File No. 763.72114/3169

The Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk) to the Counselor of the British Embassy ( Barclay)

My Dear Mr. Barclay: I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of December 29, 1917, relative to the shipment of supplies to Russian and Roumanian prisoners of war in enemy countries.

In reply I may state that I have recommended to the War Trade Board that in view of present conditions, any licenses which had been issued for the exportation of such supplies from the United States be revoked, and that none be issued in the future until the situation in Russia and Roumania as to separate peace is cleared up.

In this connection I should add that within the past ten days, under a license granted by the War Trade Board to the Russian Red Cross at New York for the shipment of 2,000 tons of foodstuffs to Russian prisoners of war in Germany via Switzerland, 140 tons of flour are now on the Atlantic in transit. This came to my attention only a day or two ago, and the Department is now endeavoring to arrange with the Russian Embassy here, that the consignee at Berne will turn over the shipment to the American Red Cross upon its arrival at Berne.1

I am [etc.]

Frank L. Polk
  1. In a telegram of May 31, 1918, the Minister in Switzerland reported: “I have only lately ascertained that the whole shipment was sequestered by French Government either as consequence of instructions received from Washington or suggestion from French Embassy here.” (File No. 811.142/3471.)