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German chancellor proposes peace negotiations

BERLIN, via Sayville wireless, Dec. 12, 1916 (UP) -- Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg's statement to the reichstag as issued by the press bureau is as follows:

"Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg today announced in the reichstag that Germany, together with her allies, 'conscious of their responsibility before God, before their own nation and before humanity,' has proposed this morning to the hostile powers that they enter peace negotiations.

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"Practically all members of parliament appeared in answer to an unexpected summons.

"A crowded house and thronged galleries listened in respectful silence when the chancellor arose for his speech, in which he first outlined the extraordinary political situation and then, insisting upon the achievements of the central powers, made the announcement which possibly may act as a turning point in the war, which for more than two years has held the world under spell.

"The chancellor said it was fortunate that the reichstag had not been adjourned but the calling of the next meeting had been left to the discretion of the president.

"'This decision,' said the chancellor, 'was caused by the hope that soon happy events in the field would be recorded. That hope has been fulfilled quicker almost than expected. I shall be brief, for our actions speak for themselves.

" 'Roumania had entered the war in order to roll up our position in the east and that of our allies.

"'At the same time the grand offensive on the Somme had for its object the piercing of our western front, and renewed Italian attacks had as their purpose to paralyze Austria-Hungary. The situation was serious.

"'But with God's help, our troops shaped conditions so that they give us security which not only is complete but still greater than ever before.

"'The west front still stands, now only, but in spite of the Roumanian campaign, is outfitted with larger reserves of men and material than it had been formerly.

"'Most efficient precautions have been taken against all Italian diversions. And while on the Somme and the Karst drumfire resounded; while the Russians launched troops against the eastern frontier of Transylvania, Field Marshal von Hindenburg captured the whole of western Walachia and the hostile capital of Bucharest, meeting with unparalleled genius troops which in competition with all allies, made possible this which hitherto was considered impossible.

"'And Hindenburg does not rest. Military operations are in progress by strokes of swords. At the same time firm foundations have been laid for our economic needs.

"'Great stocks of grain, victuals, oil and other goods fell into our hands in Roumania. Transport immediately began.

"'In spite of the scarcity that existed, we could have lived upon our own, but now our safety is beyond question.'"

The chancellor then referred to the fact that, added to the events on land, heroic deeds of equal importance had been accomplished by the German submarines.

He said the specter of famine which Germany's enemies had intended to appear before Germany now pursued them.

He said the German empire is not the besieged fortress which its adversaries had imagined, but is now a gigantic, firmly disciplined camp with inexhaustible resources, faithfully united with the Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Bulgarian flags.

The chancellor was still speaking at press time.

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