File No. 763.72112/839

The German Ambassador (Bernstorff) to the Secretary of State

J. Nr. 2567]

Mr. Secretary of State: By direction of my Government I have the honor to supplement my memorandum of the 7th instant1 with the following statement:

The Federal Council’s decision concerning the seizure of food products, which England alleges to be the cause of food products shipped to Germany being treated as contraband, bears exclusively on “wheat, rye, both unmixed and mixed with other products” and also “wheat, rye, oats and barley flour.”2
The Federal Council makes an express exception in Section 45 of the order. Section 45 provides as follows: “The stipulations of this regulation do not apply to grain or flour imported from abroad after January 31.”
Conjunctively with that saving clause the Federal Council’s order contains a provision under which imported cereals and flours would bé sold exclusively to the municipalities or certain specially designated organizations by the importers. Although that provision had for its object simply to throw imported grain and flour into such channels as supply the private consumption of civilians and, in consequence of that provision, the intent and purpose of the Federal Council’s order which was to protect the civilian population from speculators and engrossers were fully met, it was nevertheless rescinded so as to leave no room for doubt.
My Government is amenable to any proposition looking to control by a special American organization under the supervision of [Page 103] the American consular officers and, if necessary, will itself make a proposition in that direction.
The German Government further calls attention to the fact that municipalities do not form part of or belong to the Government but are “self-administrative bodies” which are elected by the inhabitants of the commune in accordance with fixed rules and therefore exclusively represent the private part of the population and act as it directs. Although those principles are generally known and obtain in the United States as well as in England itself, the German Government desired to point out the fact so as to avoid any further unnecessary delay.
Hence is it absolutely assured that imported food products will be consumed by the civilian population in Germany exclusively and there remains no ground upon which England can prevent the exportation of food products from America to Germany for the use of civilians.

The Imperial Government expresses the firm hope that the American Government will stand on its right in this matter.

Accept [etc.]

J. Bernstorff
  1. Ante, p. 95.
  2. For previous correspondence dealing with this decree and its effects, see post, pp. 313, et seq.