File No. 103.97/71

The Food Administration Representative at London ( Sheldon) to the Food Administrator ( Hoover)2


No. 93. At meeting of Wheat Executive3 to-day the statement in the Wheat Export Co.’s3 cable that shipments could not exceed 800,000 tons per month owing to railroad blockade and congestion at ports [was discussed].

It was pointed out that short shipments from December 1 to date have so reduced stocks in the three Allied countries that it will not be possible to carry on unless a minimum of 1,100,000 tons per month from America in January and February are realized.
As an illustration, Italy’s arrivals up to end December, in spite of every effort to help by diverting all available British tramp [Page 663] tonnage, will amount to 477,000 tons which is a deficiency of 624,000 on original required. This deficiency must be made good quickly but Italy’s fair share of shipping [shipments] if total amounts to only 800,000 tons in these months, will do nothing to remedy past deficiencies and furthermore if France and Great Britain do not receive their full share of such shipments stocks will be reduced to such an extent as to lose the margin necessary to secure reasonable distribution.
In addition to the previously mentioned Allies’ requirements, the Paris conference decided to allocate 240,000 tons cereals to Switzerland of which a portion was to be delivered in December and in addition the cereal wants of Greece were put on the same plane as the Allies’ by the Paris conference.
Poland1 tells me that 81,000 tons cereals have been allocated to Belgium and the Wheat Executive hopes that this will not diminish what is available for it and that you have been making allowance for Belgium requirements outside the Wheat Executive’s wants.
Italy’s loss of cereals is proportionately much greater than loss of population and Italy is requesting further allocation from the Wheat Executive’s availability. You will, therefore, see the vital importance of the maintenance of shipments to the minimum of 1,100,000 tons for which I understand shipping will be available. I would suggest that if railway and dock congestion be the main deterrent to fulfillment of the minimum program, the importance of the cereal situation be brought to the attention of the highest authorities. Taylor on arrival will present all details. Please keep me fully informed of cereal developments.
  1. Transmitted by the Ambassador in Great Britain through the Secretary of State (No. 7981).
  2. See footnote 1, ante, p. 653.
  3. See footnote 1, ante, p. 653.
  4. W. B. Poland, Director for Europe, Commission for Relief in Belgium.