872.51/141: Telegram

The Chargé in France ( Bliss ) to the Acting Secretary of State

6614. For Secretary of the Treasury from Crosby. Number 920.

First. Dodge wires from Servia no balance now left with no advances made to the Government of Servia for quarter ending September. On the other hand they have managed to expend from their own funds 120,000 francs and upon same objects heretofore covered by our advances. Dodge not yet able to learn what are commitments of American Red Cross in Siberia [Servia?]. Hoover, in conference [Page 551] with Davison15 here, will probably clarify Red Cross situation concerning which Davis will wire you. Servian Government extremely anxious to obtain at once the regular 3 million advance for quarter October, November, December and 1 million additional for purpose not clearly explained. Dodge recommended both. Am wiring him to clarify doubt as to whether the 4 million above-mentioned is asked for as additional to relief loan of 15 million which you have agreed to establish but of which Dodge may know nothing.

Dodge further wires as follows:

“Minister of Finance leaving in a few days for Paris to confer with you and British and French Governments desiring considerably increased loans for Yugo-Slavia, stating receipts of Government from taxes nothing and likely to continue so for a considerable time owing chiefly to administrative disorganization, detailed [destruction] tax lists and certain amount of Bolshevism in Yugo-Slavia provinces, while all salaries necessarily increased on account of high cost of living. Army cannot be demobilized owing to Italian situation.”

Minister of Finance referred to in quotation apparently expects act for Servia and for the Yugo-Slavia territories about to be combined with Servia.

Second. You may desire to question whether the statute permitting loans to be made to Governments engaged in war against Germany would apply to a case in which two powers meeting the condition of belligerency with respect to Germany are at the same time maintaining forces for possible hostilities against each other.

Third. The continuation of our previous advances to Servia as well as the use of the special relief loan involves the support of Servian and Yugo-Slav activities in a general way. Having in mind the last sentence of quotation from Dodge, of the doubt suggested in paragraph 2, I make no immediate recommendation as to a continuance of Servian advances for the purposes heretofore covered by them, although there is reason to believe that the moneys requested are badly needed and if received will strengthen the Governments of Servia and Yugo-Slavia.

Fourth. For your information I quote from letter to me written by Harris16 in Rome.

“Mr. Page is desirous of our not coming to any definite agreement with the Italian Government until after Mr. Wilson has been to Rome and procured their adhesion to his principles.”

Fifth. The situations thus presented indicate that in addition to inquiries concerning (a) the actual need of commodities asked for on Government credits, (b) the possibility of supplying such need [Page 552] in the United States, (c) the ability of European Governments or their nationals to purchase in the United States or in other sources of supply, there arise questions concerning (d) the possibility of relieving regional shortage in Europe by political action tending to the removal of artificial barriers to traffic between various countries, and (e) the propriety of supporting belligerents in various undertakings.

Sixth. While preparing to terminate my work here I am bringing to the attention of our political representatives information coming to me such as that herein reported to you and which may bear upon (d) and (e) above and shall transmit to you any views expressed on this subject by our political representatives unless such views reach you independently.

  1. Henry P. Davison, Chairman of the War Council, American Red Cross.
  2. H. B. Harris, a Treasury representative in Europe.