File No. 855.48/440a

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


4386. Belgian relief. Department would be glad if you would express to the British Government the strong feeling of this country and of the Government that the relief of the Belgian and occupied French population must in any event continue; for this country will wish to show no less interest in this great work of humanity than has been shown during the last two years by the British and French Governments. Should it become impossible for the Americans to remain in Belgium and in control, Hoover considers it very desirable that the work of relief should be taken over by the Dutch Government, a transfer which could probably be best negotiated by the Belgian Government and the American Minister at The Hague. We have telegraphed Whitlock asking him to remain at his post and asking him to secure from the German authorities for members of relief the treatment of diplomatic and consular staff. Mr. Hoover desires you convey following message to Poland and Kellogg:

I think it extremely desirable for all members in Belgium to remain at their posts, even after departure of diplomatic and consular staff if Germans will guarantee their freedom to depart if situation becomes entirely untenable. Wish you to take Mr. Page’s advice in all matters and to consult freely with Belgian and British Governments, particularly on following questions. First. Change if any in sailing directions of ships afloat, such change if any to be issued by British Admiralty. Second Whether and by what route ships at present in Rotterdam and Atlantic ports should sail. If new British mine field does not interfere represent to British Government strongly desirability of taking route outside war zone. At the same time ask Spanish Ambassador if he will communicate through Brussels and Berlin that as British mine field and necessity to bunker in United Kingdom and conditions of charter and insurance renders Falmouth channel route the only practicable passage the Germans should agree at once to respect relief ships on this route and issue passes to this end, and that all departures are held up meantime. Remit us all the money you can lay hands on at once.