United States Making War Preparations

February 8 1917

Strained Conditions Between This Government and Germany Still Near Breaking Point

Senate Endorse President’s Action

The Slightest Overt Act on the Part of Germany Without a Doubt Will Cause The Nation to Itself Against  Her–This Government Does Not Desire War, But Must Be Respected

Since severing relations with Germany, the United States Government has been rapidly putting the Army and Navy in shape for any emergency and be ready for instant use in case of need. Legislation  increasing the military and naval resources of the country to meet an emergency was pressed vigorously by Congress. Secretary of War Baker and Secretary of Navy Daniels reported both of their organizations ready for instant service.

Meantime, under the personal direction of the President, every possible precaution was taken to prevent an affront to Germany in the handling of the delicate situation. Explicit instructions as to protecting German lives and German property in this country were issued, and American shipping was notified that the grave situation made sailings to the war zone inadvisable. Requested naval convoys for the merchant ships were refused.

President Wilson again demonstrated his personal activity in the present situation Wednesday when, without warning, he left the White House and started on an impromptu visit to the grim, gray State, War and Naval Building across the street. He made his way through the guard lines about the building and through the corridors to Secretary of State Lansing’s office. The Secretary was not in and the President, without conferring with any one else, started out of the building. He had difficulty with the new guard arrangements, however. All doors to the building, except one, were closed and locked, and the President had to make a complete trip around the long corridors before he could find his way out.

He then returned to the White House, and a short time later, hurried to the Capitol, apparently to confer with Senators as to pending emergency legislation. When he reached the Senate, however, he found that the resolution endorsing his action in the German crisis was under consideration, and he left immediately.

“I would not have come to the Capitol,” he said, “if I had known what the Senate was considering.”

By a vote of 78 to 5 the Senate expressed confidence in the President’s course, adopting a resolution submitted by Chairman Stone, of the Foreign Relations Committee, endorsing the withdrawal Ambassador Gerard from Berlin and the giving to German Ambassador von Bernstorff of his passports.

Senators who voted against the resolution were:
Democrats–Kirby, of Arkansas; and Vardaman, of Mississippi.
Republicans–Gronns, of North Dakota; Work, of California; and La Follette, of Wisconsin.

Five hours of debate preceded the vote, but the only active opposition came from the five Senators who stood out against the resolution when the roll was called. The ranking Republican leaders joined the Democrats in declaring their whole-hearted support of the President.

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