MR. HERRICK'S interest in the choice of the Panama route for the inter-oceanic canal came about through a visit to this country of Philippe Bunau-Varilla at a time when the controversy over whether Nicaragua or Panama should be selected was at its height. This distinguished Frenchman, who had been one of the chief engineers under De Lesseps at the time he was trying to dig the Panama Canal, had made a careful study of both routes and was enthusiastically in favor of choosing Panama. He probably knew more concerning all the facts than any other man living.
Having decided to go to the United States and make an effort to convince the American public of the superiority of the Panama route, Colonel Bunau-Varilla was told in Paris that one of the men who could best help him in America was Myron Herrick. After a visit to Cincinnati he therefore went to Cleveland. Here Mr. Herrick arranged a luncheon for him at the Union Club, to which he invited Cleveland's most prominent business men. Many of them were won over to Bunau-Varilla's idea, amongst them being Mr. Herrick.
Senator Hanna was not in Cleveland that day but Mr. Herrick arranged for him to meet Bunau-Varilla in New York. Out of this conference there sprang up a friendship with the senator which had a marked influence upon subsequent American history. Colonel Bunau-Varilla followed this up by a number of addresses delivered in various American cities.
In June, 1902, after a bitter struggle that lasted several months, a measure championed by Senator Hanna and declaring in favor of Panama, though sharply contested in the Senate, was passed by a majority of eight votes. The wisdom of this choice never since has been questioned.
It is interesting to remember that Senator Hanna himself, previous to this time, had rather favored the Nicaraguan route.
While he was ambassador to France Mr. Herrick was keenly interested in seeing that suitable honor was done by America to Ferdinand de Lesseps for his share in creating the Panama Canal, and a letter written to him from Suez in January, 1914, not only bears witness to the gratitude of the great engineer's son, but pays a tribute to General Goethals:
DEAR MR. AMBASSADOR:
Being in Egypt, I have only just seen the beautiful letter which you sent Mr. Perry Belmont and which is such a tribute to the memory of my father.
With a kindliness worthy of the generous character of your nation, you have attributed to France the rôle of Architect of the Panama Canal and you complete the homage which you do to my father's initiative by putting in the place where it belongs the splendid figure of Colonel Goethals.
My father never considered himself anything except an artisan of the world's progress. He always effaced his personality and consecrated himself disinterestedly to whatever could bring nations together, thereby teaching us all to esteem each other, to forget hatred and suspicion, and to prepare for the day when the only struggles would be peaceful ones seeking to ameliorate the condition of the human race. If he were alive to-day, he would see in Colonel Goethals one of those men of genius before whom we ought all to bow and to whom no one can do enough honor.
I beg your Excellency to believe how grateful I am and to accept, etc, etc.
CHARLES DE LESSEPS.
In March, 1914, Mr. Herrick wrote to President Wilson to urge that our government place a suitable memorial to Ferdinand de Lesseps at Panama:
"His reputation has been obscured for a long time by the scandals surrounding the unfortunate financial ventures connected with the Panama Canal, but, as is the case with most men who accomplish great things, there comes a time when the memory of their mistakes fades away and their great worth is finally recognized.
"The cost of a memorial to De Lesseps at the Panama Canal would be an insignificant item as compared with its great sentimental value at this time."
THE American newspapers have recently [September, 1929, had much to say on the subject of the Merchant Marine Act of 1928 and the first applications of the recent Farm Loan Law. They also mention the steady advance of Union Carbide & Carbon stock on the New York Exchange. These are three matters which are closely interwoven with Mr. Herrick's life and the prominent places they occupy in the political or financial world to-day illustrate his vision in public affairs and in business enterprise.
His efforts to get the American public interested in farm credits and his presentation of the case to such bodies as the American Bankers' Association were made at a time when no other prominent man was occupying himself with this question. In what concerns our merchant marine, he was less of an innovator, for he had from the start powerful associates in his endeavors. Here he was only one of a number working to the same end; but for twenty-five years he dreamed of the day when our flag would be restored to the seas; he saw the vital importance of it long before the Great War; and when that crisis arrived, his first thoughts turned with poignant regret to the situation in which we found ourselves because of the long indifference of Congress to building up a, merchant fleet. He could justly say, as he repeated so often in his letters during the closing months of 1914, "if only our pleading during the last ten years had been listened to!"
The story of farm credits will be briefly related in another place, but his work in favor of our merchant marine belongs to this period of his life.
While never at any time financially interested, directly or indirectly, in shipping or shipbuilding, early in his business career Mr. Herrick became convinced that the United States ought to be the proprietor of what he called "its own delivery wagons" and not depend upon and pay its competitors for that service. When, therefore, in November, 1904, three of his friends, Colonel J. J. Sullivan, Harvey Goulder, and John A. Penton, organized the Merchant Marine League of the United States, they had little difficulty in prevailing upon him to put his energy behind the enterprise. He was made vice-president and soon became the league's best-known supporter. The directors consisted of a dozen outstanding citizens of Cleveland.
Mr. Herrick's foresight is shown by his decision that the league would under no circumstances accept financial contributions or aid of any character from those whose interests might be forwarded as the result of legislation by the United States Congress. There is notably a record of the receipt of $2,000 from an eminent citizen of San Francisco, sent to help along the campaign of education then being started in many states, and which was returned to the donor because he was in the shipping business.
From 1904 to 1910 this work was carried on in all parts of the country, and resolutions were adopted by numerous business and political associations urging action upon Congress. The platform of the Republican party in its national conventions, the American Bankers' Association, the National Manufacturers' Association, many chambers of commerce, industrial organizations, and state political conventions demanded the restoration of our flag to the seas. McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft in their speeches' and in messages to Congress all urged the need of legislation, and it finally became evident that the possibility of favorable action was annoying the foreign shipping firms, and especially the German lines.
Among the most active leaders in the efforts directed against the Merchant Marine League were Representatives Kustermarm of Wisconsin and Steenerson of Minnesota, the former having been born in Germany. Kustermann, speaking with a German accent often difficult to understand, was constantly on his feet attacking every proposition that favored the creation of an American merchant fleet.
The league issued a pamphlet replying to these speeches, and in it some serious charges were made against the loyalty of their authors to American institutions. Finally a Congressional investigation was ordered. The accounts and correspondence of the league were examined by the committee and subpoenas issued for its officers, including Mr. Herrick, to appear in Washington. But before this, many damaging proofs had been written into the testimony showing the character of some of the influences operating against merchant marine legislation, among them being that the Washington manager of a great press association was in the pay of the Hamburg-American and North German Lloyd steamship companies.
