File No. 763.72114/2913

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


523. Your 1295, September 30, 4 p.m. Department cannot avoid the conclusion that the Danish Red Cross must be misinformed or Petrograd authorities have misunderstood what has been arranged here. Russian Embassy has requested American Red Cross to purchase and ship food to Russian prisoners in the Central Powers, the project contemplating feeding about 1,800,000 during winter and late autumn, and about 1,250,000 during remainder of year, supplying maximum of about 13,500 tons per month of food and minimum of less than 9,000. Suggestion of American Red Cross itself, however, has been that only such amount of food as may be necessary to provide for sick, wounded, and otherwise incapacitated Russian prisoners shall be purchased and sent, amounting to about 2,000 tons per month, entire operation in Germany being supervised by Spanish Embassy, Berlin, and inspectors and committees consisting of or controlled by representatives of Embassy and by prisoner committees, proper guaranties being first obtained from the German Government.

This Department has never approved the more comprehensive scheme and feels that there is not any real probability that so large an undertaking would either prove feasible in practice or meet the approval of our various governmental authorities whose cooperation would be necessary. Department is unaware of any plan contemplating sending 5,000,000 tons of food into Germany during any period whatever. It is, however, regarded as possible that the more limited plan suggested by the American Red Cross may be sanctioned. The Department will probably be in a position to take up this matter in some definite form with the Government of Great Britain whose cooperation would be necessary as soon as Russian Embassy here is advised of the views of the Petrograd authorities. Danish Red Cross should be informally but fully informed concerning facts and American attitude. Not only must this Government decline any suggestion that it participate in or agree to be bound by the decisions of the proposed conference, but according to statement of Red Cross, Doctor McCarthy has no authority whatever from American Red Cross to represent it or to be present at conference and should be distinctly warned not to participate in any way.

Department appreciates the views expressed in your valuable telegram No. 1276, September 27, 12 a.m.