President Wilson's Policy


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. President Wilson’s Policy is Number 161 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The book consists entirely of excerpts from statements made by Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States during World War I. There is no introduction or analysis. The excerpts are given chronologically and grouped in three periods: the “Neutral Period,” from August 1914 to April 1916, when the United States under Wilson made great efforts to stay out of the war by maintaining a strict neutrality; the “Critical Period,” from April 1916 to April 1917, when the United States increasingly gravitated toward war with Germany as a result, mainly, of the latter’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare (i.e., the sinking of commercial ships flying the flag of neutral states as part of the enforcement of the German blockade against Britain, France, Italy, and Russia); and “After Intervention,” from April 17 to December 1918, after the United States had declared war on Germany. The appendix contains a number of statements and diplomatic notes issued by Germany and Austria in 1918 concerning the terms of a possible peace.

Last updated: February 4, 2016