U.S. severs relations with Germany; whether there'll be war up to kaiser

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 1917 (UP) - President Wilson has determined to break relations with Germany.

American Ambassador Gerard has been ordered home from Berlin.


German Ambassador von Bernstorff will be immediately given his passports.

Friendly relations between Germany and the United States are definitely at an end.

Whether or not there is an actual declaration of war following up on the president's action depends on Germany.

This country has made all preparations for any eventuality.

The preparations have been going on for weeks, it was learned today.

Announcements of the president's decision, reached yesterday morning, was held up in order that all last details might be carefully attended to.

A similar course of action will be taken be the president toward other central powers, should the same determination to wage relentless warfare be officially decided upon by them and the decisions officially communicated to this government.


When news of the president's action broke out thru the capitol it aroused the greatest consternation.

Drastic action had been expected since last evening, but there were many who clung to the belief that he would not actually cut ties between the two nations.

The president arose early this morning, had breakfast as usual, and then called for Secretary Tumulty.

When Tumulty came back from the white house his face was very grave, but the only comment he would make was that the president would address a joint session of congress at 2 p.m.

Beyond this the white house officially was absolutely silent.

The president is expected in his address to point out that this severance of diplomatic relations indicates the United States government has lost confidence in the German empire; that it does not necessarily mean that there shall follow any outbreak of hostilities between the two nations.

There are some who believe the president will go so far as to express the most profound hope that Germany will conduct herself in such a way as to restore confidence and friendship of the United States.

He will deeply regret that the course of action he has taken has been rendered inevitable and unavoidable.


The president called Secretary of State Lansing to the white house at 10:30 a.m. and informed him of his decision.

Lansing looked very grave and worn as he left the mansion, and would make no comment.

Bundled up to his ears in a long, heavy overcoat, and further protected with a long white muffler, Lansing stepped off the white house portico, lighted a cigaret and walked slowly over to the state department.

Under his left arm, hugged tightly, was his historic brown leather portfolio.

He was flanked rear, front and sides by newspapermen, clamoring excitedly, and entirely without the usual courtesy, for official word.

As he reached the front of the white house executive offices still enroute to the department, he was joined by presidential Secretary Tumulty, who had just returned from the capitol to arrange with house and senate leaders for the joint session this afternoon.

They stopped a moment and talked together, but neither would make any comment further than "the president is addressing congress at 2 o'clock this afternoon-beyond that we can say absolutely nothing."

After Lansing left the white house the president went over to the executive offices into the cabinet room and sat alone at his work.


He brought over a bundle of papers, covering routine business, and walked briskly into the chamber where yesterday the cabinet met him in his discussion of the historic step taken today.

Speaker Clark had not reached the capitol when the president sent his request for a joint session.

Majority Leader Kitchin made arrangements for the historic event. The galleries, just beginning to fill when the momentous news came, were immediately emptied.

Not more than 30 members were in the house when it met at 11 a.m. Kitchin offered a resolution "by the house, the senate concurring, that the two houses assemble at 2 o'clock in the afternoon to receive such communications as the president of the United States may be pleased to make them."

There was a listless chorus of "ayes," as the resolution was adopted.

The cabinet meeting yesterday and the senate conference with the president at the capitol last night will be recorded in history as two of the most gravely important meetings in United States history.

A little group headed by Senator Stone counseled waiting-wanted no action before Germany committed an overt act.

Another group-larger and predominant-felt a break in relations could be the only step unless the United States was "willing to stand before the world branded as insincere or cowardly."


The meeting was a frank airing of views.

One by one the group of hastily summoned senators arrived. Senator Stone stood somewhat apart from the semicircle, walking nervously and chewing at his cigar.

A few senators sat upon the edge of the table and walked earnestly. Hoke Smith, Georgia, ponderous and earnest, hammered home a pacifist argument.

To watchers outside, the big mirror in the gift and crystal room reflected his earnest gestures, while other senators-just as earnest, but not as demonstrative-chimed in with their views.

The president stood back beyond the range of the telltale mirror.

But, senators said, he had little to say-he wanted to know their ideas rather than to expatiate on his own.

As the conference adjourned, the president shook hands with Stone, while senators opposing his views did likewise-apparently by way of showing that the issue was too big to be personal, even tho they differed as to procedure.

The result of the session was that President Wilson will have senate support in his move.

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