Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

The Department has recently reviewed in detail the question of feeding certain groups of the population of Axis-occupied Europe, especially children in countries such as Belgium, northern France and possibly Norway. We feel the need is so great that the blockade policy should be amended to permit such an operation properly controlled so that the enemy will not benefit. Further, we think, under present conditions, the case might be based on military grounds and that if it could be based on military grounds the British would be more apt to concur.

Hence, I have addressed a letter to Admiral Leahy,1 raising the issue in that light, for consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A copy is enclosed for your information. Our thought is that if they should approve the question could then be presented to the Combined Chiefs of Staff and finally be directed to the British through that military channel.

I wanted you to have this information in view of the Resolution on this subject now pending in Congress.2

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, U.S.N., Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Letter under reference not printed.
  2. Senate Resolution 100, “Favoring action looking to relief for the starving peoples of Europe,” was passed by the Senate on February 15; see Congressional Record, vol. 90, pt. 2, p. 1652. A similar resolution was passed by the House on April 17, ibid., pt. 3, p. 3497.