For a while it looked as if the only possible adjustment would be either for von Tirpitz to go and his policies with him, or for von Jagow and the Chancellor to go with the corresponding danger of a rupture with America. But von Tirpitz would not resign. He left Great Headquarters for Berlin and intimated to his friends that he was going to run the Navy to suit himself.
I arranged that Colonel House should have an interview with the Chancellor at this time, and after dinner one night he had a long talk with the Chancellor in which the dangers of the situation were pointed out. Von Jagow had the same idea and said that it was "fate," and that there was nothing more to be done.
Zimmermann, like the Chancellor, is ambitious, bigoted, cold-blooded and an intriguer of the first calibre. As long as he was Under Secretary of State he fought von Jagow and tried repeatedly to oust him. So it was not surprising to Americans when they heard that Zimmermann had succeeded von Jagow. The Gerard banquet, however, came too late. The die was cast.
Gerard the American Ambassador. The nature of these negotiations is still unknown to the German public. "It is stated on the highest authority that Herr von Jagow, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg are unanimous in their anxiety to settle American difficulties once and for all, retaining the friendship of the United States in any event.
We doubt whether there is any other government in the world that would have shown the patience and moderation, under like provocation, that have been shown by the American Government in these Lusitania negotiations." I sent the editorial to von Jagow, who returned it the next day with the brief comment on one of his calling cards: "With many thanks."
He said that the restrictions as to submarines imposed by Germany's acceptance of the President's ultimatum after the Sussex affair, were growing burdensome and intolerable to the military and naval masters of Germany and that they were bringing all kinds of pressure to bear upon the leaders of the Civil Government, notably Von Bethmann-Hollweg and Foreign Minister Von Jagow, to repudiate the undertaking.
During all the period of the war in Germany I had been on good terms with the members of the government, namely, the Chancellor, von Jagow, Zimmermann and the other officials of the Foreign Office, as well as with Helfferich, Dr.
In June I had had an interview with Secretary of State von Jagow, in which he protested against the attitude of the United States Government and said that America was not acting as neutral as Germany did during the Spanish-American war.
Von Jagow was not a good speaker and the agitation against him was started by those who claimed that, in answering questions in the Reichstag, he did not make a forceful enough appearance on behalf of the government. Von Jagow did not cultivate the members of the Reichstag and his delicate health prevented him from undertaking more than the duties of his office.
On hearing this news, the Ambassador said that now there would be no rupture between Germany and the United States, for Herr Zimmermann was his personal friend and was opposed to war, while Herr von Jagow, as an aristocrat, did not love the Americans, and looked down on bourgeois Gerard.