File No. 855.48/453

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


5673. Director Gregory at Brussels informs Commission for Relief in Belgium that Von der Lancken, Civil Governor of Belgium has reported to him that the German Government will no longer permit [Page 637] American members of commission to exercise functions in Belgium and Northern France. Hoover and his American associates can, in my judgment, pursue only one course, namely: inform the German Government immediately that every American retires, get all American members out of Belgium and France in whatever way their exit can best be managed by Gregory, with whom Poland is conferring by telegraph, and close the commission’s business immediately in Belgium and France and liquidate it as soon as possible. We shall have to leave to the decision of the British, French, and German Governments the work for the future. Americans can now retire with clean record and make dignified exit without parley, leaving the onus on the German Government.

I regard it as of the very highest importance that Hoover announce retirement under German order, emphatically and immediately. Further discussion may lose the present tactical advantage.

I await Department’s instruction to me to retire as patron of commission which I hope will be given.

Please inform Hoover of the contents of this and your instructions to me.