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haste, for "no man knows what danger a single week or a single day or a single hour may bring forth" (Cleveland address).
A naval program of vast proportions had previously been agreed upon by the Administration, recommended to and ultimately adopted by Congress. But the details of an army system the President left to the legislative body, he finding it impossible to endorse any one of several plans proposed. Congress, after long deliberation, passed a bill federalizing the State militia and authorizing an increase in the regular army. The real strength of the armed forces of the United States remained unchanged until the country was drawn into the European War—fourteen months after the President's "preparedness" tour—when a selective conscription system was adopted in order to raise immediately a large army.]
PRESIDENT WILSON AND THE EUROPEAN WAR
[Included in the pages immediately following are the more important of the diplomatic notes which were sent from Washington to European governments, upon matters affecting the interests of neutrals. President Wilson himself guided the foreign policies of the nation; and, although the notes are signed by his Secretary of State—first Mr. Bryan and later Mr. Lansing—they not only express the President's views and decisions, but frequently are from his own pen.]
WILSON ASKS BELLIGERENT NATIONS TO GOVERN THEIR OPERATIONS AND CONDUCT BV THE DECLARATION OF LONDON
[The Declaration of London, laying down the rules that were to govern the signatory Nations in the conduct of war, blockade, definitions of contraband and treatment of neutral shipping, was signed in London February 26, 1909, by the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, Holland, and Spain. President Wilson sent the following identical note to all the belligerent European Nations as soon as war began:]
Department Op State,
Washington, August 6, 1914, 1 p. M.
Mr. Bryan instructs Mr. Page to inquire whether the British Government is willing to agree that the laws of naval warfare as laid down by the Declaration of London of 1909 shall be applicable to naval warfare during the present conflict in Europe provided that the Governments with whom Great Britain is or may be at war also agree to such application. Mr. Bryan further instructs Mr. Page to state that the Government of the United States believes that an acceptance of these laws by the belligerents would prevent grave misunderstanding which may arise as to the relations between neutral powers and the belligerents. Mr. Bryan adds that it is earnestly hoped that this inquiry may receive favorable consideration.
[August 13 Austria-Hungary replied in the affirmative. August 22 the German government did the same. Great Britain replied that she would adopt "generally the rules of the Declaration, subject to certain modifications." Following this, the British and French governments issued steadily enlarging definitions and lists of contraband and made such other radical modifications of the Declaration, that the United States withdrew its proposal in the following notes:]
Department Of State, Washington, October 22, 1914. To Ambassador TV. H. Page (London):
Inasmuch as the British Government consider that the conditions of the present European conflict make it impossible for them to accept without modification the Declaration of London, you are requested to inform His Majesty's Government that in the circumstances the Government of the United States feels obliged to withdraw its suggestion that the Declaration of London be adopted as a temporary code of naval warfare to be observed by belligerents and neutrals during the present war; that therefore this Government will insist that the rights and duties of the United States and its citizens in the present war be defined by the existing rules of international law and the treaties of the United States irrespective of the provisions of the Declaration of London; and that this Government reserves to itself the right to. enter a protest or demand in each case in which those rights and duties so defined are violated or their free exercise interfered with by the authorities of His Britannic Majesty's Government.
Department Of State, Washington, October 24, 1914. To the Ambassadors in Germany and Austria-Hungary:
Referring to Department's August 6, 1 p. in., and Embassy's October 22, relative to the Declaration of London, Mr. Lansing instructs Mr. Gerard to inform the German Government that the suggestion of the department to belligerents as to the adoption of declaration for sake of uniformity as to a temporary code of naval warfare during the present conflict has been withdrawn because some of the belligerents are unwilling to accept the declaration without modifications and that this Government will therefore insist that the rights and duties of the Government and citizens of the United States in the present war be defined by existing rules of international law and the treaties of the United States without regard to the provisions of the declaration and that the Government of the United States reserves to itself the right to enter a protest or demand in every case in which the rights and duties so defined are violated or their free exercise interfered with by the authorities of the belligerent governments.
Wilson's Appeal To The American People For
(A Proclamation—August 19, 1914.)
My Fellow Countrymen:
I suppose that every thoughtful man in America has asked himself, during these last troubled weeks, what influence
the European war may exert upon the United States, and I take the liberty of addressing a few words to you in order to point out that it is entirely within our own choice what its effects upon us will be and to urge very earnestly upon you the sort of speech and conduct which will best safeguard the Nation against distress and disaster.
The effect of the war upon the United States will depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned. The spirit of the Nation in this critical matter will be determined largely by what individuals and society and those gathered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what ministers utter in their pulpits, and men proclaim as their opinions on the street.
The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the utmost variety of sympathy and desire among them with regard to the issues and circumstances of the conflict. Some will wish one nation, others another, to succeed in the momentous struggle. It will be easy to excite passion and difficult to allay it. Those responsible for exciting it will assume a heavy responsibility, responsibility for no less a thing than that the people of the United States, whose love of their country and whose loyalty to its Government should unite them as Americans all, bound in honor and affection to think first of her and her interests, may be divided in camps of hostile opinion, hot against each other, involved in the war itself in impulse and opinion if not in action.
Such divisions among us would be fatal to our peace of mind and might seriously stand in the way of the proper performance of our duty as the one great nation at peace, the one people holding itself ready to play a part of impartial mediation and speak the counsels of peace and accommodation, not as a partisan, but as a friend.
I venture, therefore, my fellow countrymen, to speak a solemn word of warning to you against that deepest, most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which may spring out of partisanship, out of passionately taking sides. The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name during these days that are to try men's souls. We must be impartial in thought as well as in action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another.
My thought is of America. I am speaking, I feel sure, the earnest wish and purpose of every thoughtful American that this great country of ours, which is, of course, the first in our thoughts and in our hearts, should show herself in this time of peculiar trial a Nation fit beyond others to exhibit the fine poise of undisturbed judgment, the dignity of self-control, the efficiency of dispassionate action; a Nation that neither sits in judgment upon others nor is disturbed in her own counsels and which keeps herself fit and free to do what is honest and disinterested and truly serviceable for the peace of the world.
Shall we not resolve to put upon ourselves the restraints which will bring to our people the happiness and the great and lasting influence for peace we covet for them?
Wilson's Reply To Belligerents' Declarations Of Maritime War Zones
[November 3, 1914, Great Britain declared the entire North Sea a war-zone. February 14. 1915, Germany declared the waters surrounding the British Isles and the whole English Channel a war-zone and announced that, in retaliation for Great Britain's violations of maritime rules of war, all enemy merchant vessels found in the zone would be destroyed after February 18. Navigation in the waters north of the' Shetland Islands, and in the eastern part of the North Sea, and in a zone thirty miles wide