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to free as far as practicable the national territory that had been invaded, especially in the Woevre region and around Verdun. In a first period (Sept. 13-29) the enemy had the upper hand, fortified themselves in St. Mihiel, reached the Hauts-de-Meuse, and threatened Verdun. In the second period (Oct. 1 to Nov. 30) we regained the advantage.
We cleared the vicinity of Verdun. We advanced east of Nancy, which is now quite safe from German shells, to the north of Lunéville, and to the northeast and east of Saint-Dié.
In November we had recovered almost in its integrity the invaded territory between Belfort and the Moselle.
In brief, the situation on Dec. 1 was as follows:
In number of men, the French Army is equal to what it was on Aug. 2, as all the gaps have been filled up.
The quality of the troops is infinitely better. Our men now fight like veterans. All are deeply convinced of their superiority and have absolute faith in the final victory.
Several necessary changes were made among the commanding officers, and in the last three months none of those mistakes was committed that had been observed and punished in August.
Our supply in artillery ammunition has been largely increased. The heavy artillery which we lacked has been provided for and seen at work on the battlefield.
The English Army has been very heav
ily reinforced in November. It is numerically stronger than at the outset of the campaign. The Indian troops have completed their apprenticeship in European warfare.
The Belgian Army has been reorganized into six divisions. It is ready and eager to reconquer the national territory.
A SERIES OF GERMAN REVERSES The enemy have failed in their abrupt attack upon Nancy.
They failed in their swift march on Paris.
They failed to envelop our left wing in August.
They failed in the same attempt in November.
They failed to pierce through our centre in September.
They failed in their attack by way of the coast on Dunkirk and Calais.
They failed in their attack on Ypres. The Bulletin des Armées concludes its account in these words:
Germany has exhausted its reserves in this fruitless effort. Her newly formed troops are raw.
Russia more and more asserts her superiority against Germany, as well as against Austria.
The German armies after this check are fatally doomed to retreat.
All this has been accomplished during the last four months. The moment had come to sum up these operations; the press is now free to comment upon them.
Disclaimer of Bias Against Germany and Austria
By William J. Bryan
The following letter is the most exhaustive document that has come from the Administration at Washington since the outbreak of the war dealing with any aspect of the relations of this country toward that conflict. It is intended as a categorical denial of the different charges that have been made and of the arguments current in German circles accusing the Administration of unfriendliness to Germany and Austria-Hungary. Senator Stone was interested in having these charges answered for two reasons: First, there is a large German population in St. Louis, the chief city of his State, and, second, he is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. Senator Stone wrote his letter of inquiry on Jan. 8, saying that he had received many letters from sympathizers with Germany and Austria who believed the United States Government had been showing partiality to England, France, and Russia.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 1915. Hon. William J. Stone, Chairman Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
EAR Mr. Stone: I have received your letter of the 8th inst. referring to frequent complaints
or charges made in one form or another through the press that this Government has shown partiality to Great Britain, France, and Russia against Germany and Austria during the present war and stating that you have received numerous letters to the same effect from sympathizers with the latter powers. You summarize the various grounds of these complaints and ask that you be furnished with whatever information the department may have touching these points of complaint in order that you may be informed as to what the true situation is in regard to these matters.
In order that you may have such information as the department has on the subjects referred to in your letter, I will take them up seriatim.
(1) Freedom of communication by submarine cables versus censored communication by wireless.
The reason that wireless messages and
cable messages require different treatment by a neutral Government is as follows:
Communication by wireless cannot be interrupted by a belligerent. With a
submarine cable it is otherwise. The possibility of cutting the cable exists, and if a belligerent possesses naval superiority the cable is cut, as was the German cable near the Azores by one of Germany's enemies, and as was the British cable near Fanning Island by a German naval force. Since a cable is subject to hostile attack, the responsibility falls upon the belligerent, and not upon the neutral, to prevent cable communication.
A more important reason, however, at least from the point of view of a neutral Government, is that messages sent out from a wireless station in neutral territory may be received by belligerent warships on the high seas. If these messages, whether plain or in cipher, direct the movements of warships or convey to them information as to the location of an enemy's public or private vessels, the neutral territory becomes a base of naval operations, to permit which would be essentially unneutral.
