Earlier in the day, and set out just below here, Secretary of State Robert Lansing telegramed his ambassadors. Before the day was out he had information, albeit in the form of a reply to a telegram of December 16, 2016, from the American Counselor of the Embassy in France, Robert Woods Bliss indicating how things were likely to go.
Robert Woods Bliss. Note the sharp spats.
Paris, December 18, 1916, 11 p. m.1750. Your circular telegram December 16, 5 p. m. With the Ambassador’s approval, in his temporary absence, I handed communication to Monsieur Cambon at Foreign Office this evening embodying text of note from German Government, and read the latter part of your telegram, leaving with him at his request copy thereof, calling his attention to your desire to receive confidential intimation as to the reply the French Government would make. He answered that he would be glad to comply as soon as possible although he could make no answer at this time. The inference was that the proposal of the Central powers would not be accepted. It is probable that the President of the Council will refer to the subject when presenting the new ministry to-morrow before the Senate, when he is expected to be strongly attacked by the opposition led by Monsieur Clemenceau, former President of the Council.Bliss