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4. Their captors would be relieved by just so much from feeding the very men to whom they are chiefly indebted for the present harvest, as there would now seem to be no effective means of obtaining adequate guarantees that food introduced would not take the place of the prisoners' regular rations. During the working season which extends from March to November the working prisoners of war who constitute the vast majority receive a ration of about three times the size of the regular civil ration, a fact which causes frequent bitter criticism on the part of the urban population.

5. Should it be decided to introduce large quantities of foodstuffs within the German lines for this purpose, why should Russia not [purchase] the surplus Danish cattle and swine, turn them into sausage or salted (meat], and so reduce the amount apparently available for general German consumption next spring ?

6. Might it be possible that the Russians themselves would be incited to greater activity in reorganizing and tranquilizing their country by the knowledge that an effort on their part was required to succor their captive brethren of like political faith?

7. For abuses of our humanitarian endeavors I recall the removal from Servia of the foodstuffs from Roumania supplied by our Red Cross. Conger states that in August of last year he saw cultivated fields in Belgium and northern France laid out in huge squares the produce of each to be reserved for an indicated regiment, and the officer in charge in one corps told him they hoped after supplying their own needs to ship a surplus back to Germany. I have only recently heard of Belgian Relief condensed milk finding its way to central Germany and the cans being carefully returned to Belgium as proof of consumption there.

The conference will hold its sessions at the palace under the presidency of Prince Waldemar. Monsieur Zahle of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will represent the Danish Government. It is reported that the Russian delegates are already en route.

EGAN

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File No. 763.72114/2920
The Minister in Denmark (Egan) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
COPENHAGEN, September 30, 1917, 4 p. m.

[Received October 1, 8.20 a. m.] 1295. Supplementing the Legation's telegram No. 1276, September 27, noon. The following is a translation of a telegram received by Danish Red Cross from their representatives at Petrograd:

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* Seymour B. Conger, Associated Press correspondent.

September 25, 1917. The American Government has opened a credit of $12,000,000. We hope to organize the transport of supplies through Copenhagen. It may amount to 5,000,000 tons monthly. Conditions of organization (under] control of your delegates. Professor McCarthy, member of the American Red Cross mission, is going to Copenhagen to examine the situation. With your technical assistance we can organize, through the bureau of the Moscow Committee, distribution, shipment, subscriptions, addresses, confirmations, receipt. Please telegraph if we can count on your appointing the necessary number of delegates. Telegraph if you consider special agreement with Germany indispensable.

The Moscow Committee referred to is presumably the branch of the Russian Red Cross in Copenhagen which is so designated. The 5,000,000 tons monthly to which they aspire clearly shows the interest to more than provide for an addition to the regular rations of the Russian prisoners, who, moreover, are not underfed during the working season. It is not, however, at all improbable that the officers and those in hospital may suffer from want of sufficient nourishment.

There seems reason to fear that the Germans, while employing every possible pretext to augment the amount of foodstuffs introduced within their lines, may entertain the hope that by encouraging meetings with their enemies for the discussion of humanitarian questions and by including if possible all the principal belligerents, they may find means of pushing their peace propaganda. The feeling seems very strong in the Central Empires that once at the council table public opinion in all countries alike would not permit the conference to disperse without a cessation of hostilities, and consequently they would be able to extract terms of peace in harmony with their ambitions. The persistent refusal on the part of the Imperial German authorities to deal in any but uttermost generalities when discussing the subject, crowned by the Chancellor's categorical refusal before the Reichstag on the 28th instant to define their aims in definite terms, would seem especially significant.

The opening session of conference is planned for October 4. Monsieur Zahle, who will actually preside, suggests that a technical delegate be named on our behalf to attend those portions of meetings which deal with food relief and accept the recommendations of the conference ad referendum.

EGAN

See telegram No. 1413 from the Chargé in the Netherlands, Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. I, p. 215.

File No. 763.72114/2929
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
LONDON, October 4, 1917,2 p. m.

[Received 7.25 p. m.] 7325. Howland and Dresel have telegraphed you their disapproval of Harte's comprehensive scheme to feed prisoners. They report to me that they cañ make no practical progress with British Government because of Harte's scheme which the British Government knows. They ask me to take up subject of feeding Russian and Servian prisoners in Germany with the Foreign Office. Please instruct me.

The British Government will ask among other questions whether enormous food supply [will be] required and [whether] we can guarantee transaction, and precisely what machinery of distribution can be set up to insure that food reaches prisoners and nobody else.

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File No. 763.72114/2929
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, October 5, 1917, 4 p. m. 5536. Your 7325, October 4, 2 p. m. You may inform Foreign Office that Department does not approve of Harte's plan, and in the event that any arrangement whatever is made concerning the purchase and shipment of food supplies to Russian prisoners in the Central Powers, the American Red Cross would be named as the recognized organization for this purpose. Furthermore, no plans will be perfected until this Government has consulted fully with the British and French Governments.