As a wireless message can be received by all stations and vessels within a given radius, every message in cipher, whatever its intended destination, must be censored, otherwise military information may be sent to warships off the coast of a neutral. It is manifest that a submarine cable is incapable of becoming a means of direct communication with a warship on the high seas; hence its use cannot, as a rule, make neutral territory a base for the direction of naval operations.
(2) Censorship of mails and in some cases repeated destruction of American letters on neutral vessels.
As to the censorship of mails, Germany, as well as Great Britain, has pursued this course in regard to private letters falling into their hands. The unquestioned right to adopt a measure of this sort makes objection to it inadvisable.
It has been asserted that American mail on board of Dutch steamers has been repeatedly destroyed. No evidence to this effect has been filed with the Government, and therefore no representations have been made. Until such a case is presented in concrete form this Government would not be justified in presenting the matter to the offending belligerent. Complaints have come to the department that mail on board neutral steamers has been opened and detained, but there seem to be but few cases where the mail from neutral countries has not been finally delivered. When mail is sent to belligerent countries open and is of a neutral and private character it has not been molested so far as the department is advised.
(3) Searching of American vessels for German and Austrian subjects on the high seas and in territorial waters of a belligerent.
So far as this Government has been informed, no American vessels on the high seas, with two exceptions, have been detained or searched by belligerent warships for German and Austrian subjects. One of the exceptions to which reference is made is now the subject of a rigid investigation, and vigorous rep
resentations have been made to the offending Government. The other exception, where certain German passengers were made to sign a promise not to take part in the war, has been brought to the attention of the offending Government with a declaration that such procedure, if true, is an unwaranted exercise of jurisdiction over American vessels in which this Government will not acquiesce.
An American private vessel entering voluntarily the territorial waters of a belligerent becomes subject to its municipal laws, as do the persons on board the vessel.
There have appeared in certain publications the assertion that failure to protest in these cases is an abandonment of the principle for which the United States went to war in .1812. If the failure to protest were true, which it is not, the principle involved is entirely different from the one appealed to against unjustifiable impressment of Americans in the British Navy in time of peace.
(4) Submission without protest to British violations of the rules regarding absolute and conditional contraband as laid down in The Hague.Conventions, the Declaration of London, and international law.
There is no Hague Convention which deals with absolute or conditional contraband and, as the Declaration of London is not in force, the rules of international law only apply. As to the articles to be regarded as contraband, there is no general agreement between nations. is the practice of a century, either in time of peace or after the outbreak of war, to declare the articles which it will consider as aboslute or conditional contraband. It is true that a neutral Government is seriously affected by this declaration, as the rights of its subjects or citizens may be impaired. But the rights and interests of belligerents and neutrals are opposed in respect to contraband articles and trade and there is no tribunal to which questions of difference may be readily submitted.
The record of the United States in the past is not free from criticism. When
neutral this Government has stood for a restricted list of absolute and conditional contraband. As a belligerent, we have contended for a liberal list, according to our conception of the necessities of the case.
The United States has made earnest representations to Great Britain in regard to the seizure and detention by the British authorities of all American ships or cargoes bona fide destined to neutral ports, on the ground that such seizures and detentions were contrary to the existing rules of international law. It will be recalled, however, that American courts have established various rules bearing on these matters. The rule of "continuous voyage " has been not only asserted by American tribunals, but extended by them.
They have exercised the right to determine from the circumstances whether the ostensible was the real destination. They have held that the shipment of articles of contraband to a neutral port "to order," from which, as a matter of fact, cargoes had been transshipped to the enemy, is corroborative evidence that the cargo is really destined to the enemy, instead of to the neutral port of delivery. It is thus seen that some of the doctrines which appear to bear harshly upon neutrals at the present time are analogous to or outgrowths from policies adopted by the United States when it was a belligerent. The Government, therefore, cannot consistently protest against the application of rules which it has followed in the past, unless they have not been practiced as heretofore.
(5) Acquiescence without protest to the inclusion of copper and other articles in the British lists of absolute contraband.
and has declared copper to be among such materials, it necessarily finds some embarrassment in dealing with the subject.
