File No. 033.5711/22

Remarks of Doctor Nansen on the Occasion of His Presentation of Letters of Credence as Minister of Norway on Special Mission, August 1, 1917

Your Excellency: You will be aware, Mr. President, of the extremely difficult conditions under which Norway has laboured during the great war. In her endeavour to maintain a strict and just neutrality she has encountered the same problems and dangers that have met all the neutral countries. Norway’s commercial fleet has been decimated and the lives of her sailors taken by the hundreds on the high seas. Her supplies have to a great extent been cut off and many of her usual sources of supply have been definitely closed for the length of the war.

Under these circumstances my country has to look to the United States for the supply of those articles which are required for the maintenance of her people.

With the purpose of securing such supplies and among these first of all the things required for the feeding of the Norwegian people, my Government has sent to the United States a mission of experts, headed by me, with the object of taking up with the Government of this country the question of how this purpose can be attained in a manner satisfactory to both countries.

In presenting to Your Excellency my credentials as Minister Plenipotentiary on Special Mission, I have the honour on behalf of my Government, to express the earnest conviction that the mission will succeed in placing before the Government of the United States evidence which will leave no doubt as to Norway’s actual position.

My Government fully recognize the tremendous demands which are at the present moment made on the United States, but nevertheless [Page 1036] they sincerely hope that in continuation of the long and extremely friendly relations between the two countries it shall be possible to find a happy solution of the questions at issue.