HistoryAtState
Unusual Circumstances

On August 25, 1914, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan notified Ambassador to France Myron T. Herrick that his successor, William Graves Sharp, would sail for France the following day. Bryan confided that President Woodrow Wilson wished for Herrick to remain in charge in Paris for the time being, given the extraneous circumstances, and that Sharp not assume charge until the strain of the German threat to Paris passed.1


Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan instructs Myron T. Herrick to remain in Paris
Telegram from Secretary of State (Washington DC) to Herrick (Paris), August 25, 1914. Copy from file 123 H 43, 1910-29 Central Decimal File, Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives.

Herrick acquiesced. However, he asked to make public in France the Department’s instructions to minimize any misunderstandings of his role—or that of Sharp.


Herrick asks the Department for permission to publicize the reasons for his retention in Paris amidst unusual circumstances Telegram from Herrick (Paris) to Secretary of State (Washington DC), August 27, 1914. Copy from file 123 H 43, 1910-29 Central Decimal File, Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives.

On August 28, Bryan informed Herrick that,

“In view of the unusual conditions in which the embassy is placed at the present time, the President desires you to remain until you receive further instructions and that Mr. Sharp has been asked to proceed to Paris but will not immediately assume the duties of ambassador.”2


  1. Telegram from Bryan (Washington DC) to Herrick (Paris), August 25, 1914. Copy from file 123 H 43, 1910-29 Central Decimal File, Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives. 

  2. Telegram from Secretary of State (Washington DC) to Herrick (Paris), August 28, 1914. Copy from file 123 H 43, 1910-29 Central Decimal File, Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives. 

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