Adventures of a Document: The Strange Sequel to the Kaiser Interview

I

LAST month in these pages I presented William Bayard Hale’s historically famous ‘lost’ interview with the German Emperor, the text of which had never before been made public. Those who read it will remember that in the short space of two hours His Imperial Majesty had talked so freely, so indiscreetly, that if his words had been immediately given to the world, as he intended they should be, they could not have failed to embroil him in the gravest of difficulties with France, England, and Japan, as well as with his own people. Fortunately for William II, the interview was not published; by the narrowest of margins, even the relatively harmless version approved by the Foreign Office was suppressed on the eve of publication. And of course its suppression, after it had been widely announced by the Century Magazine, could only deepen the mystery which enshrouded it.

For twenty-five years this international mystery has remained unexplained. The story of what happened to Hale’s record of the interview, and of how it was at last brought to light, is almost as dramatic as was the text of the document itself. Only now is it possible to piece its strands together.

Certain dates in the year 1908 furnish the immediate guides. One will remember that Hale had his interview with the Emperor in July. Immediately afterward he wrote his article and dispatched it to the German Foreign Office. In early August it was returned to him with the most important parts deleted and with authorization to publish what was left. This emasculated version was then accepted by the Century Magazine and announced for its December issue, which would be on the stands in November.

Meanwhile other events had occurred which were to upset all these careful arrangements.

In the autumn of 1907 the German Emperor had paid a visit to King Edward VII which assumed much importance because of the strained relations then prevailing between the two countries. While staying at Highcliffe Castle, the Emperor had carried on several conversations with English friends on the topic of Anglo-German difficulties. One of these friends, a Major Wortley, had written down the Emperor’s statements, which were intended to express friendship for England. Several months later he sent the Emperor a transcript of these, asking permission — in the interest of better relations between the two peoples — to publish them.

The Emperor paid little or no attention to the manuscript, but passed it on to his Chancellor, Prince Bülow, requesting him to delete any matter that might better be withheld from the public ear. What happened then, no one knows to this day. Prince Bülow states in his memoirs that he was so busy he never read the manuscript, but passed it along to his subordinates, who failed to make the necessary deletions. Since the Foreign Office raised no objections, the manuscript was published in the London Daily Telegraph — on October 28, 1908.

Overnight it became a sensation of the first order. It was meant to be ‘friendly’ to England, but it started off with the words: ‘You English are mad, mad as March hares. What has come over you that you are so completely given over to suspicions quite unworthy of a great nation?’ Then, in a long tirade, the Emperor tried to prove how sympathetic to England he had always been — carefully adding that his own people did not share his feelings. He referred to secret diplomacy on the part of France and Russia which had been aimed against England. He explained that during the Boer War he had worked out, with his General Staff, a plan of campaign for the British army which he had sent to Queen Victoria, and which showed some striking similarities to the plan later adopted by Lord Roberts to win the war. Finally, he spoke ominously about possible joint operations of the British and German navies in Eastern waters — obviously meaning against Japan.

It was a ruinous document. In less than two thousand words the Emperor had succeeded in embroiling himself with all his great neighbors, invading their domestic affairs, attacking their diplomacy, or patronizing their military leadership. The press of England, France, Russia, and Japan rose in one gigantic chorus of abuse.

In Germany, the liberal and progressive newspapers were almost equally indignant. With a shock the nation realized that a ruler who gave such free rein to his tongue could be a deadly menace. He could knock down with a phrase the whole structure which cautious diplomacy had built up through generations. Throughout the country there was a movement for the immediate curbing and silencing of the Emperor. In radical quarters his abdication was demanded.

In consternation at the furor which his ‘friendly’ words had stirred up, the Emperor retired to a Bavarian hunting lodge to await the domestic crisis which was sure to come to a head when the Reichstag convened, in a fortnight. On November 10, Prince Bülow answered the bitter interpellations raised on the floor of the chamber by a speech announcing a new stand on the part of the government: —

‘The knowledge that the publication has not produced the desired result in England, and has aroused excitement and painful regret in Germany, will lead him [the Emperor] henceforth to observe even in private conversation the reserve which is essential to the unity of our policy and the authority of the Crown. If it were otherwise, neither I nor my successors could carry our burden. For the mistake I accept full responsibility. The officials in the Foreign Office trusted that I had read the document, as I read most things. I at once offered to resign, and the hardest resolve in my life was to remain at the Kaiser’s wish. We must not, how - ever, turn a misfortune into a catastrophe. The mischief is not so great that it cannot be made good. But no one must forget the warning that we have all received.’