It has been suggested by Russian Ambassador here that all the Russian prisoners in the Central Powers, about 1,800,000, be sent food from the United States. The Department, as well as the Red Cross, has never approved this proposal, but, on suggestion of Red Cross, consideration is being given to the purchase and shipment of food supplies, amounting to about 2,000 tons per month, to those Russian prisoners who are sick, wounded, and otherwise incapacitated, entire operation in Germany being supervised by Spanish Embassy, Berlin, and inspectors and committees consisting of or controlled by representatives of Embassy and by prisoner committees, proper guaranties being first obtained from the German Government.

LANSING

File No. 763.72114/2913
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Denmark (Egan)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, October 5, 1917, 5 p. m. 523. Your 1295, September 30, 4 p. m. Department cannot avoid the conclusion that the Danish Red Cross must be misinformed or Petrograd authorities have misunderstood what has been arranged here. Russian Embassy has requested American Red Cross to purchase and ship food to Russian prisoners in the Central Powers, the project contemplating feeding about 1,800,000 during winter and late autumn, and about 1.250,000 during remainder of year, supplying maximum of about 13,500 tons per month of food and minimum of less than 9,000. Suggestion of American Red Cross itself, however, has been that only such amount of food as may be necessary to provide for sick, wounded, and otherwise incapacitated Russian prisoners shall be purchased and sent, amounting to about 2,000 tons per month, entire operation in Germany being supervised by Spanish Embassy, Berlin, and inspectors and committees consisting of or controlled by representatives of Embassy and by prisoner committees, proper guaranties being first obtained from the German Government.

This Department has never approved the more comprehensive scheme and feels that there is not any real probability that so large an undertaking would either prove feasible in practice or meet the approval of our various governmental authorities whose cooperation would be necessary. Department is unaware of any plan contemplating sending 5,000,000 tons of food into Germany during any period whatever. It is, however, regarded as possible that the more limited plan suggested by the American Red Cross may be sanctioned. The Department will probably be in a position to take up this matter in some definite form with the Government of Great Britain whose cooperation would be necessary as soon as Russian Embassy here is advised of the views of the Petrograd authorities. Danish Red Cross should be informally but fully informed concerning facts and American attitude. Not only must this Government

. decline any suggestion that it participate in or agree to be bound by the decisions of the proposed conference, but according to statement of Red Cross, Doctor McCarthy has no authority whatever from American Red Cross to represent it or to be present at conference and should be distinctly warned not to participate in any way.

Department appreciates the views expressed in your valuable telegram No. 1276, September 27, 12 a. m.

LANSING

File No. 763.72114/2988
The Minister in Denmark (Egan) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram)
COPENHAGEN, October 25, 1917, 3 p. m.

[Received October 26, 1 a. m.] 1482. Legation's 1465, October 23. The Legation has been informed that the Russian and Austro-German delegates to the Red Cross Conference have agreed to recommend to their Governments the repatriation of all their invalid nationals interned in Denmark, also that the Russians have proposed the exchange of 1,000 German officers and 5,000 civilian prisoners against 5,000 Russian officers now in the hands of the Central Powers.

It is admitted by a Russian official that the Central Powers continue to press the question of an exchange of non-invalid prisoners.

AMERICAN LEGATION

File No. 763.72114/2988
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)

[Telegram)

WASHINGTON, October 29, 1917, 12 noon. 5677. The following, strictly confidential, received from Copenhagen today:

[Here follows text of telegram No. 1482 of October 25, supra.]

Please take up matter with Minister of Foreign Affairs orally and ascertain his views. Also what steps, if any, British Government contemplates taking. Similar instructions telegraphed Ambassador at Paris.2 Text furnished Petrograd to report as to authenticity without making any representations whatever.

LANSING
File No. 763.72114/2993
The Minister in Denmark (Egan) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
COPENHAGEN, October 26, 1917, 10 p. m.

[Received October 27, 9.30 a. m.] 1495. Our 1482, October 25, 3 p. m. The Legation learns that the Russians and Austro-Hungarians and Germans have agreed to

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*Not printed.
· Telegram No. 2748 of Oct. 29. (Same file number as above.)
3 Telegram No. 1805 of Oct, 29. (Same file number as above.)

* Transmitted to the Ambassadors in Great Britain and France on Oct. 29, telegrams Nos. 5686 and 2752, and to the Ambassador in Russia on Oct. 30, telegram No. 1809. The last telegram contained in addition the following: “ Please ascertain facts and if report is substantiated say to Minister of Foreign Affairs that the Department cannot but feel that a grave peril exists to the Allied cause in the contemplated release of so large a number of German and Austrian officers and men."

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