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been bought and paid for by the Finnish Government through a credit opened with the National City Bank. A considerable portion of it is already in warehouses in Baltimore and New York. Some is in cars en route from the mills to the warehouses. Part of it is still at the mills.
As soon as the purchase was arranged for the Finnish Government applied to the Inter-Allied Supply Committee in Petrograd for licenses to import the flour. This Committee is made up of representatives of all the Allied countries, including the United States, and is presided over by the Russian General Michelson. The Committee suggested that sufficient rye flour might be purchased in Russia and accordingly licenses for importation from the United States were not granted at that time. The Finnish Government made every effort to obtain flour in Russia and paid in advance 60,000,000 Finnish marks to the Russian Government for rye flour, which was to be delivered in Finland in August and the beginning of September.
As no flour reached Finland from Russia in August or the early part of September and as the Finnish crop was seen to be a complete failure owing to frosts and drouth, the Finnish Government again pressed the Inter-Allied Supply Committee for relief and about the middle of September that Committee granted an import license for 60,000 tons of wheat flour from America.
Three Swedish steamers were chartered through Grace & Co. for account of the Finnish Government to begin the transportation of flour from America. In the latter part of September, 1917, Messrs. Grace & Co. applied in Washington for export licenses and letters of assurance covering two cargoes of the flour to be shipped on the Swedish steamers Emanuel and Pacific, but the application was unsuccessful.
In order to avoid the possibility of any portion of the flour falling into the hands of the enemy, the Finnish Government arranged with the Swedish Government for transit licenses for the flour and arranged that the flour should be transported to Narvik, Norway, thence by rail to Karunki, Sweden, which is on the Finnish border, there to remain under American control-weekly rations to be released to Finland.
Under date of October 6, 1917, the United States Food Administration, Milling Division, requested Messrs. Grace & Co. to discontinue purchases of flour under “Finnish orders” on the ground that further purchases at that time would “mean that millers would be putting on their books or in transit a quantity of flour which, if it was not cleared, would merely cause confusion and congestion.” At that time approximately 3,250 tons of flour was in warehouses in Baltimore, 11,940 tons in New York warehouses and 29,878 tons was to arrive—11,847 consigned to Baltimore and 18,031 consigned to New York. Messrs. Grace & Co., of course, complied with this request.
On October 27, 1917, Messrs. Grace & Co. were notified that the flour in the warehouses of New York Dock Co. in New York and the Canton Co. in Baltimore had been requisitioned by the U. S. Food Administrator and on November 30, 1917, Messrs. Grace & Co. were similarly notified that the flour in the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Warehouse at North 10th Street, Brooklyn, had been requisitioned.
If sufficient flour is released by the United States to relieve the immediate and absolute necessities of the Finnish people, there is not the slightest possibility that any portion of this flour will reach the enemy. The arrangement with Sweden insures the delivery of the flour by a northern route without risk of capture by the Central Powers.
I respectfully request that the State Department take such action as may be proper to secure the release of a sufficient quantity of the flour owned by the Finnish Government to relieve the immediate necessities of the Finnish people. I am [etc.]
File No. 860d,48/58
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Russia (Francis)
WASHINGTON, December 19, 1917, 1 p. m. 1915. Your 2098, December 13, 10 p. m. Food Administration has requisitioned for France flour purchased by Finnish Senate. Conditions so urgent as to offer no other alternative. Department therefore arranging with Food Commission for Ignatius, Food Commissioner of Finnish Senate, now in Washington, to procure corn supplies now available at Gulf ports. Will advise you later as to pork and sugar.
File No. 8600.48/67
WASHINGTON, January 4, 1918.
[Received January 5.] MY DEAR POLK: With reference to the Finnish shipments of flour and wheat which we discussed today a telegram was received relative to this on December 29.
* Not printed.
His Majesty's Government consider that until full control has been organized there is serious danger of Finnish supplies being sent to Germany or being seized by the Bolsheviki.
According to reports which have been received there is to all intents and purposes open trade between Germany and Finnish ports, and smuggling, on a very important scale, has been going on from Finland to Sweden and Germany for several months. A recently forwarded consignment of rice from Sweden to Finland for Finnish consumption has been seized by Russian soldiery. We are accordingly instructed to ask whether any measures have been taken to ensure that forwarded supplies will be consumed by the Finns.
It is presumed that the supply question has been fully considered, and due regard has been given to Allied requirements, including those of Italy, in allocating this large quantity of cereals.