II

Thus the decision to muzzle the Emperor was publicly announced on November 10, but the new policy had been laid down and swiftly acted upon immediately after the Daily Telegraph published its interview. The storm provoked by that event had no sooner broken than the ministers suddenly remembered that another interview with the Emperor was shortly to be published. Panic struck them. Baron von dem Bussche assured the Chancellor that he had deleted all the dangerous matter in Hale’s manuscript. But might there not be a chance that something had been overlooked? And, even if the interview were largely harmless, would it not be highly inadvisable under the present circumstances to allow any more imperial statements of any sort to appear in print?

There was not much time to deliberate. It was November 1; the Hale article was known to be scheduled for the December issue of the Century Magazine; it might at that moment be printed and on the point of distribution. Only immediate intervention could stop it. A second international crisis following on the heels of the first might well prove disastrous.

So, four days after the appearance of the Daily Telegraph interview, Hale received this cable: ‘Please stop article in Century, Letter follows. Signed, Bussche.’

Hale rushed over to the offices of the Century Company in New York, only to be told that it was too late to stop the article. The December issue was already on the presses, and the sixteen-page form containing the interview, under the title ‘An Evening with the German Emperor,’ was at that moment being run off.

He cabled back early on November 3: ‘I learn December Century substantially all printed. Publication arrangements completed. Article announced everywhere. Editors regretfully declare recall out of the question. My infinite regrets.’

And the big presses of the De Vinne printing plant continued to roll out by the thousand ‘An Evening with the German Emperor.’

But within a few hours a cable came back from Berlin: ‘Publication now will do much harm. Stop it by all possible means. Signed, Bussche.’

Half an hour later came another: ‘Personal and private. Publication of anything attributed to Emperor regarded here as extremely undesirable at this time.’ It was signed by David J. Hill, the American Ambassador to Germany.

This was no longer a request — it was practically a command from the German Government, with a supporting summons from the American plenipotentiary. Immediately Hale went back to the Century Company, to lay before its officers the seriousness of the situation and to see if something could not be done — if not in one way, then in another.

The Century, of course, had bought and paid for the interview; it had invested a sum of money in advertising and printing it; to take out the article would be to destroy one of the most valuable editorial features the magazine had ever obtained in its long history. The publishing staff met in conference, and listened to a forceful plea made by the German Consul-General. Finally the trustees of the company met, deliberated, and decided to carry out the wishes of the German Government.

The president of the Century Company, Mr. Frank H. Scott, and the editors of the magazine, Mr. Richard Watson Gilder and Mr. Robert Underwood Johnson, were men of the highest professional standards; had they been journalists of another kind, there can be no doubt that the interview would have been published in spite of all protests. These men realized that, when so great an embarrassment to a foreign ruler was at stake, all thoughts of their own profits or prestige must be put aside.

The presses, then, were to be stopped immediately, and every single copy of the article put under lock and key. But how could they carry out such a difficult task without being discovered? If so much as one proof sheet should escape their vigilance, all would be lost: the interview would surely be pirated somewhere in the daily press.

It was November 4 — the national election day. This meant, luckily, that the printing plant was deserted. The coast was clear for the officers of the Century Company, together with those of the De Vinne Company, to supervise their work in safety.

Robert Underwood Johnson, in his Remembered Yesterdays, a book of memoirs published fifteen years after the event, tells the story of the procedure. The first move was to assemble all the proof sheets from the various departments and destroy them. There were first galley proofs, revise and corrected proofs, and the final foundry proofs. All spoiled sheets had to be collected from around the pressroom. The plates had to be removed from the presses and locked up in the vault.

But the biggest job was the disposal of the printed and folded sheets — or ‘signatures,’ as the printer calls them. The whole edition of the December Century ran to more than 100,000 copies. Though the presses had been stopped before the full run had been completed, enough had been printed to make it a tremendous problem to dispose of them. The thousands of signatures had to be hurriedly lifted out, boxed, and trucked off to a warehouse.

After this, still another step had to be taken. The English edition of the Century, which had to be dispatched before the regular edition, was already lying in its crates on a North River pier. Here it proved especially lucky that the day was not one of normal business. A representative of the company was able to have those crates removed to the warehouse without attracting attention.

The physical problem of removing the interview from the December issue of the magazine was now accomplished. But that did not end the matter. Advance notices of Hale’s article had appeared in the press, and the Century had succeeded in arousing intense interest in it. Its absence from the forthcoming issue would be dramatically apparent. Some public statement would have to be made; but how should it be worded? It would be impossible to say that the German Government had requested the suppression of the interview. The only way out seemed to be to place everything on the shoulders of the author — to make it seem that he had sought to recall the article for reasons of his own. This formula was finally agreed upon: —

Circumstances which have arisen since the writing of my article, ‘An Evening with the German Emperor,’ prompt me to ask you to permit me to withdraw it from publication.
WILLIAM BAYARD HALE

NEW YORK, November 5, 1908
It was admirably evasive, but it was not too pleasant for Hale, since it cast aspersions on his good name as a journalist and left room for suspicion that he had tried to sell a ‘fake.’ At the same time he returned the $1000 which the magazine had paid him for the article.

III

On November 7 the press got the story. In just three days the German Reichstag was to meet, and every editor and statesman was appraising the chances that, in view of the general bitterness against the Emperor, the session might result in important changes in the German governmental system: that imperial power might be curbed, and that the ministers might be made responsible to the legislature and the people, rather than to the Crown. Into this atmosphere of suspense the news that Hale’s interview with the Emperor had been suppressed fell like a bombshell. It was first-page news all over the world.

The effect might have been foreseen. No one believed the authorities when they said that the Hale article was merely of a general and nonpolitical nature. Everyone was convinced that more ‘blazing indiscretions’ of the Emperor had been stopped in the nick of time. Although the German Foreign Office denied having brought any pressure whatsoever to bear on the Century Company, it became increasingly clear that it had.

Alas for the German diplomats! They created ten times the sensation, and ten times the trouble for the Emperor, by stopping the article than would have been caused if they had let it run. No doubt they were right in believing that the original interview contained so much political dynamite that, had it exploded into print at that critical moment, it might even have blasted William II from his throne. But they themselves had carefully expunged the really dangerous parts of the interview. It was the virtually harmless Century text that now became the centre of international excitement fantastically out of proportion to its importance.

On November 10, when the Reichstag convened, Chancellor Bülow had to answer the interpellations challenging the Emperor’s recent conduct. His statement, from which I have already quoted, was reassuring. And a week later the Emperor publicly humbled himself by promising that henceforth he would express his political views only after consulting with his government. American papers hailed ‘the end of autocracy’ in Germany; the statesmen of the world breathed relief.

Right away, however, another startling development occurred. A German Socialist weekly, by no means willing to drop the issue, charged that Berlin had paid the Century Company and William Bayard Hale $50,000 to suppress the interview. Both publisher and author indignantly denied the charge through the press of both nations. But the suspicion, once aroused, lingered on, and years afterward the insinuation was still made that the Century and Hale had both profited mightily from the incident. In all this there was no truth whatever. Several months later, however, the Century Company was reimbursed by the German Government with a sum slightly over $2000, but this just covered the actual cost of printing and withdrawing the article.

After this, most of the chances for sensation seemed to be exhausted. Hale himself maintained a complete silence about the text of his interview, and it looked as if the whole matter would become another obscure, unsolved mystery.

IV

What, then, was the excitement of newspaper readers on the morning of November 20 to find the New York American appearing with the feature, ‘The Kaiser’s Suppressed Interview’! It was plastered all over the front page of the section; the text ran across the entire spread, set in eight-column measure, with photographs of the Emperor and Hale. The text, however, could hardly be said to justify the promise of the headline. It was only some four hundred words long, and contained not a single direct quotation from the Emperor. It was a synopsis, stating that the Emperor had discussed with Hale the ‘Yellow Peril,’ the prospective downfall of the British Empire, the chances of a GermanAmerican agreement in respect to China, and the coming struggle between America and Japan. The synopsis went into no detail on these points.

So the whole furor started over again.

Hale repudiated the synopsis, calling it ‘the invention of some wandering mind.’ He was right in asserting publicly that it did not cover the statements made in the suppressed Century article. But, inwardly, he was seriously disturbed. The synopsis did cover several of the points which the Emperor had elaborated in his conversation with Hale, and which had been deleted from the article, in all secrecy, by the German Foreign Office!

