The Swiss Minister ( Sulzer ) to the Secretary of State
Sir: I am instructed by my Government to transmit to your Excellency, upon the request of the Government of German Austria, the following cable communication:
“As a result of the orders issued by the National Council of the Czecho-Slovak State, prohibiting the transit of German coal from Upper Silesia, and of brown coal from Northwestern Bohemia, as well as shipments of gas coal and cokes from the Ostrau-Karwin regions, the coal situation in the German Austrian mountain states, including Lower Austria, and especially in the city of Vienna has become extremely critical. Coal for heating purposes is no longer available. The supplies of coal and wood required for cooking purposes will last one week at the utmost. The flour mills and bakeries will have to close in a few days. There are no supplies to keep up the railroad service. The Gas Works and Electric Power Stations in Vienna will, by observing the most rigid economy, be able to remain in operation for another two to three weeks. In other cities the Gas Works have already been compelled to shut down.
The closing of the Gas Works and of the Electric Power Stations in Vienna will not only deprive the city of the lighting service, but will, at the same time, necessitate the suspension of work in hundreds of industrial concerns and establishments engaged in the production of provisions for the population. Hundred thousands of workmen will be thrown out of work, and the population will be face to face with misery and starvation, even if the promised food supplies should arrive in time.
The desperate situation of the population would create dangerous social and political disturbances. The Government of German Austria, in accordance with the desire expressed by the Government of the United States and the Allies, is taking all possible measures to maintain internal order and peace, and to prevent a catastrophe. In the interest of humanity it begs to submit to the United States and Allied Governments the instant and earnest request that these governments will bring their influence to bear upon the National Council of the Czecho-Slovak State with a view to obtain permission for the exportation of coal from Ostrau and the furnishing of the necessary means of transportation, as well as for the transit, without restrictions, of other kinds of coal. Special importance is attached to shipments of coal from Ostrau in consideration of the fact that the Gas Works of the city of Vienna cannot be adapted to burn another kind of coal, and that the large stocks of gas coal in the coal mines of Ostrau would permit immediate and sufficient relief.[Page 634]
At the same time, the German Austrian National Council solicits the assistance of the United States and Allied Governments for the improvement of the conditions of transportation, the rolling stock available being quite insufficient to meet the demand. The minimum monthly requirements amount to 25,000 carloads of coal from Ostrau for the operation of the Gas Works and Railroads and 1000 carloads of cokes for the Railroad repair shops. In addition permission should be granted for the transit of 75,000 carloads of brown and hard coal a month, destined for cooking and heating purposes, for the maintenance of establishments engaged in the production of provisions for the population and of Electric Power Stations, as well as for the most urgent requirements of the industry.”