CHAPTER 1
THE BIRTH OF THE COMMISSION

I was in London a few months prior to the outbreak of the First World War, partly on a mission to secure exhibits from various governments in Europe for the Pan-American Exposition, scheduled to be held in San Francisco, and partly for my periodic visit to the offices of my engineering firm.

Immediately on the declaration of war, I had been pressed by the American Ambassador to Britain, Walter Hines Page, into managing the repatriation of some 120,000 American tourists and others in their flight from Europe. Completing this task, I had booked passage for my family and me to return home late in October.

On September 5, 1914, a committee of Belgians and Americans, under the leadership of Dannie Heineman, an eminent American engineer, was set up in Brussels to deal with food problems of that city. Ernest Solvay was chosen as Chairman and Emile Francqui as President, and two American engineers-Millard K. Shaler and William Hulse-practicing their profession in Belgian industry were members.

On September 17, through his connections in Berlin, Heineman secured from Baron von der Goltz, the German general in command in Belgium, an undertaking addressed to the American Minister in Brussels, Brand Whitlock, and the Spanish Minister, the Marquis de Villalobar, that the Germans would not requisition the food imported by the Brussels committee.

This committee dispatched Shaler, an old friend of mine, to Lon

-1-

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