Where did the American reporter get this outline of material — sketchy and vague though it was — which not even the Century editors had ever seen? Hale undertook an intensive bit of detective work among the newspapers, but he never found out. The only description he had ever sent anyone of what the Emperor had told him was in a short letter written to Mr. W. C. Reick, then managing editor of the New York Times, the paper for which Hale had been working. With that letter the American synopsis tallied almost perfectly. Of course Mr. Reick himself had never breathed a word of what was in the letter, but it seemed evident to Hate that someone must somehow have managed to get a look at it.

The American’s thunderbolt roared and rattled through the newspapers of Europe. The very vagueness of its synopsis gave rise to the wildest speculations. And then —

The very next morning the New York World was covering its front page with — the Kaiser Interview! It began, ‘The World is able to-day to present the first absolutely accurate and authentic synopsis of the now worldcelebrated interview granted by Kaiser Wilhelm to William Bayard Hale.’

The World version was completely different from that which had appeared in the American. It was a gorgeous piece of presentation. As ‘background,’ it explained that the Emperor had been drinking heavily; his first statement to Hale, which he made ‘in a rage,’ was: ‘[King] Edward has been hounding me for two years and he has got to stop it.’ So it went; the Emperor was represented as ranting on and on, saying that he held France in the palm of his hand, that he hoped the European war would come soon rather than late, and that Germany was making her Zeppelins ready for the fight.

This time Hale was much stronger in his repudiation. He dismissed the thing as ‘pure fabrication from beginning to end.’ A reporter had shown him a proof of it before publication, on which he had marked, ‘This is all wrong. W. B. H.’ The World’s photographic studio had changed the position of Hale’s words so as to make it appear that they applied only to one passage of the text, and had printed a facsimile of the whole proof the next day, brazenly calling it ‘The Kaiser Story As Edited by Dr. Hale’!

Immediately a violent war broke out between all the big New York newspapers. The Times, on the twentyfourth, carried long leading stories representing the World synopsis as an outrageous fake, and attempting to discredit the American synopsis. The same day the World carried a spectacular follow-up story headlined ‘Europe Deeply Moved by the World’s Report of Kaiser Interview.’ And then, in a sequence of special editorials, the American hit back. It called the Times a ‘stagnant’ and ‘mendacious’ sheet that was bitter because it had missed the greatest scoop of the time; it denounced the World for printing a ‘steal’ and a ‘fake.’

Next day the Times had more stories to the effect that both versions were spurious. But the World continued to boom its ‘first absolutely authentic’ version until, on November 30, it finally broke down and confessed that the whole thing was a pure fraud. It apologized to the German Government, and, by some curious twist of argument, placed the blame on Hale — for which the American, next morning, gave it a mighty trouncing.

So, in the end, the role which the newspapers had played in unearthing the interview was discredited. The Berlin and London Foreign Offices seemed completely unnerved by the newspaper thrills and their conflicting ‘exposures.’ Public meetings were held in many American cities denouncing ‘yellow journalism,’ and citing the Hale incident as a major case in point.

V

Christmas came, and at long last the whole matter quieted down. With the beginning of the new year, it had lost the further attention of the press.

No one even took note when the German cruiser Bremen, while she was in port some months later, very quietly picked up what appeared to be a consignment of boxes which had been transferred from a warehouse to the German line piers in Hoboken. With the boxes below decks, she steamed out to sea and shaped a course for the Caribbean.

Afterward, the commander of the Bremen reported the sequel to Mr. Johnson of the Century, and he in turn sent Hale a cryptic note reading, ‘If you fall in with any of the German officers of the Bremen, you will be amused at the way the final disposition of those bombs was accomplished.’ Hale soon learned.

Several days after the Bremen was out of sight of land, the boxes were brought up on deck and, one by one, thrown overboard into the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The cruiser, long and rakish, steamed on. But suddenly, as her commander looked back over her wake, he saw that the boxes were not sinking at all. What if one of them should be picked up and opened! In alarm, he put the ship about and sent out boats to gather them all up and bring them back aboard. The boat crews worked long under the tropical sun until the order was carried out.

The commander reasoned that, if they would not sink, the only thing to do was to burn them. So the boxes were carried down into the ship’s boiler rooms. The stokers were sent up on deck for an unexpected rest, and a dozen Imperial German officers, stripped to the waist, smashed open the boxes and fed the thousands of copies of ‘An Evening with the German Emperor, by William Bayard Hale,’ bundle by bundle, into the roaring boiler fires.

