The Swiss Minister ( Sulzer ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: By direction of my Government, I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency the following two communications from the German Government, received by the Legation late last night.13

1. “The German Government and the German people have thankfully heard that the President of the United States is disposed to take into favorable consideration the question of shipping food products to Germany. But quick action is most imperative. The acceptance of the hard terms of the armistice, and in particular the necessity of providing for the food of the returning army out of our scanty stores, the stagnation of ocean traffic in the North and Baltic Seas through the continuation of the blockade, the danger to our supplies from the unsettled conditions in the East, all this makes our situation daily more unbearable. The danger of anarchy can only be averted [Page 641] by the speediest grant of relief. I, therefore believe that my appeal to the President’s humane sentiments will not be in vain, if I lay before him an entreaty to save the German people from destruction by starvation and anarchy in sending as soon as possible to The Hague or any other place plenipotentiaries who would there discuss with plenipotentiaries of the German people the details of the plan for the timely saving of our Fatherland through the magnanimous help of America. The matter might perhaps be put in the tried hands of Mr. Hoover who has rendered grand service in Belgium.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.”

2. “The stream of troops returning from the West justifies a fear that in the very near future Berlin and the other large cities of Germany will be cut off from the food supplies of the interior.

We therefore in deepest concern repeat our prayer of yesterday not to delay for a moment the meeting, at the earliest date, of the conference proposed by us at The Hague for which city representatives will leave at once. We further earnestly beg the President of the United States to agree to the instant departure for America of a German Commission which would personally present a statement of the conditions in this country to the Government of that country and endeavor to pave the way for the purchase of the most needed foodstuffs.

We indulge the sanguine hope that the humane sentiment of the American people will not defeat any possible effort to save thousands of women and children from starvation.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.”

I beg leave to inform your Excellency that the above quoted messages are a repetition of the original communications of the German Government, transmitted to me by my Government on November 16th, which, however, failed to reach me.

Accept [etc.]

Hans Sulzer
  1. The following is a translation of the German texts quoted by the Minister; these documents were also received in the Department by wireless from Nauen, Germany, Nov. 15, 1918.