File No. 658.119/34a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page )


5431. The Department authorized an arrangement by which the Belgian Relief obtained approximately 700,000 bushels of wheat from the Swedish authorities here on condition that 270,000 bushels of rye should be released for export to Sweden. The British authorities here countenanced the arrangement, it was accordingly [Page 1043] closed and the wheat has gone to Belgium. We are now informed that the British Government do not see their way to granting a pass for the rye. The Department is thus placed in a very awkward position and it seems clear that if we are to maintain even an appearance of good faith the necessary pass should be issued to permit the uninterrupted passage of this cargo. In the present delicate situation it is most important that no excuse be given for the belief that we are putting pressure on the Swedish people. Granting of pass at this time would doubtless have good effect on Allied cause.

Please take the matter up with Mr. Balfour with the request that it be given immediate and favorable attention. Early telegraphic report desired in order that we may inform Swedish commissioners and thus avert harmful developments. For your information I am advised that it has been intimated by the British authorities here that the pass will be granted if we care to press for a favorable decision.