PRESIDENT INFORMED OF GERMAN OFFER OF ALLIANCE WITH MEXICO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 100 years ago today, February 26, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson was informed of the interception and decoding of a telegram from German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman to Count Johann von Bernstorff, German ambassador to Mexico, calling for an alliance between Germany and Mexico should the United States and Germany go to war.
The secret communication, which had been intercepted by British intelligence on February 24, 1917, was made available to Walter Hines Page*, U.S. ambassador to Great Britain.
In addition to the suggestion of an alliance, the Germans offered Mexico financial assistance and the return of their lost territories of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
On February 27, 1917, President Wilson proposed to Congress the arming of American ships against possible German attack. The Zimmerman Telegram proved to be a major factor in turning American public opinion against Germany and leading to a United States declaration of war.
*Walter Hines Page (1855-1918) was born in Cary, NC & educated at Trinity College, Randolph-Macon College & Johns Hopkins University. He was editor of the St. Joseph (MO) Gazette before serving as Vice-President of Doubleday, Page & Co. from 1900-1913. WHP was appointed US Ambassador to Britain in March 1913.
"President Wilson learns of Zimmerman Telegram," This Day In History, February 26, www.history.com/