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The Zimmermann Telegram (or Zimmermann Note or Zimmerman Cable) was a secret diplomatic communication issued from the German Foreign Office in January 1917 that proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico in the event of the United States' entering World War I against Germany.
The proposal was intercepted and decoded by British intelligence.
Mexican President Venustiano Carranza assigned a military commission to assess the feasibility of the Mexican takeover of their former territories contemplated by Germany.
The Carranza government was recognized de jure by the United States on 31 August 1917 as a direct consequence of the Zimmermann telegram, since recognition was necessary to ensure Mexican neutrality in World War I.
However, the United States allowed limited use of its diplomatic cables for Germany to communicate with its ambassador in Washington.
Direct telegraph transmission of the telegram was not possible because the British had cut the German international cables at the outbreak of war.Please call the President's attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace.Signed, ZIMMERMANN The Zimmermann Telegram was part of an effort carried out by the Germans to postpone the transportation of supplies and other war materials from the United States to the Allies of World War I that were at war with Germany.The message was sent to the German ambassador to Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt.
Zimmermann sent the telegram in anticipation of the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany on 1 February, an act the German government presumed would almost certainly lead to war with the United States.
President Wilson agreed to this, in the belief that such cooperation would sustain continued good relations with Germany, and that more efficient German-American diplomacy could assist Wilson's goal of a negotiated end to the war.