15. DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS BY TliE VARIOUS NATIONS DURING THE WAR. United States.— On 4 Aug. 1914, seven days after Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia, Presideat Wilson issued a formal proclamation of American neutrality. In this document he summed up the laws and principles of international law which persons residing in the United States must obey in order to observe neutrality, and, on the other hand, warned the belligerent powers not to infringe upon the rights of neutral peoples. Citizens of the United States were prohibited from originating a military force in aid of a belfigerent, and were warned that while. they might manufacture and sell within the Untied States arms and munitions of war, they must not transport such articles upon the hagh seas for the uae of a belfigerent.
On the subject of wireless communication President Wilson issued a special proclamation on 5 August *It is now ordered,x' he said, *by virtue of authority vested in me to estate. lish regulations on the subject, that all radio stations within the jurisdiction of the United States of America are hereby prohibited from transmitting or receiving for delivery mes sages of an unneutral nature, and train in any way rendering to any one of the belligerents any unneutral service during the continuance of hostifities.* These proclamations were followed by an other on 18 August appealing to she American people for a broad observance of the spirit of neutrality. *The effect of dse war upon the United States will depend upon' what Amezican citizens say or do. Every man • who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of im partiality and fairness and friendliness to ail concerned. The spirit of the natkin in this critical matter will he determined largely by what individuals and society and those gath ered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what our ministers utter in their pulpits and men proclaim as their opinions on the streets. . . . I Senture, therefore, my fellow-tounttyment to ' rlak a solemn word of warning to you agamet t deepest, MO6t subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which may spring out of passion ately taking sides. The United States inust be neutral in fact as well as in name during these days that are to try men's souls.* In the first days of the vrar the firm of J. P. Morgan and Company was approached upon the subject of financing a loan of $100,000,000 to the French government, the proceeds of which were to be used exclusively to establish a credit for the purchase of Anierican goo& by the French people. The transaction was in
terrupted, however, by the annottncernent of Secretary Bryan, on 15 August, that *loans by Ameripan bankers to any foreign nation which is at war is inconsistent with the true spirit of neutrality.* The superiority of the Allied Powers upon the sea made it impossible for the Central na- ' tians to import munitions from Arnerica. Therefore, they held it unneutral for the United States to sell powder, guns or shrapnel to any of the belligerents. On 15 October Rob ert- Lansing issued a statement giving tbe offi cial interpretation of the Department of State upon the obligations of neutrals in this matter. gin the first place,* he said, *it should be un derstood that, generally speaking, a citizen of the United States can sell to a belligerent gov-, ernment or its agent any article of commerce which he pleases. He is not prohibited from doing this by any rule of international law, by any treaty provisions or by any statute of the United States. It makes no difference whether this articles sold are exclusively for vrar pur. poses, such as firearms, explosives, etc., or are foodstuffs, clothing, horse_s, etc., for the use of the wary or navy of the belligerent Further more, a central Government is not compelled by international taw, by treaty, or by statute to prevent these sales to a belligerent. Such sales, therefore, by American citizens do not in the least affect the neutrality of the United States. It is true that such articles as those mentioned are considered contraband and are, outside the. territorial.jurisdiction of a neutral nation, sub ject to seizure by an enemy of the purchasing Government, but it is the enemy's duty to pre vent the articles reaching their destination, riot the duty of the nation whose citizens have sold them. If the enemy of the purchasing nation haptiens for the time to be unable to do this, that is, for hirn, otte of the misfortunes of war; the inability, however, imposes upon the neutral Government no obligation to prevent the sale.* Despite this clear statement several bills were introduced into Congress, when it con vened in December, to place an absolute ern barge upon the exportation of arms aud muni tions of war to belbgerent nations. Although great pressure was brought to bear on sena tors and representatives to vote for these meas;• tires, by German sympathizers, especially in the Middle West, they failed of passage.