Wilson on the Sussex Case

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<font size =4> 19 April, 1916</font>
 
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<h2> 19 April, 1916<br>Wilson on the <i>Sussex </i>Case
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United States, 64th Cong., 1st Sess., <I>House Document</I> 1034. <br>
 
United States, 64th Cong., 1st Sess., <I>House Document</I> 1034. <br>
  
 
President Wilson's remarks before Congress concerning the German attack  
 
President Wilson's remarks before Congress concerning the German attack  
 
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on the unarmed Channel steamer <i>Sussex</i> on March 24, 1916.
 
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<hr>
on the unarmed Channel steamer <i>Sussex</i> on March 24, 1916.<hr><br><br>
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...I have deemed it my duty, therefore, to say to the Imperial German
 
...I have deemed it my duty, therefore, to say to the Imperial German
 
 
Government, that if it is still its purpose to prosecute relentless and
 
Government, that if it is still its purpose to prosecute relentless and
 
 
indiscriminate warfare against vessels of commerce by the use of
 
indiscriminate warfare against vessels of commerce by the use of
 
 
submarines, notwithstanding the now demonstrated impossibility of  
 
submarines, notwithstanding the now demonstrated impossibility of  
 
 
conducting that warfare in accordance with what the Government of the  
 
conducting that warfare in accordance with what the Government of the  
 
 
United States must consider the sacred and indisputable rules of  
 
United States must consider the sacred and indisputable rules of  
 
 
international law and the universally recognized dictates of humanity,  
 
international law and the universally recognized dictates of humanity,  
 
 
the Government of the United States is at last forced to the conclusion  
 
the Government of the United States is at last forced to the conclusion  
 
 
 
that there is but one course it can pursue; and that unless the  
 
that there is but one course it can pursue; and that unless the  
 
Imperial  
 
Imperial  
 
 
German Government should now immediately declare and effect an  
 
German Government should now immediately declare and effect an  
 
abandonment  
 
abandonment  
 
 
of its present methods of warfare against passenger and freight  
 
of its present methods of warfare against passenger and freight  
 
carrying
 
carrying
 
 
vessels this Government can have no choice but to sever diplomatic
 
vessels this Government can have no choice but to sever diplomatic
 
 
relations with the Government of the German Empire altogether.<br><br>  
 
relations with the Government of the German Empire altogether.<br><br>  
  
 
This decision I have arrived at with the keenest regret; the  
 
This decision I have arrived at with the keenest regret; the  
possibility of
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possibility of the action contemplated I am sure all thoughtful Americans will look forward to with unaffected reluctance.  But we cannot forget that we are in some sort and by the force of circumstances the responsible spokesmen  
 
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of the rights of humanity, and that we cannot remain silent while those rights seem in process of being swept utterly away in the maelstrom of this terrible war. We owe it to a due regard to our own rights as a  
the action contemplated I am sure all thoughtful Americans will look
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nation, to our sense of duty as a representative of the rights of neutrals the world over, and to a just conception of the rights of mankind to take this stand now with the utmost solemnity and firmness....  
 
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forward to with unaffected reluctance.  But we cannot forget that we are  
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in
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some sort and by the force of circumstances the responsible spokesmen  
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of  
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the rights of humanity, and that we cannot remain silent while those  
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rights seem in process of being swept utterly away in the maelstrom of  
+
 
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this terrible war. We owe it to a due regard to our own rights as a  
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nation,  
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to our sense of duty as a representative of the rights of neutrals the  
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world over, and to a just conception of the rights of mankind to take  
+
 
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this stand now with the utmost solemnity and firmness....  
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<hr>
 
<hr>
 
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Latest revision as of 22:59, 7 July 2009

WWI Document Archive > 1916 Documents > Wilson on the Sussex Case


19 April, 1916


United States, 64th Cong., 1st Sess., House Document 1034.

President Wilson's remarks before Congress concerning the German attack on the unarmed Channel steamer Sussex on March 24, 1916.


...I have deemed it my duty, therefore, to say to the Imperial German Government, that if it is still its purpose to prosecute relentless and indiscriminate warfare against vessels of commerce by the use of submarines, notwithstanding the now demonstrated impossibility of conducting that warfare in accordance with what the Government of the United States must consider the sacred and indisputable rules of international law and the universally recognized dictates of humanity, the Government of the United States is at last forced to the conclusion that there is but one course it can pursue; and that unless the Imperial German Government should now immediately declare and effect an abandonment of its present methods of warfare against passenger and freight carrying vessels this Government can have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with the Government of the German Empire altogether.

This decision I have arrived at with the keenest regret; the possibility of the action contemplated I am sure all thoughtful Americans will look forward to with unaffected reluctance. But we cannot forget that we are in some sort and by the force of circumstances the responsible spokesmen of the rights of humanity, and that we cannot remain silent while those rights seem in process of being swept utterly away in the maelstrom of this terrible war. We owe it to a due regard to our own rights as a nation, to our sense of duty as a representative of the rights of neutrals the world over, and to a just conception of the rights of mankind to take this stand now with the utmost solemnity and firmness....


WWI Document Archive > 1916 Documents > Wilson on the Sussex Case


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