On Mr. Herrick's arrival in Washington to testify, the newspapers heralded his arrival and the committee room was crowded to the door with people eager to hear what he would say. As the examination went on, the attorney representing Kustermann and Steenerson finally demanded whether it was not true that Mr. Herrick's interest in a merchant marine was prompted by a desire for personal profit. At this he could not contain himself, and, rising from his seat he hurled an open volume of bound testimony at the head of the lawyer, shouting: "It's an infernal lie!" He followed this with a vehement address on the unselfish and patriotic purposes of the organization and its supporters. When the investigation ended the committee reported that they had discovered no testimony that reflected upon the integrity of the league or its motives.
A short time previous to this the Gallinger Bill, which the league had endorsed and pushed with all its influence, passed the United States Senate unanimously and was lost in the House by only two votes, the defeat being largely engineered by a Republican Congressman from Mr. Herrick's own state. This was something he spoke of with sorrow to the last day of his life. For the action of the House was a severe blow, proving as it did the power of the opposition to delay or defeat any measure which would put our flag back on the ocean. Then the war came on, and all the results he had feared and predicted were realized. Numerous letters from Paris, beginning with one a few days after hostilities were declared, bear witness to his poignant regret that the situation now created for our country on the sea found it wholly unequipped to meet the emergency. He had done all that was in his power to prepare for this event during the ten years preceding it.
In 1886, when he became secretary and treasurer of the Society for Savings, Mr. Herrick's business career, properly speaking, commenced, and it continued with increasing success and no interruption except during his service as governor and as ambassador. Most of the business men of Cleveland, the young ones as well as the older ones, take pleasure in relating some personal incident illustrating two of his salient business characteristics, his constructive ability, and his willingness always to help "the other fellow." He had many a knockdown blow, was in many a difficult deal, but no one ever recalls his having squeezed a rival or driven a hard bargain. And then, he loved Cleveland, believed in her future, and worked for her prosperity; that meant for him a readiness to help along every one of her citizens.
The creation of the now famous Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation is to a large extent his work. Twenty-five years ago, with his life-long associate Mr. James Parmelee, and Mr. Webb C. Hayes, he acquired from the Thomson Houston Company their plant in Freemont, Ohio, and organized the National Carbon Company. Other plants were purchased or brought in and the corporation became truly "national," its stock being held all over the country east of the Mississippi. Later on Mr. Herrick and his associates became interested in the Linde Air Products Company and through it came into contact with the Union Carbide Company of Chicago. In time a combination was talked of, and finally, in an interview between Mr. Herrick and Mr. G. O. Knapp of the Union Carbide, the basis of an agreement was drawn up without the smallest difficulty, and upon its being approved by the three companies concerned, the Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation was formed. Mr. Knapp was made president and Mr. Herrick chairman of the board. Nothing in his later business career pleased Mr. Herrick more than the steady success of this corporation and its expansion in the international as well as the national field.
SPEAKING of the circumstances which led to his first appointment as ambassador, Mr. Herrick remarked:
"Taft is a man you can't get mad at. His heart is as big as his body, and he never did anything but what was kind in his life. What happened between him and me on one occasion always makes me think of the fable of the elephant and the thrush. Mrs. Thrush had a nice little family. One day an elephant passed, stepped on the thrush and killed her. He was a good, kind elephant, and all upset by what had happened, he looked for something he could do for those poor little motherless thrushes to show how sorry he was. As he had noticed that Mrs. Thrush was in the habit of sitting on her children he did the same thing, and he was distressed to death at the result when he noticed it.
"When I was running for governor in 1905, Taft came to Akron and made a speech. He intended it to help me, but it had just the opposite effect, for he said a lot of things that my opponents took hold of and used to advantage. My friends all thought that, without meaning to do so, he contributed a certain amount to my defeat. I have always had an idea that his regret over this occurrence, as much as anything else, led him to offer me a place in his cabinet when he became President. There was also some talk of my taking a mission abroad. I told him I should like to accept but I couldn't. My business affairs were in a complicated state at that time and I was unwilling to sacrifice the interests of my friends even if I could have disregarded my own. It did not seem the moment when I could quit.
"Then in 1912, when Robert Bacon resigned his post as ambassador to France, Taft very generously offered it to me. He was in Cleveland and we had given him a reception at my house. After everybody had gone, we gathered in my library. One of my grandsons was on Taft's knee and the other was playing with Archie Butt's sword. It was impossible for him to understand why Archie, who was resplendent in full uniform, was not the President. Taft intimated that I could go to Paris or he might arrange to make me Secretary of Agriculture. He knew about my intense interest in rural credits and my desire to see some financial plan worked out for the benefit of our farmers. To be at the head of the Department of Agriculture, therefore, looked like the best opportunity for trying to carry out my ideas; but when I told my wife and daughter-in-law of Taft's proposals, the latter lost no time in saying, "I vote for Paris." As Mrs. Herrick inclined that way too, I finally came to the conclusion that I would prefer going to France. I remembered how John Hay had told me that his taking the ambassadorship to England instead of Italy had been decided by his daughter; but I little suspected at the time that Agnes's preference for Paris would lead to such unexpected consequences.
"More than two years had now passed since Taft's first kind suggestions, my business affairs had become straightened out, and I felt free at last to take a place in, the government service. I had frequently declined it, and never without regret. I also believed that going to France would in no way prevent my working on my pet project of rural credits---quite the contrary. In fact, I told Taft before I sailed that if I went to Paris I did not expect to just sit down and be an ornament, if that was what an ambassador was supposed to be; I wanted to accomplish something, and the thing I had most in mind was a sound plan for financing the farmer."
The work Mr. Herrick did in that matter will be told in another place. I return to his account of his visit to the White House:
"I was booked to make a speech about this time at Steubenville on farm credits and I telegraphed the President that I would like to go from there to Washington, to which place he had returned, in order to talk things over with him. In the Metropolitan Club I met Cabot Lodge, and he asked me if I was not going to France. I did not say yes or no, so he proceeded in a somewhat vigorous strain of argument, 'If you don't take it, they are likely to appoint H-----, he probably would not be confirmed and we shall get into a terrible row. It is just the place for you; it involves no obligations on your part and I hope you are going. It will help us out of a hole, too.'
"'I am glad you told me,' I answered.
"When I walked over to the White House, Taft greeted me with, 'You have come to accept, haven't you?' I answered that I had, if he was still sure he wanted me.
