WITH LORD GREY'S ENCOURAGEMENT WE MAKE A MAJOR DECISION
As the war went on, our multitude of difficulties in food, supply, shipping, and finance had steadily increased. And, in addition to all these difficulties inherent in events, there had been demands that we stop the Relief in consequence of the deportations.
Thus deportations presented us with a major decision. Should we risk the lives of ten million people with a declaration to the Germans that we would terminate the Relief if the deportations were not stopped? We had tried every measure of persuasion and every measure of pressure of neutral opinion. Nothing less than such an absolute declaration on our part would stand any chance of success, but what if it failed?
It seemed to me that in these difficulties we had need of advice and assurance from higher authority before we took any irretrievable steps. I laid the problem before our Ambassador Patrons Page and Merry del Val. They opposed our making any such demand. They suggested that I consult Lord Grey, the British Foreign Minister.
The interview with Lord Grey took place in early December. We canvassed the problems presented by the deportation and the other difficulties of the Relief. The Ministers stated that their information confirmed our reports that the Germans were adhering to their agreements not to take the imported food, that we had protected the harvests, and that the occasional taking of native food was, in its isolated instances, comparatively trivial in view of the large quantities we were handling.