, whether we take the higher or the lower figures, a loss of more than a million tons in two months is a thing that England cannot endure for long. And to replace it, even approximately, by new building, is out of the question. In the year 1914 England's newly-built ships gave a tonnage increment of 1,600,000; in 1915 it was 650,000 tons, in 1916 only 580,000, despite all efforts. And the normal loss of the British merchant fleet in peace time amounts to between 700,000 and 800,000 tons. It is hopeless to think of maintaining equilibrium by urging on the building of new vessels.

"The attempts which are made to enlist the neutral tonnage in British service by a system of rewards and punishments may here and there, to the ultimate disadvantage of the neutrals themselves, have met with some success, but even so, the neutrals must consider the need for preserving a merchant fleet themselves for peace time, so that there is a narrow limit to what can be attained in this manner. Even in January of this year about 30 per cent. of the shipping entries into British ports were under foreign flags. I have heard estimates brought up to 80 per cent. in order to terrify the neutrals; if but 50 per cent. of this be correct it means a decrease in British shipping traffic of roughly one-sixth. Counting tonnage sunk and tonnage frightened off, the arrivals at British ports have been reduced, at a low estimate, by one-fourth, and probably by as much as one-third, as against January. In January arrivals amounted to 2.2 million net tons. I may supplement the incomplete English statistics by the information that in March the arrivals were only 1.5 to 1.6 million tons net, and leave it to Mr. Carson to refute this. The 1.5 to 1.6 million tons represent, compared with the average entries in peace time, amounting to 4.2 millions, not quite 40 per cent. This low rate will be further progressively reduced. Lloyd George at the beginning of the war reckoned on the last milliard. Those days are now past. Then he based his plans on munitions. England has here, with the aid of America, achieved extraordinary results. But the Somme and Arras showed that, even with those enormous resources, England was not able to beat us. Now, in his greeting to the American Allies, Lloyd George cries out: 'Ships, ships, and yet more ships.' And this time he is on the right tack; it is on ships that the fate of the British world-empire will depend.

"The Americans, too, have understood this. They propose to build a thousand wooden vessels of 3,000 tons. But before these can be brought into action they will, I confidently hope, have nothing left to save.

"I base this confidence upon the indications which are visible, despite the English policy of suppression and concealment.

"Take the total British trade. The figures for March are still not yet available, but those for February tell us enough.

"British imports amounted in January of this year to 90 million pounds sterling, in February to only 70 million; the exports have gone down from 46 to 37 millions sterling—imports and exports together showing a decline of over 20 per cent. in the first month of the submarine warfare. And again, the rise in prices all round has, since the commencement of the U-boat war, continued at a more rapid rate, so that the decline in the import quantity from one month to another may fairly be estimated at 25 per cent. The figures for imports and exports, then, confirm my supposition as to the decrease of tonnage in the traffic with British ports.

"The British Government has endeavoured, by the strictest measures rigorously prohibiting import of less important articles, to ward off the decline in the quantity of vital necessaries imported. The attempt can only partially succeed.

"In 1916, out of a total import quantity of 42 million tons, about 31 millions fall to three important groups alone, viz., foodstuffs and luxuries, timber, and iron ore; all other goods, including important war materials, such as other ores and metals, petroleum, cotton and wool, rubber, only 11 million tons, or roughly one-fourth. A decline of one-fourth, then, as brought about by the first month of unrestricted submarine warfare, must affect articles indispensable to life and to the purposes of war.

"The decline in the imports in February, 1917, as against February, 1916, appears as follows:

"Wool 17 per cent., cotton 27 per cent., flax 38 per cent., hemp 48 per cent., jute 74 per cent., woollen materials 83 per cent., copper and copper ore 49 per cent., iron and steel 59 per cent. As to the imports of iron ore I will give more detailed figures:

"Coffee 66 per cent., tea 41 per cent., raw sugar 10 per cent., refined sugar 90 per cent., bacon 17 per cent., butter 21 per cent., lard 21 per cent., eggs 39 per cent., timber 42 per cent.

"The only increases worth noting are in the case of leather, hides, rubber and tin.

"As regards the group in which we are most interested, the various sorts of grain, no figures for quantities have been given from February onwards.

"The mere juxtaposition of two comparable values naturally gives no complete idea of the facts. It should be borne in mind that the commencement of the unrestricted U-boat campaign came at a time when the economical position of England was not normal, but greatly weakened already by two and a half years of war. A correct judgment will, then, only be possible when we take into consideration the entire development of the imports during the course of the war.

"I will here give only the most important figures.

