File No. 103.97/78

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


96. Your 58.3 Rhondda communicates following for your personal information:

Replying your cable. It is entirely incorrect to quote me as saying, “There is plenty of food in England and France.” What I did say repeatedly in public and private was that there was no reason for immediate alarm although every reason for strict economy and precautionary measures. Alarmist statements would inevitably [Page 664] have led to panic with consequent encouragement to the enemy and hoarding of domestic food supplies before we had the machinery ready to suppress it. Moreover, amount of bread-stuffs and meat in the country and the estimate of available imports did not justify statements of such a character unless one was prepared deliberately to exaggerate or suppress existing facts in the light of recent developments, particularly as to the failure of anticipated wheat imports and the division of supplies to other countries. I have within the last few days publicly stated that compulsory rationing of the essential food-stuffs is “probable” and that I view the situation with grave anxiety. The food position in this country, and as I understand it in France also, can now without any exaggeration be described as critical, and anxious as I am to avoid compulsory rationing I fear it will have to come with long queues of people awaiting in the severe weather in practically every town in England for the daily necessaries of life. It would be impossible for me or anyone in his senses to say that there was “plenty of food.”

  1. Transmitted by the Ambassador in Great Britain through the Secretary of State (No. 8044).
  2. Not printed.