United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Walter Hines Page to Secretary of State Robert M. Lansing
Dated July 5, 1917
Rec’d. July 5, 3:15 P. M.
Secretary of State,
6644, July 5 9 a. m.
Strictly confidential, to the President and the Secretary.
A threatening controversy is going on in the British Cabinet about the proper attitude towards the submarine peril. The Admiralty faction, whose facts which are indisputable have been cabled to you, take a very gloomy view of situation and insist upon Cabinet’s making a confession at least to us of the full extent of the danger and on giving more information to the Public. The public has been kept in too great ignorance to feel alarm. The political faction which is yet the strongest, minimizes the facts and probably for political reasons refuse to give more publicity. They plead the necessity of exclusion full facts from the enemy and the danger of throwing the public into panic. The Prime Minister who is always optimistic and who seems to yield his judgment to political motives gave the public in his Glasgow speech a comforting impression of the situation, and impression that the facts do not warrant. This facti[o]nal controversy is most unfortunate and may cause an explosion of public feeling at any time and consequently changes in the Cabinet. If the public here or in the United States knew all the facts the present British Government would probably fall. The Political situation here as well as the submarine situation is therefore full of danger.
P A G E.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. In the top right hand corner of the second page “From London #5544 is written but it is believed that 6644, the document identifying number, was intended.