The Pittsburgh Press (November 3, 1941)
U.S. relations with Germany unprecedented
Hostilities expected without formal declaration of war
Washington, Nov. 3 (UP) –
Diplomats today described the present strained situation between the United States and Germany as being without precedent in recent international history but foresaw no immediate break in diplomatic relations.
Two questions most frequently asked here are:
When will Germany and the United States sever diplomatic relations?
When, if ever, will they declare war?
No official answer has been given to either.
The latest remark on the subject was made by President Roosevelt last week when he said he did not see any change impending between Germany and the United States as a result of the sinking of the destroyer Reuben James.
But diplomats offer privately a wide range of answers. Some maintain that a “state of war” already exists, because the navies of both powers are apparently carrying out a policy of “shoot on sight.”
Others, when asked whether and when they think war will be declared, answer:
Do you mean officially?
The consensus here was that neither the Reuben James sinking nor the attack on the destroyer Kearny which preceded it would force a diplomatic rupture. About 77 men are still missing from the Reuben James and 11 died on the Kearny.
Some observers believed that, despite past and probably future incidents in the Atlantic, the United States would not declare war against Germany first – unless some unprecedented attack is made upon the United States.
They expected that extreme hostilities would take place without a formal declaration, or without a break in diplomatic relations.