Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the by M. Ryan Floyd (auth.)

By M. Ryan Floyd (auth.)

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Extra info for Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914–December 1915

Sample text

Lansing, therefore, did not oppose Britain’s right to regulate neutral trade with its enemies. He simply hoped the British would accept the Declaration of London because it provided rules that everyone could accept. “AN EXCEEDINGLY TENDER SPOT” 37 Spring-Rice noted in his diary that Lansing also said there was a way to get around Britain’s need to use the doctrine of continuous voyage. 25 In drafting a new Order in Council, the Foreign Office weighed the impact that its decisions might have on American business and politics.

According to the ambassador, Britain had accepted all the US demands and had done everything it could to satisfy Washington, other than allowing it to ship war materials to Germany. Page did not like the American position because its policy protected a minority of shippers and threatened to generate problems with “AN EXCEEDINGLY TENDER SPOT” 39 Britain. The government, he claimed, was splitting hairs. ”33 From the beginning of the war, Page opposed the idea of using the Declaration of London. He accepted Grey’s assertion that the document threatened the British war effort and wanted Wilson to approve London’s point of view without debate.

Within a week, he asked Spring-Rice to find out if Washington found the document acceptable. ” According to Grey, all other negotiations were on hold until the president made a decision about the Order in Council. Until Wilson accepted the “new proclamation,” Britain could not craft arrangements with the Netherlands to prevent exports from reaching Germany. ” To gain Wilson’s approval, Spring-Rice reminded the president that nearly sixty years before, the United States had found itself in a similar position in its struggle to win the American Civil War.

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