"In the case of iron ore, England has up to now maintained its position better than in other respects.

"Imports amounted in 1913 to 7.4 million tons.

"In 1916 to 6.9 million tons.

"January, 1913, 689,000 tons; February, 1913, 658,000 tons.

"January, 1916, 526,000 tons; February, 1916, 404,000 tons.

"January, 1917, 512,000 tons; February, 1917, 508,000 tons.

"Here again comparison with the peace year 1913 shows for the months of January and February a not inconsiderable decrease, though the imports, especially in February, 1917, were in excess of those for the same month in 1916.

"Timber imports, 1913, 10.1 million loads. " " 1916, 5.9 " " " February, 1913, 406,000 loads. " " 1916, 286,000 " " " 1917, 167,000 "

"As regards mining timber especially, the import of which fell from 3.5 million loads in 1913 to 2.0 million in 1916, we have here December, 1916, and January, 1917, with 102,000 and 107,000 loads as the lowest import figures given since the beginning of 1913; a statement for the import of mining timber is missing for February.

"Before turning to the import of foodstuffs a word may be said as to the export of coal.

"The total export of coal has decreased from 78 million tons in 1913 to 461/2 million tons in 1915; in 1916 only about 42 million tons were exported. In December, 1916, the export quantity fell for the first time below 3 million tons, having remained between 3.2 and 3.9 million tons during the months from January to November, 1916. In January, 1917, a figure of 3.5 million tons was again reached; it is the more significant, therefore, that the coal export, which from the nature of the case exhibits only slight fluctuations from month to month, falls again in February, 1917, to 2.9 million tons (as against 3.4 million tons in February of the year before), thus almost reaching once more to the lowest point hitherto recorded—that of December, 1916. And it should be remembered that here, as in the case of all other exports, sunk transports are included in the English statistics.

"Details as to the destination of exported coal have since the beginning of this year been withheld. England is presumably desirous of saving the French and Italians the further distress of reading for the future in black and white the calamitous decline in their coal supply. The serious nature of this decline, even up to the end of 1916, may be seen from the following figures:

"England's coal export to France amounted in December, 1916, to only 1,128,000 tons, as against 1,269,000 tons in January of the same year; the exports to Italy in December, 1916, amounted only to 278,000 tons, as against 431,000 tons in January, and roughly 800,000 tons monthly average for the peace year 1913.

"As to the further development since the end of February, I am able to give some interesting details. Scotland's coal export in the first week of April was 103,000 tons, as against 194,000 tons the previous year; from the beginning of the year 1,783,000 tons, as against 2,486,000 tons the previous year. From this it is easy to see how the operations of the U-boats are striking at the root of railway and war industries in the countries allied with England.

"Lloyd George, in a great speech made on January 22 of this year, showed the English how they could protect themselves against the effects of submarine warfare by increased production in their own country. The practicability and effectiveness of his counsels are more than doubtful. He makes no attempt, however, to instruct his Allies how they are to protect themselves against the throttling of the coal supply.

"I come now to the most important point: the position of England with regard to its food supply.

"First of all I would give a few brief figures by way of calling to mind the degree to which England is dependent upon supplies of foodstuffs from overseas.

"The proportion of imports in total British consumption averaged during the last years of peace as follows:

"Bread-corn, close on 80 per cent.

"Fodder-grain (barley, oats, maize), which can be utilised as substitutes for, and to supplement, the bread-corn, 50 per cent.; meat, over 40 per cent.; butter, 60-65 per cent. The sugar consumption, failing any home production at all, must be entirely covered by imports from abroad.

"I would further point out that our U-boats, inasmuch as concerns the food situation in England, are operating under quite exceptionally favourable conditions; the world's record harvest of 1915 has been followed by the world's worst harvest of 1916, representing a loss of 45-50 million tons of bread and fodder-grain. The countries hardest hit are those most favourably situated, from the English point of view, in North America. The effects are now—the rich stocks from the former harvest having been consumed—becoming more evident every day and everywhere. The Argentine has put an embargo on exports of grain. As to the condition of affairs in the United States, this may be seen from the following figures:

"The Department of Agriculture estimates the stocks of wheat still in the hands of the farmer on March 1, 1917, at 101 million bushels, or little over 21/2 million tons. The stocks for the previous year on that date amounted to 241 million bushels. Never during the whole of the time I have followed these figures back have the stocks been so low or even nearly so. The same applies to stocks of maize. Against a supply of 1,138,000 bushels on March 1, 1916, we have for this year only 789,000 bushels.

