File No. 763.72/1457a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)


1140. Referring to communications repeated to you last night from German Government and the one repeated herein, from these you will see that the German Government specifically exempts imported foodstuffs and also expresses willingness to have foodstuffs from America distributed by American organizations. These propositions would seem to remove the reasons given by Great Britain for stopping food intended for non-combatants. In giving these notes to Sir Edward Grey for his information, please make clear to him informally the position in which this Government finds itself. It cannot escape the conviction that a policy which seeks to keep food from non-combatants, from the civil population, of a whole nation, will create a very unfavorable impression throughout the world. It will certainly create, is already showing signs of creating, a strong revulsion of feeling in this country and the result might very easily be such a condemnation of that policy by American opinion, in view of the explicit assurances of the German notes sent last evening and herein, as to be very embarrassing to this Government if it took an inactive position. In the interest of the absolute good feeling that subsists between us these considerations should be very frankly stated. You may suggest that it seems probable that the war zone order would be withdrawn if the food question could be adjusted.

Note from German Embassy, February 15, follows:

[The German note here quoted is printed above.1]

  1. Ante, p. 104.