He was German ambassador to the UK in 1905. He was already ambassador to the USA in August 1914 when war broke out and remained there until he was sent home on 3 February 1917. Accounts of his war time activity in the USA vary. However he was not the Military Attaché, Captain Franz von Papen. This period was probably difficult for Countess Bernstorff, American-born Jeanne Luckemeyer who, like many aristocratic wives, had to side with her husband's country. Being in the USA while von Pappen, et al. were sabotaging in the USA and getting caught at it had to be difficult.