Minutes of Meeting of New York Committee of the Commission for Relief in Belgium




The New York Committtee for Relief in Belgium asks Woodrow Wilson to help them secure support for their efforts.


Hoover-Wilson Correspondence, Hoover Institution, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, California


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


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Minutes of a Meeting of the New York Committee of the Commission for Relief in Belgium held at the office of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York on the th 5th November 1915 at 2.15 pm
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In attendance.

Mr. Hoover, as Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, stated that on account of the difficulties which had arisen in the New York Adminstration he had taken advantage of President Wilson’s request for him to call to ask the President if he would use his influence in securing the co-operation of the gentlemen present, together with Mr. Otto Bannard and Mr. Eldridge in the creation of a new Committee to cooperate with him in settling and conducting the administration of the branch of the Commission in the United States

The letter of the President to Mr. Hemphill in this connection was read as follows:-“My dear Mr. Hemphill” “Mr. Hoover, the Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, has approached me with regard to difficulties which have arisen in the conduct of that great humanitarian work, in which he feels he needs the support of an enlarged committee of gentlemen of large experience to cooperate with him in settling and conducting the administration of the branch of the Commission in the United States.”“I am so much impressed with the importance of this institution, on which the lives of so many people are dependent that I venture to say to you that I would personally be very much gratified if you could see your way to join such a Committee.”“The other gentlemen with whom I am communicating in this particular are Messrs. Otto T. Bannard, SR Bertron, Oscar Strauss, Melville E. Stone, John Beaver White and Herbert S. Eldridge. Ogf course you may wish to add others to your number, either from the officers of the Commission or otherwise."

“Cordially and sincerely yours”
(Sgd) WWoodrow Wilson

Mr. Hoover stated that he believed the most facile arrangement woudl be to style the new Committee the “New York Committee of the Commission for Relief in Belgium” and that it should at once replace the previous Executive Committee in New York. This was agreed to

The matter of the charges preferred by Mr. Bates against the Commission and the Chairman to the State Department was discussed and it was resolved that a Comm meeting of the Committee should be held at the Metropolitan Club at 12 o’clock on the 6th instant, that Mr. Bates should be inviited to attend and that the Committee should then consider what action should be taken with regard to Mr. Bates

In the matter of Mr. Hall, whose name appears on the Executive Committee in New York, Mr. Hoover explained that Mr. Hall had never been appointed a member of the Commission such appointments in the under the International Agreements being made by the nominatilon of the Chairman to at least one of the Ambassadors and that this gentleman had never been so proposed

Mr. McCarter, whose name also appears had given little service to the Commission fduring the last six months, although he had been of considerable service during the early stages of the work

Mr. Hoover considered that he should address both these gentlemen thanking them for their services to the Commission and stating to Mr. McCarter than his name would still be held under the general membership of the Commission his services to be made use of at such time as was mutually agreeable

Mr. Hoover explained that under the International arrangements the Executive Control of the Commission Offices was performed by gentlemen who had hitherto been appointed by himself in consultation with the Committees at the various Branches and who held the title of “Director” in continental terms, which in American terms was probably more precisely defined by the term “General Manager.”Under the International Agreements as to the conduct of the Commission and its responsibilities for subsidies it was required that there should be such a responsible administrator in each Branch who was approved of by the Governments furnishing the subsidies. Mr. John White had been Director in London for many months and was now in New York willing to devote his entire time and attention to the work of the Commission and Mr. Hoover proposed that Mr. White should take over this office from Mr. Bates and conduct it subject to the New York Committee

Mr. Hoover also explained that Mr. Hemphill was the Treasurer of the New York Branch of the Commission and that he could be glad if the New Committee in New York would appoint someone to audirt the forthcoming accounts of the Commission in Europe, the first Financial Year having closed on the 31st October.

Original Format





Commission for Relief in Belgium, “Minutes of Meeting of New York Committee of the Commission for Relief in Belgium,” 1915 November 5, WWP19048, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.