After considering this extraordinary reply, President Wilson decided not to
break off relations at once, but to assume that the German concession was made without its impossible condition. Tactical courtesy and patience have never been carried further. The American Government " will rely upon the scrupulous execu- tion henceforth of the now altered policy of the Imperial Govern- ment." The Note continues :-
" The Government of the United States feels it necessary to state that it takes for granted that Germany does not intend to imply that the maintenance of its newly announced policy is in any way contingent upon the course or result of diplomatic negotiations between the Government of the United States and any other belligerent Government, notwithstanding the fact that certain passages in the Imperial Govern- ment's Note of the 4th inst. might appear to be susceptible of that construction. In order, however, to avoid any possible misunder- standing, the Government of the United States notifies the Imperial Government that it cannot for a moment entertain, much less discuss, the suggestion that respect by the German naval authorities for the rights of citizens of the United States upon the high seas should in any way, or in the slightest degree, ba made contingent upon the conduct of any other Government as affecting the rights of neutrals and non- combatants. The responsibility in such matters is single not joint, absolute not relative."