CHAPTER 23
A VICIOUS ATTACK BY BRITISH MILITARISTS

The requests that we continue and the promises of better co-operation did not include the British Admiralty, who now seemed to renew their determination to wipe us out. Their first volley in this renewed campaign was another and more extensive list of complaints concerning German seizures of food intended for the Belgians. The Foreign Office wrote:

FOREIGN OFFICE, LONDON
11 March 1916

DEAR MR. HOOVER:

A report has reached us that the Germans are taking half of the food imported by the Commission into the district of Ghent. It is said that they are giving this food to their soldiers and are also sending it in part to Breslau. I should be glad if you would make an inquiry into this question because, although I know that this kind of story is a common one in Belgium, this particular account comes to us from an unusually trustworthy source, and it refers to the military zone in Belgium where I have always felt some doubt whether your control is sufficient to secure the safe disposal of your imports.

As you may shortly be going to Belgium there are one or two other points of a similar nature which I should like you to inquire into.

In the first place, I have statistics of shipments from Belgium to Germany via Holland for the two months November 28th to January 27th. These shipments contain the following items:

On one boat 150 tons of rice and 150 tons of coffee.

-206-

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