"'I am very glad,' he replied; 'it will relieve me from an embarrassing situation. Moreover, you probably will not have to stay more than a year and it will be a good holiday for you.'
"It was then that I told him I did not want to take the place unless I could accomplish something, and I outlined my plan of drawing up an official report on the way farm credits worked in Europe. He approved of this idea, and I started out on the 'holiday' which has lasted more or less ever since."
Mr. Herrick may have been unconsciously influenced by what he facetiously termed his ambassadorial blood in a story which he later told to a visitor at the Paris embassy, He said, "In a recent visit to England I made some slight genealogical studies in which I was both interested and amused to discover that an ancestor, a goldsmith by trade, so skilfully repaired a brooch for Queen Elizabeth that she appointed him her ambassador to Constantinople. So you see I have ambassadorial blood!"
At the time Mr. Herrick speaks of, I was on duty in Paris as military attaché, Mr. Bacon being my chief. A few days before Mr. Herrick was expected, while driving in the Bois, Mr. Bacon told me he was trying to make up his mind whether it would do for him to remain another week in Paris, although it was usual for the retiring ambassador to leave before his successor arrived.
"Henry White is here," he said, "and I asked him what he thought about it, but his sense of diplomatic propriety is outraged at the idea. However, I do not see what difference it could make. I like Mr. Herrick, we are excellent friends, and it might even be useful for him to discuss affairs with me while gathering up the reins of his new duties. Do you believe he would mind?"
Knowing Mr. Herrick's reputation for amiability and of being no stickler over such formalities, I was sure he would have no objection to finding Mr. Bacon here when he arrived; but it was nevertheless evident that the new ambassador and his family would be put to some inconvenience, as they had taken Mr. Bacon's house and expected to walk into it on reaching Paris.
Mr. Bacon's passage was engaged on the Titanic for the first and fatal voyage of that ship. He changed to the France, sailing a few days later, and had he not done so there is every probability that he would have gone down with the Titanic, for he was not the man to bother about himself if women and children were in danger. When he heard of the disaster he wrote saying that he felt he owed his life to Mr. Herrick's amiable acquiescence in his desire to stay in Paris a little longer than he should have done.
The night after this drive with Mr. Bacon, I came down with appendicitis and was immediately operated on. Mr. Herrick arrived, and one of his first acts was to come to the hospital to see me; and with all the urgent occupations of those first weeks, he repeated this visit frequently. It was my earliest contact with a kindness that never grew weary, a thoughtfulness that never failed.
Robert Bliss, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Warren Robbins were the secretaries at the embassy. Captain Henry Hough was naval attaché. The ambassador soon brought over Laurence Norton as his private secretary. His son Parmely and his wife frequently crossed for a visit to their parents, and it would be difficult to imagine an official and personal family more united and jolly. It was a vast pleasure to serve in such an atmosphere. The house in the Rue François Premier where Mr. Herrick lived was first rented as an embassy by Mr. Henry White. He passed it on to Mr. Bacon and the latter to Mr. Herrick. Both the ambassador and his wife liked to entertain, and the house was admirably suited for it. The Parmely Herricks were young and full of zest, and their presence made a good excuse for many young people's dancing parties in addition to the more stately affairs.
In 1912 the French were not such dancers as they are now; in fact, they danced very badly as a rule, and in most of the big houses neither the music nor the drawing rooms were propitious for that amusement. The Boston was still in vogue, but the one-step was the rage in America and, of course, the Parmely Herricks brought it to the embassy. I remember the first time a Negro banjo player made his appearance at a party there. The French people found his music irresistible and even the ladies with grown daughters, unable to sit still under its contagious rhythm, would get up and ask some of us for a turn. It was not then the custom for a Frenchwoman to dance if she had a daughter who was "out"---and most of them had had one "out" well before they were forty; but the dashing invitation of that banjo carried all before it.
Monsieur Blanc, whose orchestra had played at all the great balls for generations, was in despair. Everybody now asked him for banjo music and there was only this one darkey player in all Paris; what could he do, where could he get a banjo, could I help him? It was a serious matter---for Monsieur Blanc, at least. Finally a banjo was discovered somewhere, and during the rest of that season it was rather sad to see a high-class violinist like Blanc ignominiously picking at that instrument (not very well, either) and trying to whip his orchestra into the ecstasies of pre-war jazz. For society wanted it and Blanc had to give it to them or retire.
What armies of banjoists, saxophonists, fancy drummers and other jazz artists, white and black, have invaded Paris since that time! But we are talking now of before-the-war days.
Mr. Bacon liked to dance; so did Mrs. Bacon; and at strictly American parties in their embassy they would often set the pace. Mr. Herrick never danced, but his children were indefatigable, and in 1912 and 1913 that big salon in the Rue François Premier, so perfectly suited for such occasions, with its long row of huge windows opening on to the garden, was the scene of more gayety than perhaps any other room in Paris. A few months later, and during four long years, it was to be filled with dressings for the wounded, supplies for the suffering, and rows of tables and typewriters for keeping the records of the American Relief Clearing House.
Two peculiarities of French life Mr. Herrick could not fully accept or cease to struggle against. One was the fact that he almost never ran into cabinet officers, senators, etc., at clubs or social affairs. They invited him to a formal dinner or he invited them. If he wanted to have a talk with them he made an appointment and called. The other surprising fact was that government officials and what in Washington they call "society people" did not mix. It made life more difficult for an ambassador who liked men and wanted to see frequently and learn to know those with whom he was called upon to do business. It was needless to tell him that this was the outcome of an old quarrel dating back to the beginning of the Third Republic. He fought against the idea.
One day soon after a new Cabinet had been installed, he said to me: "I don't know many of these men. I have dined with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and some of the others were present, but I want to really get acquainted with them. Suppose we start out and make a few calls." I of course assented and we drove first to the Ministry of Finance in the Palace of the Louvre. I asked if the minister was at home and would receive the American ambassador. There was a little scurrying about, we were shown into a reception room, and presently the minister came in. After the usual greetings, I could see that our host was beginning to wonder what important matter could have brought him this visit. Mr. Herrick said nothing about finance or politics but he told an amusing story and we left. Then he went to the Ministry of War. Here I was at least more at home, and I whispered to one of the aides-de-camp that the ambassador had merely come for a social call. We had a pleasant visit and went home. Mr. Herrick never got any further in this attempt to bring American ways into French life, until the war came on. Then he was in his element. All barriers were down, he was already a popular figure, and the authorities constantly sought him out or welcomed every suggestion he came to make.
