File No. 763.72114/2920

The Minister in Denmark ( Egan) to the Secretary of State


1295. Supplementing the Legation’s telegram No. 1276, September 27, noon. The following is a translation of a telegram received by Danish Red Cross from their representatives at Petrograd: [Page 632]

September 25, 1917.

The American Government has opened a credit of $12,000,000. We hope to organize the transport of supplies through Copenhagen. It may amount to 5,000,000 tons monthly. Conditions of organization [under] control of your delegates. Professor McCarthy, member of the American Red Cross mission, is going to Copenhagen to examine the situation. With your technical assistance we can organize, through the bureau of the Moscow Committee, distribution, shipment, subscriptions, addresses, confirmations, receipt. Please telegraph if we can count on your appointing the necessary number of delegates. Telegraph if you consider special agreement with Germany indispensable.

The Moscow Committee referred to is presumably the branch of the Russian Red Cross in Copenhagen which is so designated. The 5,000,000 tons monthly to which they aspire clearly shows the interest to more than provide for an addition to the regular rations of the Russian prisoners, who, moreover, are not underfed during the working season. It is not, however, at all improbable that the officers and those in hospital may suffer from want of sufficient nourishment.

There seems reason to fear that the Germans, while employing every possible pretext to augment the amount of foodstuffs introduced within their lines, may entertain the hope that by encouraging meetings with their enemies for the discussion of humanitarian questions and by including if possible all the principal belligerents, they may find means of pushing their peace propaganda. The feeling seems very strong in the Central Empires that once at the council table public opinion in all countries alike would not permit the conference to disperse without a cessation of hostilities, and consequently they would be able to extract terms of peace in harmony with their ambitions. The persistent refusal on the part of the Imperial German authorities to deal in any but uttermost generalities when discussing the subject, crowned by the Chancellor’s categorical refusal before the Reichstag on the 28th instant to define their aims in definite terms,1 would seem especially significant.

The opening session of conference is planned for October 4. Monsieur Zahle, who will actually preside, suggests that a technical delegate be named on our behalf to attend those portions of meetings which deal with food relief and accept the recommendations of the conference ad referendum.

  1. See telegram No. 1413 from the Chargé in the Netherlands, Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. I, p. 215.