Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




1918 November 14


Herbert Hoover writes to Woodrow Wilson about plans to distribute food for relief in Europe.


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


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964--Correspondence




Dear Mr. President

The general food situation in Europe looms more strongly hour by hour through the various reports and telegrams that we are receiving.

In accordance with the arrangements made with your approval the War Department is to give us shipping for 140,000 or 150,000 tons at once which foodstuffs they will advance to carry into French stocks or southern European ports for re-distribution on methods that may be determined on my arrival.

In addition to this, and in view of the serious situation in Northern Europe, I am subject to your approval – taking responsibility of having in extension of our conversation in accordance with of our decisions yesterday instructing the Grain Corporation purchase and ship to English ports for re-direction, another 125,000 to 140,000 tons of food. to probably be used in Northern Europe. We can finance this through the Grain Corporation tup to athe point of sale.

The ability to do perform thise second relief measure will depend of course on our ability to secure the shipping. Mr. Hurley is making arrangements to divert to us if possible some boats outside of the Army programme byut if this should fail, I am anxious that the Army should make other sacrifices of its munitions programme to enable this to be carried out at once. iI am confident that if we can have started to Europe 350,000 to 400,000 tons of food for these special purposes within the next ten or fifteen days and I can inform the vatrious governments, of - especially some of the Northern Neutrals - of positive arrivals that will be placed at their disposal, it would enable them to increase rations from their present stocks and probably keep their boats from rocking.

I have had an opportunity this morning to discuss with a group of Senators the question of the provision of an appropriation for working capital to cover these operations. Some of them, exspecially Senators Pittman and Kellogg, are prepared, to place themselves at your disposal, to forward any appropriation for this purpose. On the other hand, I find that amongst some of them bitterness is so great that they would raise strong opposition to raising an appropriation that they thought might be used for feeding Germany. I do believe that appropriations of a revolving fund could be obtained for providing food to the liberated peoples and perhaps to the neutrals and that it might be well to limit this legislation to these purposes; because through such agencies as the Army and the Grain Corporation we perhaps your Presidential fund we probably could manage to handle the German poroblem in itself.

It should be clear in such appropriation that it is not a gift to them, but to provide a revolving fund to enable us to carry on the relief commerce entailed with it should have a special provision that the foodstuffs may be used for philanthropic purposes if necessary if for the populations of Belgium and Serbia.

Yours faithfully,
Herbert C. Hoover

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 November 14, WWP19482, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.