CHAPTER 48
PRESIDENT WILSON DIRECTS CONTINUED AID TO BELGIUM AND NORTHERN FRANCE

Even while the new German Republic was asking for the Armistice, a dying ember of their armies' brutalities flared up. In the Germans' retreat through Northern France, they destroyed the French coal mines. On November 2, I received word from Belgium that they had ordered the destruction of the Belgian coal mines. At once I addressed President Wilson as follows:

2 November 1918

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:

I am informed through our correspondents this morning that the Germans in Belgium have given notice to the coal mines to the effect that all men and animals should be brought out of the pits, all raw materials in possession of companies to be delivered to the Germans and that the mines will be destroyed at once. They have already started in two places in Belgium.

I can scarcely express the concern that I feel over this matter. It means the loss of an absolutely vital necessity to these people over the coming winter. It will result in enormous loss of human life. It seems to me hardly in accord with the professions recently made by the German government in their communications to you.

I have not had a great deal of faith in protests but it does seem to me that if you could see your way to point out in a note to the Germans that this does not accord with their professions; that it means the most terrible of human hardships; that it is absolutely wanton and that the continuation of this policy will necessitate the imposition of a greater

-387-

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