That was the end of the ‘Kaiser Interview.’

But it was not the end of attempts to bring it to light. The mystery went on from year to year, bobbing up in the most unexpected quarters. Soon after the war broke out, someone suddenly remembered that, while no copy of the interview was anywhere to be found, the plates from which it had been printed were still locked up in the De Vinne plant, where they had been since 1908. In his memoirs, Robert Underwood Johnson relates that the president of the Century Company had a rough proof pulled from the plates. This was sent to the German Ambassador in Washington, Count von Bernstorff, with a letter asking whether his government would still object to the publication of the interview. Bernstorff is said to have become violently disturbed over the possibility, and to have persuaded the Century Company into turning the plates over to him so that he might himself supervise their destruction.

With that act, all physical survivals of the interview were regarded as extinguished. The Century Company, acting in good faith, had not retained a single copy of the many thousands it had printed. There were rumors that one copy of the Century text had found its way into the archives of the State Department, but a long search failed to discover it.

It had also been said that Theodore Roosevelt possessed a copy; but in 1917, after the United States had entered the war, he issued a statement to the press urging that whoever held the interview should at last release it for purposes of war propaganda. Sums as high as $15,000 were offered for the Century text; several supposed ‘synopses’ were actually published during the following years, but the text itself was not brought to light. After the war, however, an editor of the Century admitted that one single printed copy of the interview had been rescued when the others were destroyed. He would not reveal who had it.

That printed copy was in the possession of Hale, who had retained ownership of the interview and refused all offers for it.

VI

Something may now be added about the later history of this mysterious document and the reason for delaying its publication until the present moment.

Hale believed that not even the war could allow him to break the promise which he had made to the German Government ten years before. With the passing of the imperial order, however, the matter stood differently. But William Bayard Hale died soon after, during the time when interest in pre-war Europe was just beginning to revive. After his death his family hoped to publish the interview; but at so late a date the expurgated Century text no longer seemed very exciting. A curious historical document it still was, but the Foreign Office censor had robbed it of much of its value when he deleted the passages which most clearly revealed the mind and character of the Emperor.

That any first-hand notes or earlier versions of the interview might still exist, not even Hale’s widow — who had become his wife some time after the incident — suspected. Hale had left in her possession several trunks full of manuscripts, clippings, pamphlets, and miscellaneous documents; but the labor of sorting them and putting them in order seemed so vast that it was always postponed. It was not until 1933 that a thorough search through this mass of material, accumulated through three decades of a highly active life, was carried out by his wife and elder son.

Reaching the bottom of a dusty, oldfashioned hat trunk that was stuffed with papers on many subjects, the searchers came upon what was nothing else than an ancient laundry bag, crudely marked in red crayon, ‘Events of 1908.’ The bag disgorged mountains of clippings dealing with the suppression of the Century interview. And finally there emerged, in a torn folder, what seemed to be the autograph manuscript of the Century article. Imagine their amazement, however, when they read it and found passages, and indeed whole pages of material, which were not in the Century article!

These pages gave, either directly or indirectly, the Emperor’s words on crucial political matters, and all of them had been crossed through with long canceling pencil marks. In some instances there were penciled notations in the margin, such as ‘The point is too ticklish.’ An effort was made to identify the authorship of these comments; and, finally, after a bundle of letters and cables from the German Foreign Office was discovered in the same old laundry bag, it became clear that the hand which had censored the text and jotted down the reasons for it was that of Baron von dem Bussche, Chief of the Bureau for English-Speaking Nations. Here, then, was the original form of the interview, with all the expurgations still visible.

But then came still another surprise. From underneath the whole heap there turned up a typed script of ten pages, signed ‘W.B.H., July 1908.’ It consisted of nothing but direct and vivid quotations of the Emperor. It was made up of statements which, it now appeared, were of such a nature that Hale had not dared to put them into his finished manuscript except as vague indirect discourse, if at all. As for the Century text, it had done no more than hint at a few of the topics covered.

What the searchers had found was the almost verbatim notes which Hale had recorded immediately after leaving the Emperor that night in Bergen. To be more specific, in this typed form they were those notes which Hale had considered too indiscreet for transcription into the article, and had kept strictly for himself. The other notes on points fully covered in the article he had apparently disposed of. With a start the searchers realized that what they had in their hands — unearthed after a quarter of a century, during which no one, not even the Foreign Office, had ever seen it — was the real heart of the ‘Kaiser Interview.’

