File No. 841.50/102

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


No. 168. After further investigation we report on British meat situation as follows:

Each adult has four meat coupons weekly, before May 5 only three could be used for beef or mutton, since then only two, and others are chiefly used for bacon and hams, hereafter called pork. May 5 value coupon for bacon was raised from 5 to 8 ounces and for ham from 5 to 12 ounces. This means temporarily large use pork. May 5 value coupon for beef or mutton was raised from 5 to 6 pence worth and May 19 to 8 pence, so quantity now obtainable about the same as before May 5. Present price beef about 16 pence per pound. These increases in rations due to overcrowding cold storage especially [Page 552] with pork due to large recent arrivals, these representing about 65,000 tons of beef, mutton and equal quantity pork monthly. British Ministry were considering mutton [cutting] pork ration after July 15 to about quantity before May 5 with some further increase in beef, mutton ration, presumably figuring on civilian consumption thereafter for several months of about 80,000 tons monthly of beef, mutton and 25,000 pork. Army takes 10,000 tons pork monthly. Tentative programme of contemplated import from United States, about 15,000 tons pork monthly July and August, 25,000 September and 35,000 October and November, also 5,000 monthly from Canada. Proposed increased beef ration after July would be met by increased home slaughter. Production of beef to be forty or possibly only thirty thousand tons monthly besides mutton. Ministry says British civilians now get and during summer will get practically no North American beef and comparatively little South American. Future British beef imports from United States depend on proportion army beef drain from there which depends on shipping programme. Army takes 46,000 tons carcass beef monthly all imported. Some Food Ministry men anticipated reduction of present 32,500 tons monthly all from United States. Italy and France together import about 42,000 tons beef monthly from South America for army use chiefly.

Durand told British the programme contemplated after July seemed great inconvenience your pork production conservation programme and American conditions of production and stocks of which he submitted statistics prepared for you before he left. We suggested adjustment of [programme] to take approximately 50,000 tons pork monthly from United States even if at same time home supplies permitted increased beef, mutton ration. Ministry say they are anxious to meet American conditions and will consider possibility increasing pork programme above described, however they doubt willingness of consumers to take large quantity hard cured pork, in which case possibility of large orders during summer would depend on use refrigerator ships for mild cured product. We pointed out that refrigerator space so far as used for civilian beef could be used for pork if necessary, part of army beef requirements could be prohibited [provided by] home production, releasing refrigerator tonnage. They are inquiring further regarding probable shipping situation. They will also shortly report on lard programme.

Lusk and Chittenden1 who are here insist armies and also British civilians get far too little fat and expect Scientific Commission so to [Page 553] report. They think you are justified in insisting on preference pork over beef in our exports.

Also expressed some dissatisfaction with pork prices though admitting consumers have at start fairly absorbed recently increased ration at present prices. We told them appreciably lowered prices are inconsistent with your promises to farmers.

British Ministry still anxious to secure storage for pork at American seaboard and say would increase purchases if storage available and if credits for advance buying granted. We told them packers could probably hold product if orders were placed or even if definite programme involving sufficient purchasers later were assured. British realize need of definite orders or programme but say you should appreciate advantages from uncertainty regarding attitude of consumers though [toward] hard cure regardless ocean transport and storage facilities here.

We suggest you inquire from packers regarding quantities pork hard cured under British instructions with view to possible rescinding of instructions. Also request you cable Sheldon official stock figures cured and frozen pork as of May 1.

We believe France and Italy might be influenced to take more pork for either civilian or army use especially during winter; unless you otherwise direct Durand will urge them to do so.

Finally we suggest you constantly emphasize to A[llied] P[rovisions] E[xport] C[ommission] and Meats and Fats Executive your desires and American situation. They apparently have not fully apprehended relation your pork programme to relative consumption beef and pork here and considerable pressure may be necessary, and it is especially desirable in general that A.P.E.C. report to the authorities here your point of view on all situations, as authorities here must be very largely guided by the reports of their own agent.

[ Sheldon]
  1. Transmitted by the Chargé in Great Britain to the Secretary of State (No. 10143) for Hoover.
  2. Graham Lusk and R. H. Chittenden, United States representatives on the Inter-Allied Commission on Scientific Alimentation; see letter of Jan. 21, 1918, from Dr. Taylor of the Food Administration to the Counselor for the Department of State, Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. I, pp. 665666.