CHAPTER 2
THE EDGE OF STARVATION

That Belgium's need was imperative was demonstrated from many quarters. A telegram from Minister Whitlock to our Secretary of State on October 16, 1914, said in part:

. . . now a grave situation confronts the land. In normal times Belgium produces only one-sixth of the foodstuffs she consumes. Within two weeks there will be no more food in Belgium. Winter is coming on and there are thousands who are without home and without hope; therefore it is necessary to extend this relief work to the whole of Belgium. . . .

The same day, Whitlock sent a further urgent telegram to President Wilson, saying in part:

In two weeks the civil population of Belgium, already in misery, will face starvation. . . .

On October 26, I received in London a message from Francqui:

My Dear Hoover:

On returning here I found the situation much more grave than at my departure. Liége, Namur, Charleroi are absolutely without flour. At Brus

-6-

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