File No. 658.119/43

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


7251. I took up your 5431, September 15, 5 p.m., with Foreign Office on 17th instant and am to-day in receipt of reply. I quote in full as follows:

In reply to your memorandum of the 17th instant in regard to the cession of 700,000 bushels of wheat to the Belgian Relief Commission by the Swedish authorities in the United States in return for the export to Sweden of 270,000 bushels of rye I have the honor to state that Your Excellency’s note is the first intimation that His Majesty’s Government have received that the wheat in question has already been shipped to Belgium. It is also understood from communications with Mr. Poland1 that up to 21st instant the Commission for Relief in Belgium had no definite knowledge that the transaction was actually closed. His Majesty’s Government were under the impression that the matter was still the subject of negotiation between [Page 1045] the United States and Swedish Government and had accordingly instructed His Majesty’s Ambassador at Washington to represent the undesirability of allowing any cereals at this juncture to proceed to Sweden.

In view, however, of the statement contained in Your Excellency’s note under reply His Majesty’s Government will raise no further objection to the shipment of the proposed consignment of rye to Sweden and will be willing to allow the vessel carrying this cargo to be inspected at Halifax instead of in the United Kingdom if the United States Government so desire but having regard to the ignorance of the Commission for Relief in Belgium of the actual conclusion of the negotiations I should be much obliged if Your Excellency would first confirm the impression conveyed by your note that the United States Government feel that they can not properly prevent this rye from reaching Sweden. His Majesty’s Ambassador at Washington has been informed accordingly.

I would point out to Your Excellency that it was never the intention of His Majesty’s Government that the wheat in question should be secured for the Commission for Relief in Belgium without granting facilities for the compensating export of rye to Sweden but that in view of the number of other cargoes of wheat recently arranged for the Commission for Relief in Belgium it was hoped that the United States Government might have found it possible to abandon entirety the negotiations with the Swedish Government in respect of these cargoes.

  1. W. B. Poland, Director for Europe, Commission for Relief In Belgium.