The Commissioner at Berlin (Dresel) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received February 16—6:47 p.m.]
85. Koch, Minister of Interior, in an interview with me characterized the food situation as ominous. This is confirmed from many reliable sources. Military stocks which substantially aided situation last year have been exhausted and best opinion is that domestic supplies cannot last beyond the end of May or beginning of June leaving a period of about eight weeks before the harvest which can only be bridged over by supplies from abroad. At present the food imports from America are not sufficient in quantity or character materially to remedy conditions.
The purchase of further food stocks will infallibly depress the mark still more unless credits can be procured. It is predicted that unless new factors intervene the mark may decline to 150 or 200 to the dollar in the late spring. This would mean conditions akin to those in Vienna and grave danger of civil disorders would arise. On the other hand if the food shortage can be remedied without further depression of the exchange it can safely be stated that little fear of disorders exists.
I am not informed as to what steps it may be practicable to take in the United States to meet the situation and should greatly appreciate receiving all the details possible. If in addition a reassuring statement could be transmitted which I could informally communicate [to] the German Government and if so authorized to the press it would not fail to have an excellent effect.
Please communicate separate telegram to Mr. Hoover.