PRESIDENT WILSON still awaits that “overt act” on the part of Germany which would precipitate war between the two nations. His deliberation, tantalizing as it is to the Allies, is due less to his individual temperament than to the circumstances of his position. How difficult these are, the cable which we have received from our American Correspondent makes sufficiently clear. Competent judges tell us that if he were to ask now for a declaration of war it would be refused him. The most that he can safely demand at present, as, in fact, he has done, is the power to protect American citizens’ rights and lives. But, unless Germany consents to some modification of her blockade as far as America is concerned, the two countries will inevitably drift into war, for it is inconceivable that the people of the United States will submit to being deprived of the freedom of the seas. But even the war party admits that the President’s policy of waiting has its advantages. It enables the military and the naval authorities to press on with their preparations for contingencies. Be that as it may, the United States will not come into the war unless and until she is compelled by Germany to do so. Meanwhile, she still maintains her diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary. The United States Ambassador in Vienna has asked the Austrian Government if there is a possibility for American citizens to travel safely in the Mediterranean. The inquiry is being considered by Count Czernin and the Government, but Berlin will assuredly have something to say on the matter. If the Monarchy had a free hand, some means would probably be found of satisfying the United States’ requirements.
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