Moreover, there is no instance of the United States acquiescing in Great Britain's seizure of copper shipments. In every case in which it has been done vigorous representations have been made to the British Government, and the representatives of the United States have pressed for the release of the shipments.
(6) Submission without protest to interference with American trade to neutral countries in conditional and absolute contraband.
The fact that the commerce of the United States is interrupted by Great Britain is consequent upon the superiority of her navy on the high seas. History shows that whenever a country has possessed that superiority our trade has been interrupted and that few articles essential to the prosecution of the war have been allowed to reach its enemy from this country. The department's recent note to the British Government, which has been made public, in regard to detentions and seizures of American vessels and cargoes, is a complete answer to this complaint.
Certain other complaints appear aimed at the loss of profit in trade, which must include at least in part trade in contraband with Germany, while other complaints demand the prohibition of trade in contraband, which appears to refer to trade with the Allies.
(7) Submission without protest to interruption of trade in conditional contraband consigned to private persons in Germany and Austria, thereby supporting the policy of Great Britain to cut off all supplies from Germany and Austria.
As no American vessel, so far as known, has attempted to carry conditional contraband to Germany or Austria-Hungary, no ground of complaint has arisen out of the seizure or condemnation by Great Britain of an American vessel with a belligerent destination. Until a case arises and the Government has taken action upon it, criticism is
premature and unwarranted. The United States in its note of Dec. 28 to the British Government strongly contended for the principle of freedom of trade in articles of conditional contraband not destined to the belligerent's forces.
(8) Submission to British interference with trade in petroleum, rubber, leather, wool, &c.
Petrol and other petroleum products have been proclaimed by Great Britain as contraband of war. In view of the absolute necessity of such products to the use of submarines, aeroplanes, and motors, the United States Government has not yet reached the conclusion that they are improperly included in a list of contraband. Military operations today are largely a question of motive power through mechanical devices. It is therefore difficult to argue successfully against the inclusion of petroleum among the articles of contraband. As to the detention of cargoes of petroleum going to neutral countries, this Government has, thus far, successfully obtained the release in every case of detention or seizure which has been brought to its attention.
Great Britain and France have placed rubber on the absolute contraband list and leather on the conditional contraband list. Rubber is extensively used in the manufacture and operation of motors, and, like petrol, is regarded by some authorities as essential to motive Leather is even more power today. widely used in cavalry and infantry equipment. It is understood that both rubber and leather, together with wool, have been embargoed by most of the belligerent countries. It will be recalled that the United States has in the past exercised the right of embargo upon exports of any commodity which might aid the enemy's cause.
(9) The United States has not interfered with the sale to Great Britain and her allies of arms, ammunition, horses, uniforms, and other munitions of war, although such sales prolong the conflict.
There is no power in the Executive
to prevent the sale of ammunition to the belligerents. The duty of a neutral to restrict trade in munitions of war has never been imposed by international law or by municipal statute. It has never been the policy of this Government to prevent the shipment of arms or ammunition into belligerent territory, except in the case of neighboring American republics, and then only when civil strife prevailed. Even to this extent the belligerents in the present conflict, when they were neutrals, have never, so far as the records disclose, limited the sale of munitions of war. It is only necessary to point to the enormous quantities of arms and ammunition furnished by manufacturers in Germany to the belligerents in the Russo-Japanese war, and in the recent Balkan wars, to establish the general recognition of the propriety of the trade by a neutral nation.
It may be added that on the 15th of December last, the German Ambassador, by direction of his Government, presented a copy of a memorandum of the Imperial German Government which, among other things, set forth the attitude of that Government toward traffic in contraband of war by citizens of neutral countries. The Imperial Government stated that "under the general principles of international law, no exception can be taken to neutral States, letting war material go to Germany's enemies from or through neutral territory," and that the adversaries of Germany in the present war are, in the opinion of the Imperial Government, authorized to "draw on the United States contraband of war, and especially arms worth billions of marks."
These principles, as the Ambassador stated, have been accepted by the United States Government in the statement issued by the Department of State on Oct. 15 last, entitled "Neutrality and Trade in Contraband." Acting in conformity with the propositions there set forth, the United States has itself taken no part in contraband traffic, and has, so far as possible, lent its influence toward equal treatment for all belligerents in