Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson


Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




1919 April 25


Herbert Hoover tells Woodrow Wilson of the difficulty he faces since US has not fulfilled commitments of cargo loading and delivery.


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





My dear Mr. President

I am extremely sorry to trouble you with any matter of lesser importa than those with which you are faced.You will recollect having sent a direction to Mr. Hurley to furnish the Relief Administration with 500,000 tons of shipping for loading in the month of April, this being a minimum amount on which I believed we could hold the tide of starvation during the month of May, when these cargoes would arrive. I regret to inform you that up to the present moment we have been furnished shipping for actual loading and dispatch from the United States of less than 250,000 tons. Owing to the failure of the Shipping Board to keep its promises to give us 350,000 tons of loading in March, in which month we received only 200,000 tons, we are at present in the midst of a posttvitive famine of supplies, and I am only able to eke out during the present month by borrowing from other governments as against future replacements on an extremely expensive basis.I feel that I have at least the right to inform you of my total inability to carry out the obligation that has been placed upon me in this situation. I have no desire to desert the post, but it does not seem to me fair that I should be given this responsibility and given assurances that would enable ti its execution, and then to be faced with this constant failure. When you consider that the American mercantile fleet delivered into Europe during the month last days of the war nearly one million tons of commodities per month, and when you consider the very considerable ciincrease in our fleet, I think you will appreciate that I am not asking for the impossible. InIncidentally, I hear that Mr. Hurley is about to assign ships for loading of coal to Italy, in order to enlarge employment of our coal miners. I would like to point out that if the same rates are charged on coal to Italy that are charged on food to starving populations, it will cost from $35 to $40 a ton to deliver this coal in Italy, out of which some $4 or $5 will be the purchase price of the coal on the Atlantic seaboard and from this amount the American miner will receive less than $2.00 a ton. The Italian credits are absolutely worthless and therefore in order to give $2.00 worth of employment in the United States, our Government is about to expend $35. The British have taken the obligation, and are performing their obligation, to furnish Italy with coal. It would occur to me that it is better to stem the tide of starvation in Europe and to devote the wast of $33 on sending coal to Italy to the employment of workmen at shoveling coal sand on the beach.Herbert C. HooverHH:AKHis Excellency,The President of the United States,11, Place des Etats-Unis,PARIS.

Yours faithfully,

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson,” 1919 April 25, WWP19506, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.