Food Administrator’s File
The British Ambassador on Special Mission ( Reading) to the Food Administrator ( Hoover)
Dear Mr. Hoover: Your letter of the 1st of March is of such importance that I thought it right immediately to consult with the Italian Ambassador and Monsieur Tardieu.
With regard to your suggestion that the Allies should give a large order for the excess production of pork products until the end of April, as you state in the letter and as you explained to me in conversation, it is necessary to ascertain the storage capacity and secondly whether financial arrangements can be made to meet the requirements of the packers. Whilst the Allies are quite ready to fall in with the suggestion if it becomes practicable, it must be pointed out that although, as you say, food is food, beef and pork are not substitutes for bread, and particularly France and Italy, not to speak of Great Britain, require breadstuffs. Further, if this plan of purchasing these products became effective, it could not avail for substitutes for bread-stuffs in April and May since the greater part of the products would not be ready for use till after those months. But we are anxious to make plain to you that this is, in the main, a question of making satisfactory arrangements.
The most serious part of your letter is the statement—which I quote—“We are entirely short of breadstuffs in the United States and I do not see how we can go on exporting at the present rate per month.” We can hardly think that this is intended to mean that no breadstuffs will be available for shipment in April except the residue, if any, of the projected shipment for March. But in any event it is a statement of an alarming character, and we beg of you to inform us as soon as you possibly can whether we are to understand not only that [Page 541] the promised shipment for April can not be made but that it must fall far short of that quantity.
It is imperative that we should immediately communicate with our respective Governments in order that they may consider the position in which they will find themselves if there is so serious a deficiency in the shipment of breadstuffs.
We are quite satisfied now as in the past that you have done and are anxious to do all that is possible to meet the requirements for bread-stuffs in our countries, but we are anxious to ascertain where we stand at the present moment in relation to shipments for April and May.