WE HAVE A BOUT WITH VON BISSING AND ITS REPERCUSSIONS
The previous chapters indicate that there were sufficient troubles to keep our energies and our minds busy. But there were coincident troubles which I relate in this chapter in order not to confuse the reader with our major purpose of restoring the movement of food to Belgium and Northern France.
Ten days after the start of the German unlimited submarine war, a storm blew up from a new quarter. On February 11, the Marquis de Villalobar cabled me that our entire American staff in Belgium and Northern France, totaling about seventy-five Americans, had to be reduced to five or six. He said:
The German Government has notified us that they could no longer authorize American subjects to continue in the service of the C.R.B. in the North of France and in the provinces of Belgium. The German Government consents to allowing five or six Americans to continue to reside in Brussels in order to assure the service of the central administration. The German Government will be very happy to see the C.R.B. continue its activity in Holland, England, and America, on condition, however, that C.R.B. boats will strictly observe the indications laid down by the new blockade and will take the Northern Route for Rotterdam. . . .
In the face of the deportation of our Belgian staff, it was a certainty that we could not carry out our responsibilities to the Belgian people or the Allied Governments under any such restrictions as these. We