840.48/2617a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Wallace )

305. For Rathbone from Davis. Treasury R-207.

On January 31 Chairman of Ways and Means Committee in troduced in House of Representatives bill H.R. 12193, as follows.

“A Bill providing for the relief of populations in Europe and in countries contiguous thereto, suffering for want of food. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, for the participation of the Government of the United States in the furnishing of foodstuffs and for the transportation thereof to populations in Europe and countries contiguous thereto suffering for the want of food, the United States Grain Corporation is authorized, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury and to an amount not exceeding $50,000,000, to buy or contract for the purchase of wheat and flour and other food and food products necessary for the purposes of this Act, and to sell, consign, or contract for the sale, and to deliver or contract for the delivery of the same for cash or on credit at such prices and on such terms or conditions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act and to relieve populations in the countries of Europe or countries contiguous thereto suffering for the want of food: Provided, That an audited, itemized report of the receipts and expenditures of the United States Grain Corporation for the purposes authorized by this Act shall be submitted to Congress not later than December 31, 1920”.

Reduction in total appropriated for relief from $150,000,000 to $50,000,000 is apparently due (a) to political agitation for economy in national expenditure with a view to reducing taxes; and (b) certain opposition to relief to Poland. Some testimony was given without our previous knowledge advocating the relief for military reasons but on basis that relief to Poland should be conditional upon France and England furnishing military support to Polish army which was [is?] now reported as over 100 miles beyond tentative boundary line determined December 2, 1919. Certain Congressmen [Page 255] were opposed to any extension of relief to Poland for military purposes. It was unfortunate that plea for relief was not confined exclusively to humanitarian ground, as presented by Secretary and Hoover.
We shall endeavor to induce Senate to raise amount of appropriation but have no ground for belief we shall be able to do so, and do not believe we should rely in any way on this possibility in making plans. Realize embarrassment in which above action of Congress in reducing amount asked for relief places us, but under circumstances feel that only solution is for British to supply all tonnage required to transport food from whatever source, so that total amount of our $50,000,000 may be available for food f.o.b. Atlantic seaboard.