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J.J. Jusserand’s Long Voyage

French Ambassador to the United States J.J. Jusserand was no stranger to America. Since 1902, he served as France’s envoy in Washington, D.C., and by 1914 was dean of the diplomatic corps.


French Ambassador to the United States Jean-Jules Jusserand
Harris & Ewing, via Wikimedia Commons

When war broke out that August, Jusserand and his wife Elise were on home leave in Paris where they socialized with their friends Ambassador Myron T. Herrick and his wife, Carolyn.

On August 3, the Jusserands left Paris for Boulogne, where they had passage aboard the La France. They left much of their luggage in the safekeeping of the Herricks and the U.S. Embassy in Paris, unable to accommodate all of it in the automobiles procured for their hastily-arranged voyage. Half-way to Boulogne, the Jusserands learned that La France would not sail as planned. Instead, they motored to Le Havre, where the French Navy advised them to take a boat to England. Once in the United Kingdom, the Jusserands and two of their household staff obtained passage aboard the St. Louis with assistance from U.S. Ambassador in London Walter Hines Page. Because Jusserand was considered ‘dangerous cargo’ at sea, his party traveled under false names in a second class cabin designed for only two people. Finally, on August 22, three weeks after they departed Paris, the Jusserands landed on U.S. soil.

Read Jusserand’s August 1914 report to French Minister of Foreign Affairs Théophile Delcassé here.

Reference: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, Guerre 1914-1918 Etats-Unis, août-octobre 1914, Vol. 489.

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