File No. 855.48/440
The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 4, 4.30 a.m.]
5590. Commission for Relief in Belgium requests that I send the following urgent message, and asks that its substance may at once be transmitted to Hoover.
We consider necessary that no vessels start from American ports until definite understanding reached between German and British Governments. Shipments from this Kingdom likewise held. Please ask that German Government continue present protection between English ports and Rotterdam and overseas; otherwise shipments originating England, amounting over one fifth our [supplies], will be cut off and not replaceable, also ships arriving and cargoes now here will be excluded. This will break down ravitaillement. Impossible to communicate with and warn ships soon to arrive. It is necessary that ships coal United Kingdom. The German prohibited area with the new British mine field practically excludes vessels from approaching Holland. Dutch frontier now open and Gregory advised to ship all Dutch and commission products possible into Belgium and northern France. On the request of Lord Eustace Percy we have asked Gregory to assure people that in event of difficulties between Germany and the United States the work will be continued under the Dutch, Spanish, and Danish Ministers.
Percy says the Treasury is still discussing with Belgian Government details of the loan. Hopes matter will be settled soon. French and German Governments agree to all our recommendations except Treasury as above. Percy has advised Treasury that loan must be settled at once or increased subsidy granted. Believe possible thus to secure temporary relief.
Mr. Page intends to discuss matter with Mr. Balfour.