Woodrow Wilson to Frank L. Polk


Woodrow Wilson to Frank L. Polk


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




1918 August 10


President Wilson discusses George D. Herron.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence
Herron, George Davis, 1862-1925
World War, 1914-1918


Morgan Willer




Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


My dear Mr. Counselor:

I hope with you that Herron will not go any further with these conversations with di Fiori.

In the first place, though the basis of discussion proposed by di Fiori is in some respects a very fair and promising one, you will notice that the usual thing has happened. These is absolutely no mention of the situation in the East. These suggested terms ignore the existence of Russia, and it is plain to me that Bavaria would have no difficulty in inducing the Prussian government to propose negotiations on this basis, because I am convinced that it is not only ready to agree to concede practically anything that it is necessary to concede in the West and in the Balkans, if only it is left with a free hand in the East and Southeast.

At the same time I am puzzled to know just how to check Herron in this matter without seeming to have less trust in him than I actually and genuinely have. The course that occurs to me as best in the circumstances is to have Stovall communicate to Herron the suggestion that he say substantially this to di Fiori: that he has so distinctly gained the impression that the government at Washington objects to indirect approaches of this kind and is definitely determined to entertain only official suggestions coming from accredited representatives of a government, that he has come to the conclusion that it would prejudice matters rather than promote them to seek to ascertain the attitude of our government in the way that di Fiori has hoped that he (Herron) might be willing to attempt to ascertain it.

I do not think that it would be wise to state any of our reasons to Herron, as for example the reason I have just given, of the absolute omission of the Eastern question, because although I have entire confidence in Herron’s integrity, such information would inevitably constitute a part of what was in his mind and would inevitably, I should think, come out in any future conversations of this sort he might have, and make the impression that he had means of knowing what sort of proposals would be acceptable to us.

Cordially and sincerely yours,
Woodrow Wilson

Hon. Frank L. Polk,
Acting Secretary of State.

Original Format



Polk, Frank L. (Frank Lyon), 1871-1943





Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Woodrow Wilson to Frank L. Polk,” 1918 August 10, WWP25115, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.