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File No. 863.852/322
The Director of the Bureau of Sales of the Alien Property Custodian
(Guffey) to the Assistant to the Counselor for the Department of State (Auchincloss)
NEW YORK, September 16, 1918.
[Received September 25.] DEAR SIR: Referring to Mr. Bennett's telephone conversation on Saturday in which he requested a letter from you setting forth the position of the State Department in regard to the remainder of the funds in the hands of Phelps Bros., representing the proceeds from the sale of the various Austrian vessels, we are attaching a copy of Phelps Bros.' statement showing all disbursements made to date.1
They appear to have on hand $1,726,743.40 which is an unremitted balance covered by the various War Trade Board licenses issued. In addition to this amount there is a little over $1,000,000 for which no licenses have been applied for.
It is our understanding that the State Department wishes the remainder of the funds held by Phelps Bros. to be transmitted to the various owners, and we would therefore request that you advise us in writing to this effect.2 Yours very truly,
JOSEPH F. GUFFEY
* Not printed. The total amount remitted since Dec. 31, 1917, is shown to have been $12,118,256.60, of which $730,000 was on account of the seven ships referred to in despatch of May 22 from the War Trade Board, ante, p. 456.
No answer to this letter found in the files.
BELGIAN RELIEF 1
File No. 855.48/618
[Received 12.40 p. m.] 6898. For Hoover? [from Relief Commission]:
C[ommission for] R[elief in] B[elgium] 21. If most desperate situation Belgium and France is to be avoided combined with discredit relief and American protection, wiping out effect last 212 years, must have immediately effective August allotted relief minimum average 60,000 tons additional cargo capacity. Have made insistent demand British Government which is approved. Insisted upon by Belgian and French Governments that this tonnage be turned over by Allied Governments to us at once. When pending arrangements with Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish result additional charters, corresponding tonnage can be returned to Allies. This course has approval important members British Government, but will fail unless strongly indorsed from United States. Relief Commission.
PAGE File No. 855.48/624 The Second Counselor of the British Embassy (Hohler) to the Assistant to the Counselor for the Department of State (Auchincloss)
WASHINGTON, August 14, 1917.
[Received August 15.] DEAR MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I am enclosing a memorandum embodying the points which I dwelt on in my conversation with you this afternoon about the Belgian Relief, which I hope will make the
1 For earlier 1917 correspondence on this subject see Withdrawal of the American Minister and Relief Workers from Belgium,” Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 1, pp. 628–664. For negotiations on obtaining Dutch shipping and the cargoes of detained Dutch grain ships see “Negotiations with the Netherlands," Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. II, pp. 1117–1158.
* Herbert C. Hoover continued to occupy the position of Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium after his return to the United States to assume the duties of Food Administrator in June, 1917. * Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. II, p. 1123.
present state of our negotiations in this question perfectly clear to you.
We have received further instructions to inform the United States Government that His Majesty's Government have agreed in principle to abandon the examination of relief ships to and from the United States at Halifax, etc., providing that there be an examination in American harbours which will furnish the necessary safeguards both as to the ships and their cargoes. If this is done and ships sail direct between America and Holland, it is calculated by the Committee of Belgian Relief that over 30,000 tons of cargo capacity will be saved monthly, and that there will be a reduction in the round trip of about 16 days—that is to say, instead of 76 days about 60. We are instructed to consult the United States Government on this point, and to invite them to undertake the examination. It is of very great importance to initiate the new method without delay. Yours sincerely,
T. B. HOHLER
File No. 855.48/672a
The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Spring Rice)
WASHINGTON, October 8, 1917. MY DEAR MR. AMBASSADOR: The Secretary of the Treasury has transmitted to me a copy of instructions which have been sent to the Collector of Customs, relative to examinations of vessels departing from this country laden with Belgian Relief cargoes, and I am forwarding herewith a copy of the instructions in question."
