McAdoo brought up the matter of shipping being held in our ports. It appears that something more than half of the normal number of ships has gone out since February 1st, and they all seem to be getting over the first scare, because Germany is not doing more than her former amount of damage.
We were told of intercepted cables to the Wolfe News Agency, in Berlin, in which the American people were represented as being against war under any circumstances—sympathizing strongly with a neutrality that would keep all Americans off the seas. Thus does the Kaiser learn of American sentiment! No wonder he sizes us up as cowards! ...
F. K. L.
Washington, February 21, 1917
My dear Cobb,—I have told Henry Hall that he should come down here and give the story of how Bernstorff handled the newspaper men, and thus worked the American people, ... He ought to get out of the newspaper men themselves, and he can, the whole atmosphere of the Washington situation since Dernberg left,—Bernstorff’s little knot of society friends, chiefly women, the dinners that they had, his appeals for sympathy, the manner in which he would offset whatever the State Department was attempting to get before the American people. He would give away to newspaper men news that he got from his own government before it got to the State Department. He would give away also the news that he got from the State Department before the State Department itself gave it out, and he had a regular room in which he received these newspaper men, and handed them cigars and so on, and carried on a propaganda against the policy of the United States while acting as Ambassador for Germany, the like of which nobody has carried on since Genet; and worse than his, because it was carried on secretly and cunningly. ...
Hall will be able to get a ripping good story, I am satisfied,—a good two pages on “Modern Diplomacy,” which will reveal how long-suffering the United States has been. Cordially yours,
To George W. Lane
Washington, February 25, 1917
My dear George,—On Friday we had one of the most animated sessions of the Cabinet that I suppose has ever been held under this or any other President. It all arose out of a very innocent question of mine as to whether it was true that the wives of American Consuls on leaving Germany had been stripped naked, given an acid bath to detect writing on their flesh, and subjected to other indignities. Lansing answered that it was true. Then I asked Houston about the bread riots in New York, as to whether there was shortage of food because of car shortage due to vessels not going out with exports. This led to a discussion of the great problem which we all had been afraid to raise—Why shouldn’t