Joseph P. Cotton to Herbert Hoover


Joseph P. Cotton to Herbert Hoover


Cotton, Joseph P. (Joseph Potter), 1875-1931




1918 November 1


Letter sent along from the embassy in London about shipping of food supplies.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Cotton, Joseph P. (Joseph Potter), 1875-1931
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964--Correspondence


Anna Phillips






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


Cable message from American Charge de Affaires
at London, November 1st, 5 p,m, No.3297


Message is marked urgent.

Cotton sends the following communication to Hoover:

“No.432.” I quote a cablegram which was yesterday sent to Secretary Baker from J.P.Cotton, Food Administration, L.P.Sheldon, War Trade Board, L.L.Summers, Was Industries Board, Stevens and Rublee, Allied Maritime Transport Council: “It is shown by a report on the shipping situation in the United States made by Gay that in the commercial trades of America there are now used of American controlled ships 780,000 dead weight tons and of Foreign ships 1,500,000 dead weight tons in excess of the shipping necessary to carry out such of the importation program of the United States as is essential. If we are to regard this report as correct, a serious responsibility is thrown on the representatives of the United States on the various organizations of the Allies which deal not only with ships, but also with raw materials, munitions and food. The European Allies have cut their program so far as food is concerned in essentials to a minimum which is actually dangerous and the carrying out even of this minimum program has been put off in order that ships may be furnished to carry supplies to the American Army. Under the reduced program of the Munitions Council the available shipping for munitions is not sufficient to carry out this program. Shipments to France are now under the reduced program to the amount of about one hundred thousand tons.

In the cases of the various raw materials Committees their programs are not yet completely made out, but enough has been done on them to render it clear that after food and munitions are provided for the tonnage available will be insufficient to carry out the programs of these Committees. When the European Allies are in such conditions as are set forth above, it is clearly essential that the United States should eliminate the importation of articles which are not essential and limit the importation of articles even which are essential, received programs agreed upon or to be agreed upon. As a matter of fact, it was based entirely on your commitment in this sense that the Allied Maritime Transport Council secured seventy three hundred thousand tons of shipping already allocated from sources in Europe.

Our assumption has been hitherto that this agreement was being carried out and that the shipping in America was being employed solely for the importation of essential articles. If Gay’s report be correct, it is clear that this is not the case. Unless there can be clear proof submitted that the report of Gay is incorrect or if it be correct unless a remedy be applied to the situation by withdrawing shipping which in unnecessary for the importation programs of essentials, we are all in agreement that we cannot ask the European nations to further diminish their programs so far as essentials are concerned.


Original Format



Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




Cotton, Joseph P. (Joseph Potter), 1875-1931, “Joseph P. Cotton to Herbert Hoover,” 1918 November 1, WWP25399, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.