File No. 855.48/463

The Minister in Belgium ( Whitlock) to the Secretary of State


43. Department’s February 15, 5 p.m., received to-day through Spanish Minister. Since February 15, German authorities have agreed to restore to commission delegates, including those in northern France, all their privileges, and the commission has received a despatch from Hoover instructing it to remain. Provided that these [Page 643] assurances are carried out, Gregory is entirely satisfied with situation as regards commission; all delegates are anxious to remain and carry out work if satisfactory. Crux of the difficulty is divergence of opinion between the English and German Governments concerning route for ships. If ships can not come the relief obviously can not go on. Under the circumstances I assume that that portion of Department’s instruction under acknowledgment which relates to commission is now inapplicable. As regards my own position, while I am shown every personal courtesy, the Germans will hardly yield the point of diplomatic recognition. The German concessions concerning the commission seem, therefore, only to render my own position still more difficult. Both German and British Governments are trying to throw, one on the other, the responsibility of failure to continue relief work and the Germans at least would be glad of an excuse to place the blame on the American [Government?]. Inasmuch as a solution is momentarily expected I shall, in the absence of contrary instructions, delay my departure for a few days, feeling that if the relief work must fail it would be better from the American point of view were it to come to an end because of the inability of the German and British Governments to agree or because of curtailment of commission privileges at hands of Germany rather than on a point of diplomatic privilege.