Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




1919 February 6


Herbert Hoover requests that Woodrow Wilson authorize the American Red Cross or the Army to provide supplies for Russian prisoners, to keep them from returning to the Bolshevik army.


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





Mr. President

The Military Council in Germany upon which Genl Harries represents us appointed to look after Russian prisoners has made an appearl to the Supreme Food Council and many other bodies for supplies for these prisoners. It appears that the British Red Cross have contributed about $2,500,000 and the American Red Cross is contributing $1,000,000 and these two organizations are prepared to furnish the necessary machinery for distribution. The total cost of the necessary food supplies, in addition to the above assistance, amounts to about $700,000 a month.

We have no American funds under the law that are available for this purpose. On the other hand, it appears that the object of taking care of these prisoners is to prevent them from going back to Russian in the middle of the winter nand joining the Bolshevik army, and therefore is solely a military purpose. Is it not therefore the natural proper duty of the American army to furnish supplies for the American contribution to this end? If you are inclined to this view, it would seem to me desirable to geive some indication to General Pershing of authority for the American army to supply say one-third of the foodstuffs to be supplied, leaving two-thirds to the English and French to supply from their military stores. If the Americans took sufch a proportion it might be interpreted into American commodities, amounting to say 350 tons of flour per month, leaving to the other Allies a larger proportion of the commodities of non-American orgigin to furnish.

General Harries of the American Army is a member of the Allied Military Committee who have this problem in hand, and iIf either the American Red Cross or the Army were to give the 350 tons of flour a month, through General Harries they could no doubt carry out the necessary distribution.

I would be glad indeed to have your views upon the matter. and if you approve my suggestion if you would communicate it to General Pershing.

Faithfully yours,
Herbert C. Hoover

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson,” 1919 February 6, WWP19487, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.