FINANCING THE COMMISSION
During the third year, we had two separate finance problems. The first arose prior to the entry of the United States into the war, the second afterward. Our $150,000,000 loan had fallen through, and the British and French had suspended our subsidies on February 1 with the outbreak of the submarine war. We expended the funds we had earned from the sale of our marooned food in England and borrowed about £1,370,000 from the Banque Belge in London. The Banque demanded that we procure guarantees from the British to cover those sums. The Banque also required that the C.R.B. should endorse the obligation, and thus we volunteers were all personally liable for its repayment. We did not take this last demand too seriously. I directed our London office to allow this overdraft to "lie quiescent." Ultimately, it was met by the French and British Governments.
As I have mentioned, early in this third year President Wilson had given me some encouragement that we might get some help from the Congress. I informed our influential C.R.B. Committee in New York of this hope in order that they might help if an appropriate time came. In late March, before the United States had declared war, they addressed this letter to the President:
29 March 1917
Your Committee, appointed to co-operate with the Commission for Relief in Belgium, have the honor to submit for your consideration the following suggestions: