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this question; in the circular note verbale referred to, the neutrals were timely warned against intrusting their persons and goods to armed ships; also the announced measure was not put into operation immediately, but a delay was accorded in order to enable the neutrals to leave the armed ships upon which they had already embarked. Finally the Austro-Hungarian men-of-war have instructions even in case of encountering armed enemy merchant vessels to be mindful of issuing a warning and of saving the persons on board if this should be possible under the existing circumstances.
The statement of the American Embassy that the armed British steamers Secondo and Welsh Prince had been sunk by Austro-Hungarian submarines is based upon an error. The Imperial and Royal Government has in the meantime been informed that Austro-Hungarian men-of-war took no part in the sinking of these steamers.
In the same manner as in the oft-mentioned circular note verbale, the Imperial and Royal Government—and in this connection it returns to the question of the more severe submarine warfare discussed at the beginning of this aide mémoire-in establishing a proper term issued a warning addressed to the neutrals in its declaration of January 31st, of this year; indeed the entire declaration is essentially nothing else than a warning to the effect that no merchant ship may navigate the sea zones accurately defined in the declaration. Further. more, Austro-Hungarian men-of-war are instructed to warn merchant vessels when possible even when encountered in these zones as well as to provide for the safety of crews and passengers. Indeed, the Imperial and Royal Government is in the possession of numerous reports that the crews and passengers of ships which have been destroyed in these zones have been rescued. The Imperial and Royal Government is however unable to accept a responsibility for the possible loss of human life which nevertheless may result from the destruction of armed ships or ships encountered in the closed zones. Moreover, it may be remarked that Austro-Hungarian submarines are operating only in the Adriatic and in the Mediterranean, and that therefore a prejudicing of American interests by Austro-Hungarian men-of-war is hardly to be feared.
After all that has been set forth at the beginning of this aide mémoire an assurance is not actually necessary that the closing of the sea zones designated in the declaration in no way serves the purpose of destroying or even endangering human life but that it, aside from the higher purpose of sparing mankind further suffering through a shortening of the war, is only designed to place in the same position of isolation Great Britain and her allies who without having laid an effective blockade over the coasts of the Central Powers are preventing sea traffic of the neutrals with these powers and through the pressure make the former amenable to a peace which brings with it the guarantee of durability. That Austria-Hungary hereby em
ploys other means of war than her opponents is chiefly due to circumstances over which man is given no power. The Imperial and Royal Government is however conscious that it has made all provisions lying within its power for the prevention of the loss of human life. It would most quickly and surely achieve this aim striven for in the isolation of the Western Powers if not a single human life should be lost or endangered in those sea zones.
In recapitulating the Imperial and Royal Government is able to state that the assurance which it gave the Washington Cabinet in the Ancona case and renewed in the Persia case has neither been withdrawn nor restricted by its declarations of February 10, 1916, and January 31, 1917. Within the boundary of this assurance it will in common with its allies henceforth do its utmost to soon restore the blessings of peace to the peoples of the world. If in the pursuit of this aim, in which it well knows it enjoys the entire sympathy of the Washington Cabinet, it finds itself compelled also to prevent neutral navigation in certain sea zones, it would not like, in order to justify this measure, to refer so much to the conduct of its adversaries, which appears to it far from worthy of imitation, as to the fact that AustriaHungary has been placed in a position of self-defense by the stubbornness and hatefulness of her enemies who are bent upon her destruction for which history knows of no more typical example. As the Imperial and Royal Government finds exaltation in the consciousness that the struggle which Austria-Hungary is conducting serves not only the preservation of her vital interests but also the realization of the idea of equal rights of all states, it, in this last and most serious phase of the war, which as it deeply deplores also demands sacrifices from friends, attaches the greatest value to affirming by word and deed that the principles of humanity are illuminating its course in the same way as the demands of respect for the dignity and interests of the neutral peoples.
Chargé Grew to the Secretary of State.
Vienna, April 8, 1917. Minister for Foreign Affairs has just informed me that the diplomatic relations between the United States and Austria-Hungary are broken and has handed me passports for myself and the members of the Embassy. He states that we may leave the Monarchy at your con
venience and that every possible courtesy will be extended. Am telegraphing Consuls to arrange their affairs and proceed to Vienna with a view to leaving for Switzerland if possible at end of week.
Following is translation of text of note handed me by Minister:
IMPERIAL AND ROYAL MINISTRY OF THE IMPERIAL AND ROYAL HOUSE
AND OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
Vienna, April 8, 1917. Since the United States of America has declared that a state of war exists between it and The Imperial German Government, AustriaHungary, as ally of the German Empire, has decided to break off the diplomatic relations with the United States, and the Imperial and Royal Embassy in Washington has been instructed to inform the Department of State to that effect.
While regretting under these circumstances to see a termination of the personal relations which he has had the honor to hold with Chargé d'Affaires of the United States of America, the undersigned does not fail to place at the former's disposal herewith the passport for the departure from Austria-Hungary of himself and the other members of the Embassy.
At the same time the undersigned avails himself of the opportunity to renew to the Chargé d'Affaires the expression of his most perfect consideration.
To Mr. Joseph Clark Grew, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States of America.
DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AT THE JOINT
MEETING OF THE TWO HOUSES OF CONGRESS, DECEMBER 4, 1917.1
Extract recommending declaration of a state of war with Austria
What shall we do, then, to push this great war of freedom and justice to its righteous conclusion? We must clear away with a thorough hand all impediments to success and we must make every adjustment of law that will facilitate the full and free use of our whole capacity and force as a fighting unit.
One very embarrassing obstacle that stands in our way is that we are at war with Germany but not with her allies. I therefore very earnestly recommend that the Congress immediately declare the United States in a state of war with Austria-Hungary. Does it seem strange to you that this should be the conclusion of the argument I have just addressed to you! It is not. It is in fact the inevitable logic of what I have said. Austria-Hungary is for the time being not her own mistress but simply the vassal of the German Government. We must face the facts as they are and act upon them without sentiment in this stern business. The Government of Austria-Hungary is not acting upon its own initiative or in response to the wishes and feelings of its own peoples, but as the instrument of another nation. We must meet its force with our own and regard the Central Powers as but one. The war can be successfully conducted in no other way. The same logic would lead also to a declaration of war against Turkey and Bulgaria. They also are the tools of Germany. But they are mere tools and do not yet stand in the direct path of our necessary
action. We shall go wherever the necessities of this war carry us, but it seems to me that we should go only where immediate and practical considerations lead us and not heed any others.
[PUBLIC RESOLUTION—No. 17—65TH CONGRESS.)
[S. J. Res. 111.] Joint Resolution Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government and tie Government and the people of the United States, and making provision to prosecute the same.
Whereas the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government has committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a state of war is hereby declared to exist between the United States of America and the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government; and that the President be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of th: United States.
Approved, December 7, 1917.