File No. 704.00/4b

The Secretary of State to the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Sir: At the request of the nations engaged in the conflict now existing in Europe and elsewhere, the Government of the United States has accepted the care of their interests and of those of their nationals. Throughout the British Empire, Russia, and France the American diplomatic and consular officers are charged with the care of German and Austrian interests; in Germany and Austria-Hungary they must care for British and French interests; while in Germany the interests of Japan and in Japan the interests of Germany have been entrusted to the United States.

The temporary suspension of banking facilities and the impossibility of making transfer of funds by the usual methods has placed upon the Government of the United States, as a result of its assumption of the duty of caring for the interests of other governments in the existing circumstances, the duty of advancing money in several countries for the current expenses of diplomatic and consular officers of the countries of whose interests it has assumed charge and the care and necessary relief of the nationals of those countries.

To some extent these conditions have been provided for by means of reciprocal advances of moneys to the credit of American diplomatic representatives in the respective countries but it has been found that this method is not, in all cases, practicable owing to the difficulty of making money available through direct transfer of credits.

Therefore, to meet many cases which are arising, it is requested that Congress provide a fund, against which drafts may be drawn by American diplomatic representatives or from which advances of [Page 743] funds may be made to foreign diplomatic representatives upon the understanding that reimbursement will be made at such time and in such manner as the Secretary of State may deem expedient.

The creation of this fund will not be in the nature of an expense to the Government of the United States but rather in the nature of an advance of money to meet drafts and cover outstanding balances until such time as banking facilities are restored and adjustments are made feasible, when it is expected that the amounts advanced from the appropriation will be reimbursed.

I have, therefore, to request that the Congress appropriate a sum of one million dollars, to be disbursed for the purpose indicated by and under the direction of the Secretary of State, and that provision be made by which payments by foreign governments may be credited to the appropriation and be made available for further expenditures of like nature as they may become necessary, and that all sums paid to the United States in reimbursement of the appropriation shall be paid into the Treasury of the United States.

I should greatly appreciate as early action as possible upon this request since a number of applications for transfers and advances of funds have already been received.1

I am [etc.]

W. J. Bryan
  1. By public resolution September 11, 1914, the sum of one million dollars was appropriated for the purpose requested.