The Zimmerman Note

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WWI Document Archive > 1917 Documents > The Zimmerman Note


This English translation of the cipher telegram -- from Arthur Zimmermann, German Foreign Secretary, to Heinrich von Eckardt, the German Ambassador in Mexico -- is transcribed from a telegram of Walter H. Page, American Ambassador in Great Britain, to Robert Lansing, American Secretary of State (File No. 862,20212/69) and mirrors a typescript discovered October 2005 in British archives (assumed to be the actual copy shown to the American ambassador in 1917).

The telegram was sent January 16, 1917.

The transcription of the British Admiralty's decoding of the text in German is likewise based on a telegram from Ambassador Page to the Secretary of State.


We intend to begin on the 1st of February unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavor in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral. In the event of this not succeeding, we make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The settlement in detail is left to you. You will inform the President of the above most secretly as soon as the outbreak of war with the United States of America is certain and add the suggestion that he should, on his own initiative, invite Japan to immediate adherence and at the same time mediate between Japan and ourselves. Please call the President's attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace. Signed, Zimmermann.

WWI Document Archive > 1917 Documents > The Zimmerman Note