These were the notes covering the Emperor’s discussion of the delicate Far-Eastern question which I quoted in full in Section II of the document published last month.

VII

Probably the only man who heard from Hale’s lips the full substance of what the Emperor had said was Theodore Roosevelt. Directly after Hale’s return from Europe, in August 1908, the President invited him out to his Sagamore Hill estate on Long Island, where he was vacationing during his last summer in office. They spent several hours there walking and talking; and of the conversation Hale made careful notes. These also came to light in the old hat trunk.

The President was off on one of those expansive monologues so characteristic of him, and Hale found it difficult to get in a word. So he employed the strategy of repeating to the President the high compliments the German Emperor had paid him. This swung his attention. Roosevelt had thought rather coolly of the Emperor before, but under this bombardment of bouquets he became interested.

‘Well now,’ he said, ‘that’s really not so bad. He really sees that in me, does he?’

He wanted to know more about what the Emperor had said; there were more compliments.

‘He’s really thoughtful, is n’t he?’ Roosevelt exclaimed. ‘It may be that the Kaiser is a great man.’

When Hale related how the Emperor had criticized his aristocratic English friends for denouncing Roosevelt as ‘that monster in the White House,’ the President remarked: ‘Yes, these people abroad — I know just how they feel. I know how the rulers over there feel. They understand me, and they don’t understand me. They understand my language. It is the language of gentlemen everywhere. But they don’t understand my sentiments on some things. They don’t see how it is possible for me, of aristocratic origin, to be so very democratic.

‘Also, their diplomacy and mine are not founded on the same principle. Some of them don’t understand, for instance, that I mean most when I say very little, and say it simply. I do not follow the diplomacy of Bismarck, I follow the diplomacy of Lincoln.’

The conversation went back to the interview and the personality of the Emperor. Into Roosevelt’s mind there came an idea which soon grew into a resolution, and which he was finally to carry out. ‘What you tell me about the Kaiser,’ he said, ‘makes me think that, after all, I should like to see him. He is about the only European sovereign whom I should care to see. He and Clemenceau — Clemenceau is a great man. King Edward, no! I don’t like that man. One of the reasons why I have put by the thought of going to Europe has been because I don’t want to see the King of England. He is a burned-out voluptuary, and I have no use for him.’

Hale reported in detail the Emperor’s views of the Asiatic question, ending with his suggestion of an alliance between the United States and Germany to guarantee the territorial integrity of China against Japan. After some consideration of this, Roosevelt replied: ‘Yes, I know that his whole policy does seem dominated by his fear of the Yellow Race. But he has so many other complications in Europe, and I don’t propose to go into an alliance in which all the burden and risk might fall on me.

’If I went into anything of that kind, I would stick to it. I don’t believe in a move of that kind merely by way of bluff. I never play a game of bluff. Now, as for the Kaiser, he might be intent above all things on this alliance at the present moment, but something might happen — something might happen at any moment that would open for him the chance of a rapprochement with England. And in that event I’m not at all sure that he would n’t hasten to the arms of his Uncle Edward, and leave me high and dry with a very grim foe across the Pacific to face alone.

‘Why, you know, the Germans have been wooing us for six or seven years at least — ever since I came in.’ The President suddenly became very secretive. ‘Would n’t it make a sensation if I were to allow the contents of a certain communication to me from the Kaiser to become known, though! When, during our own troubles with Japan, I was considering the dispatch of the fleet to the Pacific, I had a communication from the Kaiser offering to place the German fleet at my disposal if I sent our fleet around the Cape, and offering furthermore to bind himself to send an army corps to America for our defense the day that hostilities with Japan broke out. What do you think of that?’

The conversation, as noted down by Hale, ran along in general comment on the points the Emperor had made in the interview, until at length the President had obtained a complete idea of everything the Emperor had said.

‘I hardly know,’ Roosevelt concluded, ‘what to think of the Kaiser’s talking to you in this fashion. He goes ahead so fast. As you know, I have had to call his bluff once or twice myself. They say I am impulsive, but my impulsiveness is nothing compared to this. Sometimes I think he was talking through his hat. Bill’ — and these were the President’s words — ‘ Bill is a thought jumpy.’