GERMAN AND BRITISH GUARANTEES OF IMMUNITY OF FOOD FOR BELGIUM
Because there was so much interaction between the British permissions to pass food through the blockade and the German guarantees of non-interference with food supplies, they must be described together.
The Commission's problem was to secure from both belligerents agreements granting it immunity from interference. It was a slow and unprecedented process in a wholly uncharted field of international relations, for what was involved was not agreements between governments, but agreements between governments and a body of hitherto unknown men whose sponsors were neutral Ambassadors and Ministers who themselves could undertake no obligations on behalf of their own governments.
The original guarantee from the Germans had been negotiated by the Commission's subsequent Director in Belgium, Dannie Heineman, and had been furnished to Whitlock by the General then in command, von der Goltz, as follows:
BRUSSELS, 17 September 1914TO THE MINISTER OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:In reply to the communication which Your Excellency in behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium addressed to the Head of the Imperial Administration, I have the honor to confirm to you:
1. That the Imperial Government agrees not to levy any impost for the needs of the German Army, nor to requisition the shipments of wheat and flour destined for the alimentation of the Belgian civil population.