It wasn’t Einstein, but the mathematician Hermann Weyl who first addressed the [distinction] [between gravitational and non-gravitational fields] in 1918 in the course of reconstructing Einstein’s theory on the preferred … basis of a “pure infinitesimal geometry”….
Holding that direct…comparisons of length or duration could be made at near-by points of spacetime, but not … “at a distance”, Weyl discovered additional terms in his expanded geometry that he … formally identified with the potentials of the electromagnetic field. From these, the electromagnetic field strengths can be immediately derived.
Choosing an action integral to obtain both [sorts of] Maxwell equations as well as Einstein’s gravitational theory, Weyl could express electromagnetism as well as gravitation solely within the confines of a spacetime geometry. As no other interactions were definitely known to occur, Weyl proudly declared that the concepts of geometry and physics were the same.
Hence, everything in the physical world was a manifestation of spacetime geometry. (The) distinction between geometry and physics is an error, physics extends not at all beyond geometry: the world is a (
3+1) dimensional metrical manifold, and all physical phenomena transpiring in it are only modes of expression of the metric field, …. (M)atter itself is dissolved in “metric” and is not something substantial that in addition exists “in” metric space. (1919, 115–16)
Ryckman, Thomas A., “Early Philosophical Interpretations of General Relativity”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/genrel-early/>.