File No. 855.48/476

The Chargé in the Netherlands ( Langhorne ) to the Secretary of State


744. Foreign Office has sent me a communication enclosing a copy of note, dated February 17, 1917, addressed by German authorities at Brussels to the Dutch Chargé d’Affaires at Brussels, together with a copy of Dutch Chargé d’Affaires’ reply thereto.

Following is summary of note, February 17:

German authorities do not consider that severance of diplomatic relations between Germany and the United States has created a new situation with regard to revictualing of occupied territories of Belgium and northern France, inasmuch as the revictualing is under the protection of the Dutch and the Spanish Governments on same basis as that of American Government. German authorities are willing to give such assistance in connection with revictualing as they have granted for maintaining and as is in conformity with the agreements already concluded. As some members of relief commission may return to the United States, it will probably be considered advisable to replace them by other suitable persons, the commission having always contained neutral members of different nationalities. The Governor General of Belgium submits for consideration the desirability of certain American members remaining in the direction of the commission at Brussels, and in the event that the Dutch Chargé d’Affaires considers this advisable, the Governor General would be willing to have Mr. Brand Whitlock cooperate with the commission. German authorities ask that Dutch Chargé d’Affaires arrange with Mr. Whitlock the nature of his cooperation.

Following is summary of Dutch Chargé d’Affaires’ reply:

Dutch Government considers it desirable in the interests of revictualing of occupied territories that the Americans continue in every instance their functions in connection with the relief commission, and that the decision regarding the form which Mr. Whitlock’s cooperation would take in connection with this work rests exclusively with the German authorities and with the Minister.