Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson




Hoover proposes methods to provide food aid to Europe.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum





Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


Dear Mr. President:

In the matter of feeding the liberated peoples of Austria, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, et cetera, I have had conferences with Messrs. Hurley and Baker and our own staff and, as a result, I have to propose to you the following measures, which meet with approval on all sides:

  1. That the Army should hand to us certain cargo boats at once which we will load with foods at their expense. This food will be of a character that can be used by the American Army or the Allies in any event, and will be despatched in the first instance to Bordeaux for orders.
  2. In order to secure an organization to carry on the work during my own and Mr. Hurley’s absence, and to co-ordinate the various branches of the government concerned, I would like your authority to set up a committee under my chairmanship and to comprise Mr. Theodore Whitmarsh of the Food Administration, who would act as my alternate when away; Mr. Julius H. Barnes of the Food Administration Cereal Division and Mr. FS Snyder of the Food Administration Meats Division; Mr. John Beaver White of the War Trade Board; Mr. Prentiss N. Gray representing the Shipping Board and someone to be selected by Mr. Baker representing the War Department; Mr. William A. Glasgow of this department to act as counsel.
  3. It appears to me that it will be absolutely necessary to secure an appropriation for the handling of this enterprise. It is entirely probable that I can make such arrangements in Europe that will permit of the sale of the food, but, in the present disorganized conditions, it will be almost hopeless to secure rapid enough implementing of credits to solve the situation and that, for some preliminary stages at least, this relief enterprise would have to revolve on advances from our government. I should also, when I arrive in Europe, ask all the Allied governments if they wish to participate in the enterprise. It appears to me with the state of mind of the well-thinking people of this country that the government could agree to appropriate $200,000,000 for the feeding of the liberated populations in Europe,- such a sum to be placed at your disposal. In the ordinary course of events, I would not think that much of this money would be lost, for, at least, obligations could be obtained from municipalities and governments for its ultimate re-payment.

It is my view that the critical moment is right now to carry over the period pending the rehabilitation of trade and that if we can worry through the next four or five months we will have solved the problem. It is not necessary for me to mention how fundamental it appears to me that this is, if we are to preserve these countries from Bolshevism and rank anarchy.

Yours faithfully,

Herbert Hoover.

His Excellency
The President
of the United States,
The White House.

Original Format






Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 November 9, WWP25435, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.