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On Censorship of the Press President Wilson expressed his opinion of the censorship provision in the espionage bill in a letter, May 22, 1917, to Chairman Webb of the House judiciary committee, in which he said:
“I have been much surprised to find several of the public prints stating that the Administration had abandoned the position which it so distinctly took, and still holds—that authority to exercise censorship over the press to the extent that that censorship is embodied in the recent action of the House of Representatives is absolutely necessary to the public safety. It, of course, has not been abandoned, because the reasons still exist why such authority is necessary for the protection of the nation.
"I have every confidence that the great majority of the newspapers of the country will observe a reticence about everything whose publication could be of injury, but in every country there are some persons in a position to do mischief in this field who cannot be relied on, and whose interests or desires will lead to actions on their part highly dangerous to the nation in the midst of a war. I want to say again that it seems to me imperative that powers of this sort should be granted."
Left to right: PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON ; WILLIAM GIBBS MCA doo, Secretary of Treasury; THOMAS W. GREGORY,
RESTRAINTS OF U. S. COMMERCE
First Proclamation of the German Admiralty Declaring
a Naval War Zone
1. The waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland, including the whole English Channel, are hereby declared to be war zone. On and after the 18th of February, 1915, every enemy merchant ship found in the said war zone will be destroyed without its being always possible to avert the dangers threatening the crews and passengers on that account.
2. Even neutral ships are exposed to danger in the, war zone as, in view of the misuse of neutral flags ordered on January 31 by the British Government and of the accidents of naval war, it can not always be avoided to strike even neutral ships in attacks that are directed at enemy ships.
3. Northward navigation around the Shetland Islands, in the eastern waters of the North Sea and in a strip of not less than 30 miles width along the Netherlands coast is in no danger.
VON POHL, Chief of the Admiral Staff of the Navy. Berlin, February 4, 1915.
THE AMERICAN PROTEST
Secretary of State Bryan to Ambassador Gerard at
Department of State,
Washington, February 10, 1915. Please address a note immediately to the Imperial German Government to the following effect:
The Government of the United States, having had its attention directed to the proclamation of the German Admiralty issued on the fourth of February, that the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland, including the whole of the English Channel, are to be considered as comprised within the seat of war; that all enemy merchant vessels found in those waters after the eighteenth instant will be destroyed, although it may not always be possible to save crews and passengers; and that neutral vessels expose themselves to danger within this zone of war because, in view of the misuse of neutral flags said to have been ordered by the British Government on the thirty-first of January and of the contingencies of maritime warfare, it may not be possible always to exempt neutral vessels from attacks intended to strike enemy ships, feels it to be its duty to call the attention of the Imperial German Government, with sincere respect and the most friendly sentiments but very candidly and earnestly, to the very serious possibilities of the course of action apparently contemplated under that proclamation.
The Government of the United States views those possibilities with such grave concern that it feels it to be its privilege, and indeed its duty in the circumstances, to request the Imperial German Government to consider before action is taken the critical situation in respect of