Paris society before the war---that is, the old aristocracy and the people whose houses were most agreeable from a strictly social point of view---remained aloof from the officials of the government. At least each circle lived and entertained apart. This had been first brought about by the royalists as a protest against the "usurping republic"; the snobs followed suit, and the system became confirmed. The whole idea distressed if it did not offend Mr. Herrick. He felt that all the forces of the country, social as well as others, should work in France's interest, and his criticism of American business men for not taking their part in political work found an echo in his condemnation of the attitude of the French aristocracy toward their own government. I have known him at dinner, when some "unreconstructed" duchess spoke slightingly of government people and their wives, to read her a lesson, quietly and with good humor, which astonished her mightily. I remember one of these women, of ancient name and lineage, who told him that what he said had caused her to think about the matter as she had never done previously; and this was even before the war came on to obliterate, as it did, almost all divisions and prejudices.
At the first dinner the ambassador gave to the President of France, he talked to me about the people he wanted to invite to meet him. "I do not see why," he said, "I cannot in my own way make a small start toward bringing these forces together. They are all ardently patriotic, all French, and all influential; moreover, they are all my friends, and it seems to me I ought to be able to invite them together under my roof without giving anybody offense." There were some timid souls who advised him against such an experiment, but after listening to them he decided the matter with his own common sense and fearlessness. The evening was a great success and both sides were glad to meet on pleasant neutral territory.
After becoming thoroughly at home in his new post, Mr. Herrick conceived the idea that it would be a most useful thing for both France and the United States if a visit from President Poincaré to our country could be arranged, and there ensued a personal correspondence between him and President Wilson on the subject. Mr. Wilson showed himself very sympathetic to the idea and emphasized the great pleasure it would be to see Monsieur Poincaré and the enthusiastic welcome which he knew the American people would give him. But the President was perfectly plain in warning the ambassador that his returning this visit would be out of the question. It would be contrary to precedent, and he thought the American people were very jealous about having the President absent himself for any length of time from his duties, which, he adds, "I now perceive have no intervals and no end."
In one of his letters on this subject, written in December, 1913, Mr. Herrick refuses to give up the hope that the visit can eventually be arranged at some auspicious moment. The Panama-Pacific Exposition was being organized and he thought that if Monsieur Poincaré could go to America at that time it would, among other results, have a "happy effect upon our Spanish-American policy and upon the good will of Spanish-Americans. The Exposition might be lifted to quite another plane in the opinion of foreign countries. It seems that something ought to be done to make it more international in its character than it now seems likely to be."
The difficulties which stood in the way of this visit had not been overcome when the war arrived and definitely prevented it.
Writing to his children on the first Fourth of July reception he held on assuming his duties, Mr. Herrick says:
Paris, July 5, 1912
The reception at the house was successful, the day was beautiful and many people came. Charles, the old messenger at the chancery, has just left the following note on my desk: "Excellency: For twenty-three years I have attended the 4th of July receptions of your predecessors, and yesterday was the most successful I have seen yet---more numerous and select. Your servant. Charles Dion." I think your mother and myself shook hands with some fifteen hundred people yesterday.
There was a part of my speech at the Chamber of Commerce banquet which was not printed, but the audience seemed amused when I told them that on going to Washington for a week to learn diplomacy I met an ex-ambassador and had half-an-hour's interview with him. He told me among other things that I must be very careful to keep away from dangerous subjects of conversation and be agreeable to the people who came. For instance, when a man from Boston called, I should talk to him about beans; when a man from Chicago came in I could talk to him about corn; but if the perplexing situation arose where they were both present at the same time, I could then talk about succotash, and thereby compliment both of them.
Mr. Roosevelt's visit to Paris in June, 1914, was a source of great pleasure to Mr. Herrick and he refers to it in several of his letters to his son:
Paris, June 15, 1914
Roosevelt and Mrs. Longworth and Philip Roosevelt came at 4.30 in the morning. Mr. Bliss and Laurence Norton received them and took them to the Hotel de Crillon. At 9.30, Roosevelt went with me to Brentano's, the Louvre, Kahn's Garden, and the Bagatelle Gardens. We spent the morning together, and at one o'clock lunched with Hanotaux ---no ladies present. Mr. Ribot, who formed the brief cabinet, Boutroux, and other philosophers were there, and everybody talked until twenty minutes of five, when I took Roosevelt to meet President Poincaré. Later, he and Mrs. Longworth and Philip came to dinner. For the moment, I do not recall all the names of the guests, but among them were Hanotaux, Bergson, Liard (Rector of the Sorbonne), Rodin (1), Morton Fullerton, Mrs. Edith Wharton, Mrs. Lodge, daughter-in-law of Senator Lodge, Madame Waddington, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, and others. Roosevelt and Hanotaux got into a discussion in the smoking room, which lasted until 12 o'clock before it could be broken up. He was in excellent condition, and I was amazed at the wide range of his knowledge. He was able to hold his own with the Academicians all along the line, and all were pleased to meet him.
Rodin, who had not been out for some time, in response to our telegraphic invitation answered that he would come if he could find his clothes, but that he didn't think it would be proper to come to the embassy in morning dress. We answered that his name and reputation entitled him to come in his pajamas if he couldn't find anything else. The old man appeared, however, in his evening clothes.
Roosevelt and I did not talk politics very much---except a little in the morning---but on his return from Madrid he came to the embassy at about 9 o'clock and remained until midnight---and we then went over the whole field of politics. I was very much struck with his evident moderation and more lenient way of looking at all the questions involved. He talked very frankly about his own case . . . that the antagonisms against him were so intense that he felt that he probably could not obtain the New York delegation, and without that, it would be difficult. He said that if, to-day, the candidate were to be selected, he saw no one who could bring the forces together except myself, and that he hoped the situation would so shape itself that I would be able to unite the party later on. Of course I took this for "pleasant" conversation, and regarded it, as I told him, as absurd, but that I did feel that if we had any sanity left in either party, we would come together on some reasonable basis and form an opposition against the present order of things; to all of which he agreed. . . . His visit was most interesting and enjoyable and left in my mind the impression of what I believe to be an undeniable fact---that Roosevelt is one of the greatest, if not the greatest man of the time.
