Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




1918 November 11


Herbert Hoover forwards two telegrams to Woodrow Wilson and advises against allowing food and relief supplies from the U.S. to be controlled by other nations.


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

I enclose herewith two telegrams which I would be greateful if you could find time to peruse.

The first, with regard to our entering into a joint inter-Allied pool for the purpose of distrubuting all of the world's wheat until the middle of 1920, fills me with complete horror. Of all of the import wheat in the world, 70% must come from the Western Hemisphere and I assume that we would be called upon to finance it and to place the distribution of it in the hands of a body that we could not control.

I can see no objective in such a plan as I believe there is sufficient wheat for the world to get through with, unless it is the intention to use this control of the prime necessity of life to dominate other measures in the world.

As to the second telegram on the subject of arrangements which the English may set up in London for provisioning the world with our foodstuffs and on our credit, I have a similar reaction.

Both of these telegrams bring me to express to you the urgency of a definition of our principles in these matters, to be conveyed to the Allied governments in order that I and the other agents of the government in Europe may be able to act in entire unison with your own views.

If I may make a suggestion in this direction, it would be on the line that we consider ourselves as trustees of our surplus production of all kinds for the benefit of the most necessitous and the most deserving. We feel that we must ourselves execute this trusteeship, that we are not unmindful of the obligation which we have to the sustenance of those who have fought with us against Germany and that with that together the necessities of those populations released from the German yoke we feel that they may well deserve a priority in our distribution. On the other hand, we cannot undertake any co-operative arrangements that look to the control of our exports after peace and furthermore - and equally important.- That the inter-Allied councils hitherto set up in Europe were entirely for the purpose of guiding inter-Allied relations during the period of the war and that any extension of their functions either by way of their control of our relations to other nations or the extension of their present functions beyond peace, cannot be enterteined by us; that all relationship involving the use of American food or credit for the people of other nations than the Allies themselves must await my Mr. Hoover's arrival in Europe, so far as any such supplies or interest of the United States is concerned.

I do not believe that this question will ever get settlement without some specific statement from you.

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 November 11, WWP19481, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.