British diplomacy with America and Ireland, an Ambassador's letters, 1909-1962

Correspondence for June-August 1918

You are here: British diplomacy with America and Ireland, an Ambassador's letters, 1909-1962 : Correspondence for June-August 1918

Murray's efforts on behalf of Anglo-American relations continued to be the main focus of his correspondence from May to August 1918. Despite the German offensive in the spring of 1918, steady progress was being made in the American war effort; and Wiseman wrote to Murray that there was a "good war sentiment" in the USA (Wiseman to Murray, 7 June 1918). Murray's role in British intelligence relating to the USA is indicated by a comment in this letter. "Both Reading and House were delighted when I told them of the arrangement you and I had made in London, and what you were doing for us. We all feel that the circle is now complete". Another compliment appears in a letter from the Military Attaché in Washington. "Your policy of playing the game with the US has proved to be the best, as in times of emergency they give us everything they have got" (Miller to Murray, 24 June 1918).By the end of June, Murray and the British had cause for satisfaction as regards the US contribution to the War. Describing his own role, Murray said that, since August 1917, he had done his best "to speed up the American War Machine". Initially the US Government had been handicapped by the fact that the USA was such a large country and by the severe winter at the end of 1917. But President Woodrow Wilson took the vital decision to put US battalions into the British forces in Europe rather than wait for separate US divisions to be formed, and this had greatly helped the Allied war effort in 1918 (Murray to Freeman, 27 June 1918).However, Ireland continued to be a problem, and Murray worried about the effects on American public opinion of the introduction of conscription and the delay in Home Rule (Murray to Freeman, 27 June 1918). Writing to Wiseman in July he said "I must confess I am very disappointed about the Irish situation in general." He lamented lack of progress, noting that "it looks very much as though there are certain elements in the Unionist Party, not unconnected with the Government, who propose to make every endeavour to shelve Home Rule". He continued: "We may have to wait till after a General Election before there is any real move to settle the Irish Question either by itself or as part of a federal movement" (Murray to Wiseman, 9 July 1918).Lord Reading returned to Britain on 6 August 1918, and Murray met him at Liverpool and accompanied him to London. Murray warned Wiseman that Reading was not prepared to continue indefinitely as Ambassador to the USA and was anxious to return to his position as Lord Chief Justice as soon as the situation allowed. But there seemed every prospect that the War would continue into 1919, even though the German spring offensive had been turned back. Murray also took the opportunity to complain about a speech made by Lloyd George in the House of Commons in which he had given the impression that Wilson had only agreed to brigade US troops into the British and French armies after the German attack of March 1918 whereas the American President had already agreed to this before March (Murray to Wiseman, 8 Aug 1918).

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Showing 1 documents Correspondence for June-August 1918

MS 8806

  • Contributor: National Library of Scotland
  • Reference: 1491-8806
  • Keyword:  british usa warfare war ww1
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