... Ribot's cabinet has come and gone---if not the shortest, one of the shortest that ever was. It was an excellent one, and there is general regret expressed here, in England, and in Russia that it did not stand. We met the Ribots at a dinner at the Luxembourg Palace---given by the President of the Senate. Madame Ribot was very much elated. She, by the way, was a Chicago woman, having left there in her youth. I sat beside her at dinner, and she was expecting, within a few days, to move into the Ministère de la Justice, Place Vendôme. The dinner was for about 150---many ambassadors were there, and we were all kept waiting until long past the hour. After three-quarters of an hour, I inquired whom they were waiting for, and was told for "one of the members of the Cabinet." I remarked that he was taking great chances of losing his seat at the table because the Cabinet might fall before he arrived. I had not observed Madame Ribot sitting near by. She did not seem to enjoy the joke quite as much as the others who were less interested. The prophecy was not far wrong, for the Cabinet fell the next morning. The Viviani cabinet has just been formed, and is holding its first meeting to-day. This is the sixth ministry since our residence here.
He received a letter from Senator Elihu Root, dated June 5, 1914:
"I suppose that you are beginning to feel like coming home. I am very much pleased, however, that you should have been left in Paris as long as you have. A man has to stay in an embassy about so long in order to be regarded as a sure-enough ambassador, instead of a pro tempore, ad interim stop-gap. I have always drawn the line at a minimum of two years, and you have passed that now. In view of the hunger and thirst of the Democratic party for offices, there really seems to be something miraculous about the failure to fill the place with a Democrat....
"The feeling against the Democratic party is growing very strong. It is based upon two grounds: the first and most substantial is the decline in business, reduction of incomes, people out of work, all of which are ascribed to the tariff and currency legislation and the loss of confidence owing to attacks on capital. The other is weakness of the administration in Mexican affairs. The feeling about that is very strong. I still have hopes that mediation will work out something but am not at all sanguine about it. Unless it does, I can see nothing but misfortune as a result of the attempt to make war and not make war at the same time."
1. The great sculptor.
MR. HERRICK'S work in the cause of farm credits may now be touched upon, as it was during his first mission to France that he completed it. The story is too long to be treated in any detail but the subject is one which interested him so passionately and to which he devoted so much time and energy that no account of his life, however brief, should omit some reference to it. For a full expression of his ideas, the volume he published in collaboration with Mr. R. Ingalls should be consulted. It is a mine of information on a question which has since become a foremost political issue of our country. I believe it is now used as a book of reference in our colleges. Its title is Rural Credits, issued by Appleton in 1914.
During his earliest visits to Europe---the first was in 1900---Mr. Herrick became attracted to this idea. He studied its operation in various countries and made many inquiries as to its practical working. He has told me that he realized at once that here was an institution of whose existence the great majority of our people were entirely ignorant and for whose application to our needs no serious effort had been made up to that time; and yet it was exactly what our farming population required for furnishing it cheaply and safely with money which it could borrow only at high rates and, frequently, not at all.
It was only in 1910 that he was able to carry out his plan of an active campaign in favor of the system. His first speech was made at Delaware, Ohio, in October of that year. Then at the meeting of the American Bankers' Association in 1911 he offered a formal resolution on the subject and spoke in favor of it. From that time on until his departure for France he worked for the adoption of the system, and, as already stated, one of the reasons that determined him to accept the offer of the Paris embassy was the belief that he could use that post to advantage as a means of diffusing a knowledge of the system throughout our country. He arranged for this with President Taft, who had all our embassies and legations instructed to furnish Paris with reports on the operation of land bank systems in their territories, and Mr. Herrick was requested to prepare a general survey of the whole subject.
As soon as he got settled he began work, and in October, 1912, he forwarded, and the government published, his Preliminary Report on Land and Agricultural Credit. This was sent to all the state governors by President Taft with a letter approving its recommendations and inviting the governors to a special conference to be held at the White House in December, 1912, to consider them.
In the interval, various bodies throughout our country had begun to agitate for the adoption of some scheme for farm loans, and in June, 1912, the Republican presidential convention inserted a plank in its platform favoring the idea. This plank followed the suggestions prepared by Mr. Herrick for that purpose. Then Mr. Wilson was elected, and in his inaugural address he proclaimed his advocacy of rural credits. An act was almost immediately passed by the new Congress authorizing a commission to go to Europe to investigate and report upon agricultural finance, production, and distribution, and the commission sailed in April, 1913. Its reports were submitted to the Senate in January and March, 1914.
The legislation that had been brought about in various states was considered by Mr. Herrick as most imperfect, though he was glad to see something done. He never ceased to deplore the fact that it had been left to the Democratic party to enact the first national legislation on this important subject. Strangely enough, just two days before he died he talked to me for a long time about this very thing. It came up in connection with Mr. Bryan and his curious ways of doing business. "Bryan," he said, "could not abide the thought of a Republican like myself holding an important post under a Democratic administration. He was always afraid I might steal his thunder or that of his party. That perhaps explains why he would not answer letters which I thought merited acknowledgment---at least that they had been received. When he became Secretary of State in 1913 1 wrote to him concerning all the material I had been gathering in Paris on the subject of rural credits and asked him if he wished me to turn it over to the Department. He did not answer. For this I suppose I ought to be grateful, as it left me free to publish the results of my work in a book over my own signature, which I proceeded to do. But, as you will see by looking at the date in my preface, I sent the manuscript from Paris just as the Battle of the Marne started. The war was on and nobody at home was bothering about rural credits. The prices of all farm products began to mount, and my book was read by very few. In the meantime the first legislation had been passed. I afterward asked Lodge why the bill had not been perfected in its passage through the Senate. He said, that to offer amendments would have looked to the farmers as though the Republicans were opposing the measure, so they decided to let it pass as presented. I suppose he was right, but I have always regretted the delay which had enabled the Democrats to take the credit for starting the rural credit system. It belongs to the Republicans."
Mr. Herrick's personal letters to President Taft and, after March 4, 1913, to President Wilson, dealing with agricultural credits are too long to be quoted except in extractions; but they show better than anything else his persistent efforts in the cause.
To President Taft, July 11, 1912:
"The further I go into the subject of the mobilization of land credits, the more convinced I am that the plank which was adopted in the platform will bring a strong feature in the campaign. It is good politics because it is honest and economically sound. I feel that if the Federal government could take up the responsibility of the establishment of land credit systems in America, it would create a security in which the savings of the postal banks could be safely invested.
"I am receiving a wealth of material and have some people engaged in classifying, arranging, and preparing the matter, which I am glad, at the Department's suggestion, to transmit to it in fortnightly letters. I find so much splendid matter that I have begun to send the letters weekly. In the meantime, we will carefully prepare a report embodying the best results of experiences in the different countries, which will be a guide for the establishment of these systems in our country.
