The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Acting Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: Referring to the information which I had the honor to furnish you orally yesterday, I take the liberty of confirming to you that, in the opinion of my Government, the importance of furnishing food relief, particularly to Poland, Austria and Armenia, becomes increasingly evident; the needs are daily more pressing, and the gravity of the consequences to be expected in case those needs are not satisfied is steadily growing.

The ravages which our country has suffered over a portion of its territory, and the obligation we are under to import for ourselves considerable quantities of cereals and other foodstuffs, do not permit us to give the sort of help most needed. We are not neglecting anything else, however, which lies in our power to do. We have authorized, therefore, in concert with England and Italy, the Reparation Commission to raise the embargo which had been placed on foreign securities belonging to Austria and serving as a pledge for the loan of $48,000,000. With those securities at his disposal, the Austrian Minister of Finance was in a position to negotiate with the firm of Pierpont Morgan, which will benefit by that guarantee, a loan of 25 to 30 million dollars, by means of which the country can subsist for about three months.

Other measures are under way, notably those looking toward larger advances of funds and an improvement in transportation through the organization at Vienna of a commission on car traffic under the presidency of a French engineer; meanwhile, in response to urgent requests from the above-named countries, the Czechoslovaks have decided to send into Austria 510 carloads of coal daily and to ship in addition the coal needed for the manufacture of compensation goods.

The Yugoslavs also have agreed to take part in the revictualling of Vienna, where a thousand cars shipped by them should arrive shortly, if indeed they are not already there.

But these efforts cannot meet the requirements, and the situation remains very disquieting. It is no less so in Armenia where a weakened population has more trouble than ever to resist its local oppressors from whom it has not yet been able to obtain deliverance.

As for Poland, which is still under arms in the common cause, and which is being reproached with militarism while she is endeavoring to form a barrier against two perils which threaten us all and [Page 261] a possible combination of which would be disastrous, there are no necessities which more than hers deserve prompt intervention. It is important, in fact, that her power of resistance should grow rather than diminish.

On these considerations my Government cannot refrain from cherishing hopes that the bill for food relief, recently introduced in Congress with the warm approval of the Administration, may bring about, before it is too late, the results which circumstances make so desirable and which may be expected from American generosity which has often been put to the proof.

Please accept [etc.]

  1. File translation revised.