"The extraordinary scarcity of supplies is nearing the panic limit. The movement of prices during the last few weeks is simply fantastic. Maize, which was noted in Chicago at the beginning of January, 1917, at 95 cents, rose by the end of April to 127 cents, and by April 25 had risen further to 148 cents. Wheat in New York, which stood at 871/4 cents in July, 1914, and by the beginning of 1917 had already risen to 1911/2 cents, rose at the beginning of April to 229 cents, and was noted at no less than 281 on April 2. This is three and a half times the peace figure! In German currency at normal peace time exchange, these 281 cents represent about 440 marks per ton, or, at present rate of exchange for dollars, about 580 marks per ton.

"That, then, is the state of affairs in the country which is to help England in the war of starvation criminally begun by itself!

"In England no figures are now made public as to imports and stocks of grain. I can, however, state as follows:

"On the last date for which stocks were noted, January 13, 1917, England's visible stocks of wheat amounted to 5.3 million quarters, as against 6.3 and 5.9 million quarters in the two previous years. From January to May and June there is, as a rule, a marked decline in the stocks, and even in normal years the imports during these months do not cover the consumption. In June, 1914 and 1915, the visible stocks amounted only to about 2 million quarters, representing the requirements for scarcely three weeks.

"We have no reason to believe that matters have developed more favourably during the present year. This is borne out by the import figures for January—as published. The imports of bread-corn and fodder-grain—I take them altogether, as in the English regulations for eking out supplies—amounted only to 12.6 million quarters, as against 19.8 and 19.2 in the two previous years.

"For February the English statistics show an increase in the import value of unstated import quantity of all grain of 50 per cent., as against February, 1916. This gives, taking the distribution among the various sorts of grain as similar to that of January, and reckoning with the rise in prices since, about the same import quantity as in the previous year. But in view of the great decrease in American grain shipments and the small quantity which can have come from India and Australia the statement is hardly credible. We may take it that March has brought a further decline, and that to-day, when we are nearing the time of the three-week stocks, the English supplies are lower than in the previous years.

"The English themselves acknowledge this. Lloyd George stated in February that the English grain supplies were lower than ever within the memory of man. A high official in the English Ministry of Agriculture, Sir Ailwyn Fellowes, speaking in April at an agricultural congress, added that owing to the submarine warfare, which was an extremely serious peril to England, the state of affairs had grown far worse even than then.

"Captain Bathurst, of the British Food Controller's Department (Kriegsernaehrungsamt), stated briefly on April 19 that the then consumption of breadstuffs was 50 per cent. in excess of the present and prospective supplies. It would be necessary to reduce the consumption of bread by fully a third in order to make ends meet.

"Shortly before, Mr. Wallhead, a delegate from Manchester, at a conference of the Independent Labour Party in Leeds had stated that, according to his information, England would in six to eight weeks be in a complete state of famine.

"The crisis in which England is placed—and we can fairly call it a crisis now—is further aggravated by the fact that the supplies of other important foodstuffs have likewise taken an unfavourable turn.

"The import of meat in February, 1917, shows the lowest figures for many years, with the single exception of September, 1914.

"The marked falling off in the butter imports—February, 1917, showing only half as much as in the previous year—is not nearly counterbalanced by the margarine which England is making every effort to introduce.

"The import of lard also, most of which comes from the United States, shows a decline, owing to the poor American crops of fodder-stuffs. The price of lard in Chicago has risen from 151/2 cents at the beginning of January, 1917, to 211/2 cents on April 25, and the price of pigs in the same time from 9.80 to 16.50 dollars.

"Most serious of all, however, is the shortage of potatoes, which at present is simply catastrophic. The English crop was the worst for a generation past. The imports are altogether insignificant. Captain Bathurst stated on April 19 that in about four weeks the supplies of potatoes in the country would be entirely exhausted.

"The full seriousness of the case now stares English statesmen in the face. Up to now they have believed it possible to exorcise the danger by voluntary economies. Now they find themselves compelled to have recourse to compulsory measures. I believe it is too late."

The Secretary of State then gives a detailed account of the measures taken up to date in England for dealing with the food question, and thereafter continues:

"On March 22 again the English food dictator, Lord Devonport, stated in the House of Lords that a great reduction in the consumption of bread would be necessary, but that it would be a national disaster if England should have to resort to compulsion.

"His representative, Bathurst, stated at the same time: 'We do not wish to introduce so un-English a system. In the first place, because we believe that the patriotism of the people can be trusted to assist us in our endeavours towards economy, and, further, because, as we can see from the example of Germany, the compulsory system promises no success; finally, because such a system would necessitate a too complicated administrative machinery and too numerous staffs of men and women whose services could be better employed elsewhere.'