Furthermore in view of urgent demands of Allies for neutral tonnage and importance of not disturbing pending negotiations for shipping agreements, it is hoped that the British authorities may be consulted before steps are taken to place Dutch or Swedish ships at the disposal of the Finns.
My Government trust that before any binding arrangement is made to ship the proposed purchase of 45,000 tons of oats and corn, or other cereals or flour, an opportunity will be given for full consultation. It is felt that if a supply of foodstuffs is permitted to Finland, careful organization of the methods of distribution will be necessary. This might perhaps best be arranged by agreeing with the Swedish delegates to increase Swedish rations in certain particulars in return for Swedes sending supplies to Finland. I am [etc.]
File No. 8600.48/3a
Commercial Advisor of the British Embassy (Crawford)
WASHINGTON, January 12, 1918. MY DEAR CRAWFORD: The Secretary is of the opinion that certain definite food supplies for Finland should be allowed to go forward to replace flour which had been purchased by the Finnish Senate and which was subsequently requisitioned here.
It will, of course, be necessary to work out safeguards for the delivery of food supplies. For this purpose, and also to obtain the least possible delay, I have asked Mr. Basil Miles 1 to confer with you, the Food Administration and the War Trade Board. The Finnish Commissioner here assures us that Finnish authorities will do everything practicable to cooperate. Sincerely yours,
*Of the Department of State.
FRANK L. POLK
File No. 8600.48/53
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Sweden (Morris)
[Telegram] WASHINGTON, January 16, 1918, 8 p. m.
8 . 487. It is proposed to ship certain oats or other foodstuffs to Finland to replace 40,000 tons flour purchased by Finnish Senate and requisitioned by United States Food Administration. Please confer with British Minister and Swedish Government on such points as may be necessary in the following method of controlling distribution which is proposed by this Department, including question of transit across Sweden:
Shipments will be made to Narvik. If desired, an American supercargo will go with each ship and certify correct delivery at Narvik. Consignments will be made to American Consul at Helsingfors who, in conjunction with American Legation at Stockholm, will undertake onward transmission from Narvik across Sweden to Haparanda. The Consul or his representative will consult with proper Finnish authorities and divert consignments to desired points where he will release the foodstuffs for consumption in the particular locality or district, still under such supervision as he finds requisite. The Finnish authorities undertake to account to the Consul in detail for the distribution of each consignment entering Finland and recognize the authority of the Consul to stop distribution at any time either before or after entry into Finland.
File No. 8600.48/73
[Received January 30, 7.15 a. m.] 1407. Your 487, January 16, 8 p. m. Am now in receipt of note from Swedish Foreign Office, stating that the Swedish Government is ready to authorize the transit of shipments of cereals, flour, and pork, to the Finnish Government, without asking for any compensation from our Government.
Mr. Sayer, the agent in Sweden of Grace & Co., has declared his readiness to assume the responsibility for the control of these shipments while in transit, and says that he does not consider that it will be necessary to send a supercargo with each shipment.
However, I respectfully suggest that no shipments be sent forward until order is once more restored in Finland, as under present conditions it would be impossible to control their distribution.
File No. 8600.48/81a
WASHINGTON, February 21, 1918. MY DEAR MR. MUNSON: We have a telegram from the American Minister at Stockholm which says that the party of law and order are now in control of the north of Finland and that consequently an initial shipment of foodstuffs for Finland could go forward via Narvik, especially as the Minister reports that he can arrange matters so as to stop delivery at any time when it may seem that the supplies are not being properly distributed.
In view of this report, the Department requests that there may be the least possible delay in your arrangement with the Finnish Commission for the shipment of the initial supply of one or two small ships whose total cargo we understand will aggregate some eight thousand (8,000) tons. I am [etc.]
FRANK L. POLK
File No. 8600.48/163a
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Sweden (Morris)
WASHINGTON, February 27, 1918, 6 p. m. 570. For Finnish Legation [from Ignatius] :
Eight thousand tons oats ready for immediate shipment. Please communicate with Mr. Sayer, Scandinavian Trading Co., regarding charter of Swedish ships. I have here no funds for freight or insurance. Am trying to obtain Norwegian steamers of which only those reserved for Norway's use can be accepted, but even they must be chartered through you or Sayer as no funds here. Helliy Olav will probably take 2,000 tons to Gothenburg on her next trip. Arrange freight with owners, Copenhagen. War Trade Board here promised me yesterday use of that steamer. Ignatius.
* No. 1479, Feb. 12, Foreign Relations, 1918, Russia, vol. II, p. 719.