We had troubles with General von Bissing. The first of these difficulties concerned restrictions on the number of our American staff in Belgium and their freedom of movement, as well as restrictions placed upon the Comité National.

The General's officials had been restricting the passes necessary for our staff to enter and move around Belgium. Together with Whitlock, I went to see von Bissing about this on February 11, 1915. Von Bissing was a small-sized man, and my impression was that without his uniform, high boots, and helmet he would have looked most insignificant. My impression of his mental processes would also be included in that term. We did not get anywhere, so the next day, I wrote him a long letter spelling out our problems on this matter in detail, the essential parts of which were:

BRUSSELS, 12 February 1915


In the representations which I made to Your Excellency last evening with regard to giving a larger measure of freedom of movement to the men engaged in the work of alimentation and more expedition and liberality in the issuing of passes, and Your Excellency's reply which I took to mean that Your Excellency felt that our people have already too much freedom of movement, I am afraid that I did not lay sufficient emphasis on the important phase of this work and the gravity of the situation which arises. . . .


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An American Epic - Vol. 1
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