"Meantime the English Government has, on receipt of the latest reports, decided to adopt this un-English system which has proved a failure in Germany, declaring now that the entire organisation for the purpose is in readiness.

"I have still something further to say about the vigorous steps now being taken in England to further the progress of agriculture in the country itself. I refrain from going into this, however, as the measures in question cannot come to anything by next harvest time, nor can they affect that harvest at all. The winter deficiency can hardly be balanced, even with the greatest exertions, by the spring. Not until the 1918 crop, if then, can any success be attained. And between then and now lies a long road, a road of suffering for England, and for all countries dependent upon imports for their food supply.

"Everything points to the likelihood that the universal failure of the harvest in 1916 will be followed by a like universal failure in 1917. In the United States the official reports of acreage under crops are worse than ever, showing 63.4, against 78.3 the previous year. The winter wheat is estimated at only 430 million bushels, as against 492 million bushels for the previous year and 650 million bushels for 1915.

"The prospects, then, for the next year's harvest are poor indeed, and offer no hope of salvation to our enemies.

"As to our own outlook, this is well known to those present: short, but safe—for we can manage by ourselves. And to-day we can say that the war of starvation, that crime against humanity, has turned against those who commenced it. We hold the enemy in an iron grip. No one can save them from their fate. Not even the apostles of humanity across the great ocean, who are now commencing to protect the smaller nations by a blockade of our neutral neighbours through prohibition of exports, and seeking thus to drive them, under the lash of starvation, into entering into the war against us.

"Our enemies are feeling the grip of the fist that holds them by the neck. They are trying to force a decision. England, mistress of the seas, is seeking to attain its end by land, and driving her sons by hundreds of thousands to death and mutilation. Is this the England that was to have sat at ease upon its island till we were starved into submission, that could wait till their big brother across the Atlantic arrived on the scene with ships and million armies, standing fast in crushing superiority until the last annihilating battle?

"No, gentlemen, our enemies have no longer time to wait. Time is on our side now. True, the test imposed upon us by the turn of the world's history is enormous. What our troops are doing to help, what our young men in blue are doing, stands far above all comparison. But they will attain their end. For us at home, too, it is hard; not so hard by far as for them out there, yet hard enough. Those at home must do their part as well. If we remain true to ourselves, keeping our own house in order, maintaining internal unity, then we have won existence and the future for our Fatherland. Everything is at stake. The German people is called upon now, in these weeks heavy with impending decision, to show that it is worthy of continued existence."


Speech by Count Czernin to the Austrian Delegation, January 24, 1918.

"Gentlemen, it is my duty to give you a true picture of the peace negotiations, to set forth the various phases of the results obtained up to now, and to draw therefrom such conclusions as are true, logical and justifiable.

"First of all it seems to me that those who consider the progress of the negotiations too slow cannot have even an approximate idea of the difficulties which we naturally had to encounter at every step. I will in my remarks take the liberty of setting forth these difficulties, but would like first to point out a cardinal difference existing between the peace negotiations in Brest-Litovsk and all others which have ever taken place in the history of the world. Never, so far as I am aware, have peace negotiations been conducted with open windows. It would be impossible that negotiations of the depth and extent of the present could from the start proceed smoothly and without opposition. We are faced with nothing less than the task of building up a new world, of restoring all that the most merciless of all wars has destroyed and cast down. In all the peace negotiations we know of the various phases have been conducted more or less behind closed doors, the results being first declared to the world when the whole was completed. All history books tell us, and indeed it is obvious enough, that the toilsome path of such peace negotiations leads constantly over hill and dale, the prospects appearing often more or less favourable day by day. But when the separate phases themselves, the details of each day's proceedings, are telegraphed all over the world at the time, it is again obvious that nervousness prevailing throughout the world must act like an electric current and excite public opinion accordingly. We were fully aware of the disadvantage of this method of proceeding. Nevertheless we at once agreed to the wish of the Russian Government in respect of this publicity, desiring to meet them as far as possible, and also because we had nothing to conceal on our part, and because it would have made an unfavourable impression if we had stood firmly by the methods hitherto pursued, of secrecy until completion. But the complete publicity in the negotiations makes it insistent that the great public, the country behind, and above all the leaders, must keep cool. The match must be played out in cold blood, and the end will be satisfactory if the peoples of the Monarchy support their representatives at the conference.

