862.48/37

The Secretary of State to the Swiss Minister ( Sulzer )

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of to-day, transmitting to the President the text of a cable inquiring whether this Government is ready to send foodstuffs into Germany without delay if public order is maintained in Germany and an equitable distribution of food is guaranteed.

I should be grateful if you would transmit the following reply to the German Government:

“At a joint session of the two houses of Congress on November 11th, the President of the United States announced that the representatives of the associated governments in the Supreme War Council at Versailles [Page 630]have by unanimous resolution assured the peoples of the Central Empires that everything that is possible in the circumstances will be done to supply them with food and relieve the distressing want that is in so many places threatening their very lives; and that steps are to be taken immediately to organize these efforts at relief in the same systematic manner that they were organized in the case of Belgium. Furthermore, the President expressed the opinion that by the use of the idle tonnage of the Central Empires it ought presently to be possible to lift the fear of utter misery from their oppressed populations and set their minds and energies free for the great and hazardous tasks of political reconstruction which now face them on every hand.

“Accordingly the President now directs me to state that he is ready to consider favorably the supplying of foodstuffs to Germany and to take up the matter immediately with the Allied Governments, provided he can be assured that public order is being and will continue to be maintained in Germany, and that an equitable distribution of food can be clearly guaranteed.”

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing