Allied Nations Send Envoys to United States
Immediately after America's Declaration of War, the Allied nations sent high commissioners to the United States to express their gratitude for the timely entrance of this Republic into the War, to plan for a closer coordination of action in warfare, to exact a pledge that no separate peace should be concluded with Germany, and to ask extensive credits from our nation in the purchase here of war supplies.
The French Envoys Arrive
The French Commission, headed by Marshal Joffre, the hero of the Marne, and Rene Viviani, a former Premier of France, was accorded a most impressive welcome. The vessel in which the French envoys took passage from France, and which had been convoyed by French war ships across the Atlantic, was met at night, when 100 miles off the Atlantic coast, by a flotilla of American destroyers, docking at Hampton Roads on April 24, 1917. Here the envoys transferred to the President's yacht Mayflower, which conveyed them to Washington. By invitation, Marshal Joffre and M. Viviani appeared before the Senate and House of Representatives, receiving a great ovation. Visiting Mt. Hermon, General Joffre laid a bronze palm on the tomb of George Washington and M. Viviani paid an eloquent tribute to the memory of the Father of His Country. A tour of several states followed, and everywhere the distinguished guests were received with acclimations of joy and gratitude.
The British Commissioners
The British Commission, headed by Lord Arthur Balfour, left England secretly on April 11, 1917; arrived at Halifax on the April 20, 1917; crossed to St. John and came by special train to the town of McAdam on the Canadian border; then crossed to Vanceboro on the American side, where they were received by the Third Assistant Secretary of State, Rear-Admiral Fletcher and General Ward, and escorted to Washington. Lord Balfour, by invitation, addressed the House of Representatives, being the first British official ever to receive this privilege. Before leaving the Capitol, he laid a wreath of lilies on the tomb of Washington. Both the English and the French commissioners were tendered a reception and dinner at New York on May 31, 1917.
Other Nations Send Envoys
Cordial welcome was also extended to the members of other national missions: The Prince of Udine and Signor Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, representing Italy; Boris Bakhmetieff, representing Russia ; Baron Moncheur, representing Belgium, and the envoys from Romania, Japan and Ireland.
Enormous Credits Extended to the Allies
Ample funds being now available in the United States Treasury, additional loans made to the Allies as follows: Great Britain, $200,ПОО,000, to which was added $300,- 000,000 in July; France, $100,000,000 to which was added $60,000,000 the following month; Russia, $175,000,000; Italy, $100,000,000 ; Serbia, $3,000,000. By the end of July, 1917, the United States had loaned to the Allied nations $1,525,000,000,000, or more than half of the amount which Congress had allotted for financing the war purchases of the Allies.
As A result of these missions, a perfect understanding was reached with reference to the needs and desires of the Allies. The conduct of the blockade, naval operations, munitions supplies, military dispositions and shipment of foodstuffs, were among the subjects discussed. Great Britain urged the building of American ships with all possible speed to counteract the losses from submarine attacks. France pleaded for the immediate dispatch of American troops across the water, a prayer which did not go unanswered. Upon the departure of Lord Balfour, the work of the British mission here was continued by Lord Northcliffe.
When the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allies on April 6, 1917, the war at sea was hanging in the balance. Having resumed unrestricted U-boat warfare in February 1917, Germany had quickly inflicted staggering losses on the British merchant marine to an extent completely unknown to the American government, or indeed to anyone but a select few at the British Admiralty. At the first meeting between representatives of the two navies in April 1917, the British First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe had astonished the new American naval envoy, Rear Admiral William S. Sims, by informing him that Allied shipping loses had recently surpassed 600,000 tons per month, and that the Admiralty did not see any immediate solution to the problem. Jellicoe announced that at present loss rates, Britain would be effectively starved into submission by November 1917. After a meeting at Scapa Flow later in July between Sims, Jellicoe, and Admiral David Beatty (commander of the Grand Fleet), the Admiralty requested that the United States Navy send four dreadnoughts and six destroyers to join the Grand Fleet. The Admiralty intended that the arrival of the American dreadnoughts would allow it to decommission five ships of the pre-dreadnought King Edward VII-class, freeing up four thousand officers and ratings to serve on new light cruisers, destroyers, and submarines then under construction.