"This investigation discloses the interesting fact that these systems throughout Europe were largely started in self-defence: other countries where conditions were more favorable became the world's granaries; thereupon the introduction of rural credits enabled the supplanted countries, by means of cheap money and larger yield in farming, to regain their lost position."
Again he writes Mr. Taft on October 25, 1912:
"I am extremely grateful to you for the generous way in which you have handled my report, and the prominence given to it. As you know, I am obsessed with this subject, and convinced that if you could get before the public a brief outline of the European situation, it would be of immense value, for no one can possibly find fault with it, or charge it to partisan politics.
"The final report will confirm the preliminary report. The problem was to condense it into readable space and so present it that the statements could not be gainsaid.
"I have learned that the British Board of Agriculture have been working on a report of this sort for over eighteen months. This substantiates my opinion further and convinces me of the value of the undertaking."
Immediately after Mr. Wilson became President, Mr. Herrick wrote a personal letter telling him (what he probably did not then know) of the instructions issued by the State Department to the ambassador in March, 1912, for carrying on investigations in the matter of rural credit systems in Europe, and informing him of reports then being forwarded to the State Department. He closes:
"After three or four years of investigation I was convinced that the people of our country only had to have their attention called to the beneficent results obtained by the inauguration of these institutions in Europe for them to appreciate the necessity for the creation of some system of financial machinery for mobilizing the credit of the farmer.
"My reason in writing you is my interest in this subject, and the hope that it will be made a salient feature of your administration."
A year later, in May, 1914, he again writes the President:
"We can well afford to go slow in the inauguration of rural credit, but we cannot afford to disappoint the expectations of the great farming population of the United States by inaugurating something hastily which experience may prove unsound. The only way to have a tree is to grow it; it cannot be manufactured; it is even difficult to transplant one. Happily, Europe has demonstrated certain economic principles which we can adapt to our own conditions, and thereby save time, but we must first be sure that we know our own conditions....
"I believe that cooperation will eventually take a prominent place in this work, since it rests upon self-help, opposes too much state intervention, and demands simply equality and freedom of action under the law. It insists upon individual ownership of property, and the right of all to own whatever they can honestly earn and acquire.
"There were twenty-six years of discussion of the rural credit subject before the first progressive step was taken in France. We do not require that much time because the pioneer work has been done....
"I do not mean to suggest that the present bill is unsound, for I am not sufficiently familiar with its provisions to judge, but I do feel so strongly that we may do infinite harm by haste that I had a great sense of relief on noting, from the newspapers, the wise position you have taken in this matter.
"I hesitate to address you at any time, on any subject, knowing the tremendous responsibilities resting on you and the heavy demands made on your time and attention, but my keen interest in the subject of rural credit prompts me to write you, especially since my letter does not call for a reply."
Just before giving up his post as ambassador in November, 1914, he writes to the President for the last time:
"I have just published a book on rural credits, a subject to which, as you may know, I have been giving considerable attention for the last few years. It was my purpose to assist in establishing such rural credit system in the United States as would be best adapted to its needs. It has seemed to me that our danger was hasty legislation and creating 'spoo-nfed' Organizations.
"My ideas are in complete accord with what the newspapers report as your views on this great subject: that is, I believe that there should be no state aid or special, privilege and that the legislation enacted should provide for the tenant and small farmer as well as for the larger and more prosperous farmers and landowners.
"The problem of improving rural credit facilities is not merely financial: its proper solution also would improve the economic and even social condition of farmers. One of the solutions is cooperation---organized mutual self-help---which rejects state aid and state intervention, and rests upon private initiative and combined individual resources and efforts. Already the United States is supreme in cooperative insurance and finance. If the movement were given right direction and encouragement rural cooperative organization in the United States would surpass that in Denmark, Holland, or Germany.
"The proposed legislation seems to overlook the fact that rural credit societies are the basic units of cooperative credit societies and ignores the fact that those institutions should be only parts of correlated financial, industrial, and commercial rural system.
"I understand that the problem must be taken up at the next session of Congress. From my investigations of the good already done in America and Europe by cooperation, self-help, and private initiative, and the poor results in Europe of state aid and intervention, I humbly submit that it would be well worth while to start American farmers thinking on the relative merits of the two methods before Congress convenes.
"It is my hope and desire to aid you in promoting this economic movement which to my mind has grown much more important by reason of the devastation over here."
His book was presented to the French Institute by Senator Raphael Georges Lévy, who on November 29, 1914, wrote him as follows:
"As I told you, I had yesterday the privilege of presenting your book to the Académie des Sciences Politiques et Morales.
"I will not repeat what has been said to you by every Frenchman who is acquainted with you. But you feel what our sorrow is to see you leave just now. However, we feet confident that on the other side of the water you will think of France and work for her!
"I wish to present your book to the Section d'Economie Politique. Kindly let me have a copy for that purpose, and also the one which I promised to the Academy. The one which I have before me to-day is mine; it is dear to me, bearing your autograph."
Another letter, from M. Descours Desacres, dated December, 1914, shows that even the war had not obliterated the memory of work in common, done for rural credits:
"At this time when you are quitting the Embassy and when the French people feel so deeply your departure, I want to recall the great place that you have made in the hearts of the agriculturists of my country---especially those who have talked with you regarding the organization in France of Mutual Rural Credit....
"I hope you have not forgotten the old President of the Rural Credit Regional Bank in the Center of Normandy, who has now enlisted as a volunteer and who is at home convalescing ... from wounds received at Berri-au-Bac....
"He begs to be respectfully remembered to Mrs. Herrick and wishes you to accept the expression of his heartfelt and most distinguished sentiments."
In all my conversations with Mr. Herrick I have never heard him express any bitterness over being beaten by his opponents, whether in business or politics; and of course he did not succeed in all he undertook. Witness his defeat for governor and for senator. But over this matter of rural credits he was frank in expressing regret---regret. that the chiefs of his party, in the halls of Congress and elsewhere, had not listened soon enough to his pleadings and brought to the Republicans the merit of passing a comprehensive law on the subject; regret also that, outside of some experts, only a few people were aware of the devotion and toil which he had brought to making the subject understood and obtaining legislative action. I believe that no honor which ever came to him would have made him so happy as a general recognition on the part of his countrymen that he was the first architect of the rural credit system in America. That he largely deserved this title must be evident to all those who examine the record.
"He had that quality of character without which the most powerful intellects have been frustrated in their purposes."
Ambassador and Mrs. Herrick at the entrance to their house on Euclid Heights in Cleveland, Ohio.