It is understood that in consideration of this examination undertaken by the Treasury Department, which was the result of an informal arrangement between the Embassy and officials of that Department, no further examinations of supplies for Belgian Relief work will be made at Halifax. I should be pleased to receive from you a confirmation of the arrangement proposed. I am [etc.]
File No. 855.48/867
[HAVRE,] October 18, 1917.
[Received at the White House 5.46 p. m.] HIS EXCELLENCY DR. WOODROW WILSON: During more than three years the American Commission for Relief under Mr. Hoover's able leadership has achieved with marked success and under the most trying circumstances the task of supplying the Belgian nation with the bare necessities of life. Moreover, Your Excellency's Government has lately assumed the burden of financing the Commission. Those unmistakable marks of sympathy make me feel confident that whatever the difficulties may be, the United States will never allow their noble work to be jeopardized. However, since several months the imports of foodstuffs have been inadequate and the last reports which reach me from the invaded territory are such that I consider it my duty to make a personal appeal to your intervention. The Belgian population is confronted not only with hardship and suffering but with actual famine, the death rate is steadily increasing. Infantile mortality is appalling. Tuberculosis is spreading and threatening the future of the race. Only by immediate and energetic action can the lives of many of my unhappy people be saved during the impending winter. My Government has put all available ships at the disposal of the Commission and is unable to provide for more. For the additional transports as well as for cargoes and financial means, Belgium must rely entirely upon the United States. I do not doubt but Your Excellency will give to Mr. Hoover full power to meet the present emergency with adequate measures, and in such conditions we are confident that Mr. Hoover will assure the success of the great task he has nobly assumed in the name of the American nation.
* Not printed.
File No. 855.48/650
[Received 10.20 p. m.] 7493. Poland 1 of Belgian Relief Commission presents following to me with hope of your consideration in conference with Hoover:
When $75,000,000 American loan was made to Belgium it was universally announced and understood in Europe that our Government would thereafter bear whole burden of relief and that European Governments would be spared further expense. Now, however, for first time Poland is informed in telegrams from Hoover that United States money can be spent only for supplies bought in United States. Please, after conference with Hoover, instruct me what to inform Poland. The income from European Governments is discontinued and Relief Commission here has no income. Yet two-fifths of Commission's outlay must be spent here.
1 W. B. Poland, Director for Europe, Commission for Relief in Belgium.
Must Poland inform British and Belgian Governments that they must continue to contribute two-fifths of Commission's outlay? Appeal to one will be unsuccessful, appeal to other doubtful. They had both understood that the American loan would relieve them of further payments.
File No. 855.48/651
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)
WASHINGTON, October 26, 1917, 6 p. m. 5669. Your 7493, October 22. From Treasury Department:
American Government has not loaned Belgian Government $75,000,000, but made a loan of $45,000,000 to be drawn at the rate of $7,500,000 a month during a period of six months. This amount it was understood would be expended for purposes of civil relief, and probably through the instrumentality of the Belgian Relief Commission, although that Commission can not be recognized by the Secretary of the Treasury directly in making loans under the authority of the acts of Congress which permit him to loan to governments engaged in war against Germany. At a later date, the Belgian Government requested advances to be made for the purchase of supplies for their Army in Belgium. These have been now made to an amount aggregating $13,400,000. It is inferred that the loan of $7,500,000 per month for civilian relief will be expected to be renewed since the six-months' period has just ended, and doubtless there will be no difficulty in having such extension made.
As to expenditures within the United States, it is desired that to the largest possible amount all sums loaned to foreign governments shall be thus expended. In case of urgent necessity, exceptions may be made, but the reason for these exceptions should be first submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury.
Copy of this telegram will be shown to the Belgian Minister with the request that he make such representations to the Secretary of the Treasury as he desires to make.
For correspondence concerning loans to the Belgian Government see Cooperation of the United States with the Allied Powers in the Provision and Administration of Finance and in the Purchase of Supplies,” Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. I, pp. 516-592.