File No. 103.97/715c

The Secretary of State to the Special Representative ( House )


20. For your information. The Department has sent the following despatch to the Embassy at London:1

No. 62. For Cotton from Hoover. Your 35. For your general advice and not to be communicated. This Government will not agree to any programme that even looks like inter-Allied control of our economic resources after peace. After peace over one-half of the whole export food supplies of the world will come from the United States and for the buyers of these supplies to sit in majority in dictation to us as to prices and distribution is wholly inconceivable. The same applies to raw materials. Our only hope of securing justice in distribution, proper appreciation abroad of the effort we make [Page 617] to assist foreign nations, and proper return for the service that we will perform will revolve around complete independence of commitment to joint action on our part. I understand no provisions have been made in armistice such as recommended your 35. As to any intermediate action during armistice this can be handled as to its political aspects simply as a relaxation of blockade under present arrangements as to cooperation in this matter. As to commercial aspects of feeding Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey and Serbia, the efficient thing is to organize a duplication of Belgian Relief organization. Such machinery can determine the needs, arrange for the relaxation of blockade necessary. Can find help from Allied Governments. Can secure credits from liberated governments or municipalities or banks. Can operate Austrian and other shipping. Can buy and sell and distribute food and take independent action generally of commercial character impossible to the Inter-Allied Food and Maritime Councils. The representation of the Allies in such commission could be proportional to the actual resources in food, money or shipping that they find for its support. Such a commission can cooperate with the Food Administration here directly in food purchases where they will be coordinated with other buyers and in case of purchases in other localities can cooperate through existing agencies to avoid competition. Thus the international disorganization outlined in your 35 will be avoided and above all the extension of the functions and life of Inter-Allied Food and Maritime Councils either now or after peace will be prevented.

We cannot consent to the delegation of neutral buying in the United States to the Inter-Allied Food and Maritime Councils. We must continue to act with entire independence in our commercial relations with all neutrals and Belgian Relief. I trust, therefore, you will in representing this Government discourage any attempts to carry out the proposals of your 35.

The Department approves entirely the policy above set forth. Hoover is leaving within a few days for London on his way to Vienna and will see you in Paris.

  1. The telegram to London, dated Nov. 8, is numbered 2687.