"It should be stated beforehand that the basis on which Austria-Hungary treats with the various newly-constituted Russian states is that of 'no indemnities and no annexations.' That is the programme which a year ago, shortly after my appointment as Minister, I put before those who wished to talk of peace, and which I repeated to the Russian leaders on the occasion of their first offers of peace. And I have not deviated from that programme. Those who believe that I am to be turned from the way which I have set myself to follow are poor psychologists. I have never left the public in the slightest doubt as to which way I intended to go, and I have never allowed myself to be turned aside so much as a hair's breadth from that way, either to right or left. And I have since become far from a favourite of the Pan-Germans and of those in the Monarchy who follow the Pan-German ideas. I have at the same time been hooted as an inveterate partisan of war by those whose programme is peace at any price, as innumerable letters have informed me. Neither has ever disturbed me; on the contrary, the double insults have been my only comfort in this serious time. I declare now once again that I ask not a single kreuzer, not a single square metre of land from Russia, and that if Russia, as appears to be the case, takes the same point of view, then peace must result. Those who wish for peace at any price might entertain some doubt as to my 'no-annexation' intentions towards Russia if I did not tell them to their faces with the same complete frankness that I shall never assent to the conclusion of a peace going beyond the lines just laid down. If the Russian delegates demand any surrender of territory on our part, or any war indemnity, then I shall continue the war, despite the fact that I am as anxious for peace as they, or I would resign if I could not attain the end I seek.

"This once said, and emphatically asserted, that there is no ground for the pessimistic anticipation of the peace falling through, since the negotiating committees are agreed on the basis of no annexations or indemnities—and nothing but new instructions from the various Russian Governments, or their disappearance, could shift that basis—I then pass to the two great difficulties in which are contained the reasons why the negotiations have not proceeded as quickly as we all wished.

"The first difficulty is this: that we are not dealing with a single Russian peace delegation, but with various newly-formed Russian states, whose spheres of action are as yet by no means definitely fixed or explained among themselves. We have to reckon with the following: firstly, the Russia which is administered from St. Petersburg; secondly, our new neighbour proper, the great State of Ukraine; thirdly, Finland; and, fourthly, the Caucasus.

"With the first two of these states we are treating directly; that is to say, face to face; with the two others it was at first in a more or less indirect fashion, as they had not sent any representative to Brest-Litovsk. We have then four Russian parties, and four separate Powers on our own side to meet them. The case of the Caucasus, with which we ourselves have, of course, no direct questions to settle, but which, on the other hand, is in conflict with Turkey, will serve to show the extent of the matter to be debated.

"The point in which we ourselves are most directly interested is that of the great newly-established state upon our frontiers, Ukraine. In the course of the proceedings we have already got well ahead with this delegation. We are agreed upon the aforementioned basis of no indemnities and no annexations, and have in the main arrived at a settlement on the point that trade relations are to be re-established with the new republic, as also on the manner of so doing. But this very case of the Ukraine illustrates one of the prevailing difficulties. While the Ukraine Republic takes up the position of being entirely autonomous and justified in treating independently with ourselves, the Russian delegation insists that the boundaries between their territory and that of the Ukraine are not yet definitely fixed, and that Petersburg is therefore able to claim the right of taking part in our deliberations with the Ukraine, which claim is not admitted by the members of the Ukraine delegation themselves. This unsettled state of affairs in the internal conditions of Russia, however, gave rise to very serious delays. We have got over these difficulties, and I hope that in a few days' time we shall be able once more to resume negotiations.

"As to the position to-day, I cannot say what this may be. I received yesterday from my representative at Brest-Litovsk the following two telegrams:

"'Herr Joffe has this evening, in his capacity as President of the Russian Delegation, issued a circular letter to the delegations of the four allied Powers in which he states that the Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Ukrainian Republic has decided to send two delegates to Brest-Litovsk with instructions to take part in the peace negotiations on behalf of the central committee of the workers', soldiers' and peasants' councils of Pan-Ukraine, but also to form a supplementary part of the Russian delegation itself. Herr Joffe adds with regard to this that the Russian delegation is prepared to receive these Ukrainian representatives among themselves. The above statement is supplemented by a copy of a "declaration" dated from Kharkov, addressed to the President of the Russian Peace Delegation at Brest, and emanating from the Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Ukrainian Republic, proclaiming that the Central Rada at Kiev only represents the propertied classes, and is consequently incapable of acting on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people. The Ukrainian Workers' and Peasants' Government declares that it cannot acknowledge any decisions arrived at by the delegates of the Central Rada at Kiev without its participation, but has nevertheless decided to send representatives to Brest-Litovsk, there to participate as a supplementary fraction of the Russian Delegation, which they recognise as the accredited representatives of the Federative Government of Russia.'

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