WE now approach the moment when the war arrived and seized Mr. Herrick in its iron grip. At the end of July he had emptied his house and was quietly attending to the last few duties before taking the steamer home; two days later he was an active participant in a vast world tragedy. The element of the dramatic which he never sought but which attended his whole life, from boyhood days to the moment his coffin was hoisted aboard the Tourville, now once more enveloped him, and a month later the fame of this unassuming American business man had stirred the pride and gratitude of two great nations.
His own account of what occurred before the curtain rose upon this scene is as follows:
"After Wilson was inaugurated in 1913, I naturally expected to leave Paris. I had sent my resignation to the President, as is usual when a new administration comes in, but it remained unacted upon.(1) The difficulty appeared to be not so much in the selection of a new ambassador as for the man already tentatively chosen to make up his mind to accept. This man was William F. McCombs. He had managed Wilson's campaign, the President desired to reward him, and I have no doubt that if he could have found it possible to take the post he would have made an excellent ambassador.
"McCombs came to Paris during the summer of 1913 to look over the ground, and for some months the situation was not without its humor. I was holding on until he could arrive at a decision, and that seemed a long and jerky process. He wanted me to stay where I was for the time being, the President seemed to desire it, and I was willing to drift along until the matter was settled. But I had no idea that it would take such a long time or that the results would be so momentous for me. My still being ambassador to France when war was declared was the accidental outcome of this situation.
"I have read Senator Ingalls's famous sonnet on 'Opportunity,' and I believe with him that as a rule we determine our own fate by knowing when to seize the passing chance. But some opportunities are pure luck and no seizing is required; we just fall in with what comes along, unconscious of making any grave decision.
"One day McCombs would come in to see me---he came often and I really enjoyed these visits---quite decided he would like the post; a week later he would appear and tell me he could not make the sacrifice. A friend of his explained to me these changes in his mood. 'McCombs,' he said, 'has very little money except what he makes. One night he goes out to dinner and finds himself surrounded with people who hail him as the new ambassador, flatter him (as is natural), tell him what a wonderful position it is and how well he would fill it; that makes him want it. A few days later he lunches with some old friend like myself who knows what his financial situation is and who can guess what it costs a man to run this embassy. When he finishes a frank conversation of this kind, McCombs wants to drop the idea and go home to work.'
"That is what he did eventually.
"As I. look back on it, I realize that I never had such a carefree time in my life as during those first seventeen months as ambassador under the Wilson Administration. I had no responsibility other than carrying out my instructions; I was staying on at the President's request, yet realizing it was only temporary; and I knew that at any time I wanted to leave I could say so and start home. It was a very agreeable year. However, in June, 1914, my successor was at last named. Mr. William G. Sharp, a Member of Congress from Ohio, had been offered the post, had accepted it, and the Senate had confirmed his nomination. But he did not wish to sail immediately and I made my arrangements not to leave Paris until August 8th, a few days before his expected arrival.
"On July 6th the American Chamber of Commerce had given me a farewell luncheon, and at this moment the situation created by the recent murder of the Austrian Archduke was not considered alarming. At least the public did not feel it so, and those who were in a position to realize the danger it held took pains not to exhibit anxiety. And so it was that on July 14th, which is the Frenchman's Glorious Fourth, the review of troops, with all the other popular festivities, took place as usual, Parliament adjourned for the summer, and President Poincaré and Monsieur Viviani, the Premier, proceeded to carry out their plan of making a visit to the Czar. But by July 23rd affairs had assumed a very different aspect. Austria that day gave Serbia forty-eight hours in which to submit to her dishonoring demands of reparation for the murder of the Archduke, and on the 25th her minister left Belgrade. It was then realized that almost any disaster was possible.
"Toward the end of July two important American delegations were in Paris on their way for a tour of Europe. One was the Chicago Railway Terminal Commission and the other the Commission of Municipal Executives and Civic Leaders. I gave a reception for them both on the afternoon of July 28th, inviting the Prefect, members of the Paris Board of Aldermen, and other prominent officials and railroad executives. The weather was beautiful, everything was proceeding comfortably, and one of my guests was in the midst of a speech, when Robert Bliss [the first secretary of the embassy] arrived. 1 could see by his face that something serious had happened. He passed me a note and my fears were confirmed. Everybody in the room saw that I was agitated and concerned and wanted to say something to my guests---that is, everybody but the man making the speech. I believe it was complimentary to me, but I was no longer listening. At last he stopped, and I was then able to tell the assembly that Mr. Bliss had just come from the Foreign Office where news had arrived that Austria had declared war on Serbia. To the Americans this bolt out of what to them was a clear sky seemed something unbelievable; to the French, who understood its meaning better, it was full of a terrible import, and they all left as quickly as they could find their hats.
"I was not unprepared for what had happened, and when it came, like everybody else in France I was seized with the darkest forebodings. Indeed, having kept in touch with what was going on in Central Europe and fearing the worst if the flame of war was started in any quarter, I had already decided to make an appeal to President Wilson, and before going to the reception at my house which I have just mentioned, I had sent the following telegram to the State Department; when Bliss came in with his grave news I was glad to think that this message was on its way to Washington:
July 28, 1914
Secretary of State,
July 28th/ 4 p.m.
CONFIDENTIAL. To be communicated to the President.
Situation in Europe is regarded here as the gravest in history.
It is apprehended that civilization is threatened by demoralization which would follow a general conflagration. Demonstrations made against war here last night by laboring classes; it is said to be the first instance of its kind in France. It is felt that if Germany once mobilizes no backward step will be taken. France has strong reliance on her army but it is not giving way to undue excitement. There is a faith and reliance on our high ideals and purposes so that I believe expression from our nation would have weight in this crisis. My opinion is encouraged at reception given utterances of British Minister of Foreign Affairs. I believe that a strong plea for delay and moderation from the President of the United States would meet with the respect and approval of Europe and urge the prompt consideration of this question. This suggestion is consistent with our plea for arbitration treaties and attitude toward world affairs generally. I would not appear officious but deem it my duty to make this expression to you.
"Mr. Bryan did not answer this telegram or acknowledge it. I never knew whether Mr. Wilson ever saw it or not, until I was in Washington months afterward. I then asked him. He told me he had not seen it.(2) A similar fate may have befallen another telegram I sent September 3rd. It was as follows:
To-night I dined with the Spanish ambassador, the Norwegian and Danish ministers, and the Swedish chargé d'affaires, who are the only remaining heads of mission in Paris. I found that there was an unanimous opinion that the President of the United States would be enthusiastically supported by their governments and by all other neutral powers if he were to make a strong representation to all the belligerent countries that the museums, churches, art galleries, and so forth in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna be respected and protected by the invading armies now approaching all these capitals, and accompanying this representation by a plea for the observance of the rules of civilized warfare. If such an initiative were taken by the President, all were agreed that no neutral power could, or would, fail to join. In view of the critical position which she now occupies in Europe, it was thought also that the association of Sweden with such a representation would have a peculiar significance. Please refer this to the President.
"I suppose it is idle to speculate now as to the effect which would have been produced had Mr. Wilson acted upon the suggestions contained in my despatch of July 28th. Germany did not send her ultimatum to France until three days later and I have always believed that a vigorous appeal from our government, with an offer to mediate the quarrel, would have had some effect. In any case it would have 'smoked out the nigger in the woodpile' and there would not now be any doubts even in Germany as to who wanted the war and who did not. I also think that such a telegram on such an occasion merited a reply.
"On the morning of July 31st I went to see the German ambassador, with the thought of extracting from him some idea of what his government intended to do, and really hoping to get news that would allay my fears. The last dinner we gave had been for him; the Jusserands, on leave from Washington, were there, and we had passed a pleasant evening full of cordiality all round. When I was shown into his room, Von Schoen came toward me with both arms extended in a gesture of welcome and despair. 'I was on the point of telephoning you,' he said. 'You are the only person I have left to appeal to; if war is declared I want to ask you to take over German interests in France.'
"He then told me of a despatch just received from his government and which was not yet entirely de-coded. The first sheets had come in and he saw that he was instructed to give France till one o'clock that night to announce her neutrality in case of war involving Germany. He doubtless realized that the answer would be no, and that his government would declare war. That is why he was in such haste to see me.
"As bad as things had seemed, I was dumfounded at what he told me and I could not help but share his visible emotion. As to his request to take over German interests, I thought it best to telephone Bliss to join us and discuss the details of this eventual action. By the time he arrived the entire telegram had been deciphered and nothing at the end of it modified the terrible implication contained in what Von Schoen had already told me. In fact, the French were not only required to announce their neutrality but were summoned to surrender Verdun and Belfort as guarantees that it would be maintained. This, however, I learned only the next day.
"I decided to go at once to the Foreign Office and see Monsieur Viviani. I met him coming out on his way to luncheon. He turned back and led me into his office. There I informed him of what had taken place during my visit to the German ambassador and of his request. I asked him what the attitude of the French government would be toward my accepting. I added that I considered his approval and cooperation were essential if I was to succeed in this delicate task. Moreover, the matter seemed pressing, for such a suggestion from Von Schoen could only mean that in his opinion war was a certainty.
"Viviani evidently felt that what I told him destroyed the last hope; 'for of course, this means war,' he said. Nevertheless, he seemed to cling like a drowning man to the possibility that something might happen to avert the catastrophe. As to my taking over the German embassy, he urged me by all means to accept. He was disheartened, and so was I.
"Von Schoen left Paris the night of August 3rd after handing to Viviani Germany's declaration of war. I had told him I agreed to take over German interests, and I had to advance him $5,000 which he needed for himself and the embassy personnel in order to get out of the country. Our drive together to Morgan Harjes was my first experience of the change which had so suddenly come upon the most ordinary affairs of life. General mobilization had been decreed in the meantime, and a tense excitement was in the streets. We drew the curtains of the car so as not to have the German ambassador recognized. I had the feeling of doing something stealthy, instead of merely going to a bank to draw money. Deciding to avoid any chance of an incident, I left Von Schoen in the car, entered the bank without being observed, and got my money. We returned to the German embassy with the same precautions. But I now think all this was unnecessary, for the ambassador, his staff, and his house were never molested, and had people recognized him I feel sure that no insult would have been proffered."
The note from the Foreign Office of August 4th, announcing a state of war, was couched in these terms:
"The Imperial German Government having permitted its troops to cross the frontier and to commit on French territory various acts of murder and violence; having violated the neutrality of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg in spite of Convention V of The Hague of October 18, 1907, signed by it; having addressed an ultimatum to the Royal Government of Belgium with a view to exacting the passage of German troops across Belgian territory, in violation of the treaties of April 19, 1839, also signed by it, declared war against France on August 3, 1914, at 18:45 o'clock. The Government of the Republic under these conditions finds itself obliged, on its part, to have recourse to arms. It has therefore the honor to inform the Government of the United States by this note that a state of war exists between France and Germany from August 3, 1914, at 18:45 o'clock .
"The Government of the Republic protests to all civilized nations, and especially to the Governments signatories of the Conventions and Treaties above referred to, against the violation by the German Empire of its international obligations; it reserves to itself the liberty of using such reprisals as may be found necessary against an enemy so careless of his word. The Government of the Republic, which intends to observe the principles of the laws of nations, will conduct itself during the continuance of hostilities according to the stipulations of the international Conventions signed by France in regard to the laws of war on land and water."
February 28, 1913,
Entertaining the very logical and proper view that the President, in the exercise of his mandatory powers---under the constitution and the authority conferred by statute---to direct the foreign affairs of the United States should choose his own instruments for the accomplishment of his high task, I have the honor to place in your hands my resignation of the office of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the French Republic.
In doing this, I beg to assure you of my confident expectation that the good relations of the nation with the governments of the world will be maintained and Promoted under your administration.
MYRON T. HERRICK.
To the President
The White House.
2. Following publication of this statement in the World's Work for October, 1929, the Department of State issued the following statement:
"The complete text of Mr. Herrick's telegram of July 28 is published in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1914, Supplement (pp. 18-19). Under the same file number, showing its direct relationship to this paper, is printed a telegram sent over Bryan's signature to Ambassador Page at London, just four hours and fourteen minutes after the time of receipt of the one from Paris, asking: 'Is there in your opinion any likelihood that the good offices of the United States if offered under Article 3 of The Hague Convention would be acceptable or serve any high purpose in the present crisis?' According to a notation on the original paper in the files, this telegram was sent directly from the White House. A definite reply to the inquiry was received from Mr. Page, after the exchange of several more telegrams, only in the evening of August 3; although it was unfavorable, the offer of good offices was made on the 4th. Thus it is clear that Mr. Herrick's telegram not only went to the President but furnished the immediate impulse to a project resulting, after a week's correspondence, in his offer 'to act in the interest of European peace.' Mr. Herrick was not informed of what was going on, since it is not possible for the Department of State, especially in such crowded times, to acknowledge telegrams or to keep Ambassadors informed about the development of policies still under consideration. The President's failure months later to remember this message is easily enough understood."
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