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Incur such expenses as may be necessary for such purpose, to disburse all sums appropriated under the aforesaid act of Feb. 24, 1919, and appoint a disbursing officer with that power, and particularly to employ the Food Administration Grain Corporation, organized under the provisions of the Food Control act of Aug. 10, 1917, as an agency for the purpose of transportation and distribution of breadstuffs and supplies in the populations requiring relief.
He is hereby further authorized In the carrying out of the aforesaid act of Feb. 24, 1919, to contract with the Food Administration Grain Corporation, or any other person or corporation, that such person or corporation shall carry stocks of food in transit to Europe, and at points in Europe, in such quantities as may be agreed upon and as are required to meet relief needs, and that there shall be paid to such person or corporation in advance from the appropriation made In the aforesaid act of Feb. 24, 1919, any sums which may be required for the purchase and transportation of foodstuffs and the maintenance of stocks.
BELGIUM AND NORTH FRANCE Charges that food relief to Belgium had been inefficiently administered were denied on March 4 by Emil Franqui, a member of the Belgian Cabinet and at one time Chairman of the Belgian National Relief Committee, in a message sent to Senator Calder, who had moved an investigation of reports that some American food had been sent to Belgium and Northern France which had poisoned those whom it had been destined to relieve. Seven million Belgians and 2,500,000 inhabitants of Northern France were alive, said M. Franqui; none had starved, and none had been poisoned. The work of the Commission of Relief in Belgium, declared M. Franqui, was the noblest thing that had come out of the war.
For four and a half years the labors of this commission were carried on in Rotterdam. In a statement made on March 8 by Walter Brown of Los Angeles, who has been head of the Rotterdam office since the beginning of the war, the relief work for Belgium and Northern France was gradually being transferred to the port of Antwerp, while in Rotterdam the feeding of Northern Europe was being carried on. Most of the food up to date had arrived in United States Army and Navy transports manned
mainly by naval crews; the majority of these were sixty to ninety day boats, built in the United States. Something over 5,000,000 tons of foodstuffs had passed through the Rotterdam office during the four and a half years of its operation. Belgian supplies were now being sent straight to Antwerp by steamer.
The Ministry of Industry, Labor, and Food of Belgium, under M. Joseph Wauters, co-operates actively with the American Commission for Relief. M. Wauters, in an interview given toward the end of February, estimated the number of destitute people in Belgium at that time at 2,300,000. The mortality was three times as great as before the war. The cost of living had leaped tremendously. The transportation of food was slow. There were 8,000,000 consumers in the country, of whom 220,000 were soldiers. Of the $22,000,000 asked from the United States by Belgium, it was proposed to use $10,000,000 for clothing and feeding the army, and $12,000,000 for ievlctualing the population. Ten million tons of clothing were then en route from America to Belgium. The American Army had agreed to turn over all surplus stocks of food in Northern France to Belgium.
Supplies and foodstuffs for Finland were also being sent from Rotterdam. Supplies for Finland were shipped in Finnish boats chartered by the Finns themselves.
Three American steamers with cargoes of grain for Switzerland arrived at Genoa on March 3; at that time another steamer had reached Naples. These were the first shipments to Switzerland to arrive in Italian harbors in two years.
Congested conditions on the Adriatic coast resulted in officers of high rank being sent to examine the situation there. The local authorities explained the failure to unload food ships for weeks by lack of labor; if this proved true, curative measures were to be taken forthwith, as much of the friction between the Italians and the Jugoslavs was said to be caused by food conditions; this was corrected late in March and food was freely forwarded.
Fourteen carloads of flour, more than 180 tons, reached Prague, "Bohemia, on Feb. 20. This was the first shipment of food to reach Czechoslovakia from the Allies. At Trieste 10,000 tons were said to be awaiting cars. Czechoslovak troops escorted the train; at Budweis a band greeted the Americans. The Czechoslovaks claimed that Prague was worse off than Berlin and Vienna; in Prague at this time there were three meatless days a week, and the meat shops were closed on all except two days.
Foodstuffs began to arrive in Czechoslovakia on Feb. 20, and between that date and March 11 2,770 tons of flour and 500 tons of fats had arrived in Bohemia. All the foodstuffs were delivered by the Czechoslovak Government equally, giving the German towns the
same proportion as the Czechoslovaks received. Particular attention was paid to the mining populations, the peoples of which had greatly decreased owing to lack of nutrition.
John F. Smulski, Commissioner for the Polish Government, on March 2 authorized the statement that 152,100 metric tons of food would be required for feeding the population of Warsaw, Poland, alone until the new crops come.
Mr. Smulski, who arrived in Washington to plan further rationing of the Polish people, said that this figure was based on the lowest possible amount which would sustain life.
The United States food relief ship Westward Ho arrived at Danzig on March 6. The Westward Ho was the first vessel to pass through the Kiel Canal since the outbreak of the war. No German ship was sighted throughout the fifty-four-mile trip.
THE BALKAN STATES
The Council of Ten broke down the Italian opposition to the feeding of Czechoslovakia and Jugoslavia (as well as of Austria and Hungary) on March 7, and the entire revictualing problem was placed in the hands of Herbert Hoover. It was said that besides 2,500,000 tons of food that Germany would need until the next harvest, the southern countries would need 3,000 tons of food daily. Mr. Hoover had accumulated 80,000 tons of food at Fiume and 'Trieste since the Serbian-Italian frontier was closed at Laibach, but it was to be immediately reopened and trains had been started already.
Mr. Hoover asserted the belief that he could begin feeding a substantial part of the starving peoples immediately and greatly relieve famine conditions within a short time. The committee had not yet worked out a scheme for payment, but all countries receiving food, including the enemy powers, were willing and anxious to pay any price to obtain food.
The seriousness of the food problems to be solved in all these countries was pointed out by George H. Roberts on the day that Italy withdrew her opposition. Only the speediest action, he declared, could avert a catastrophe. The situation, he maintained, was "appallingly serious," not only in Austria and Germany, but in Rumania and Serbia, which were starving.
The Balkan Commission sent to help the starving and diseased populations is trying to set up an organization in the Balkans which by degrees may be carried on by the natives of the given countries when they have reached the selfhelping stage. The members of the commission are thus divided: Greece, Professor E. A. Eapps; Rumania, Lieut. Col. H. Gideon; Serbia, Lieut. Col. Thomas P. Farnham; Albania, Major Robert C. Denison; Montenegro, Major E. G. Dexter.
"We are doing our best to help the Balkan people, not only by giving them food, clothing, and medicines, but by moral support, making them feel that there is another nation willing to stand by them and see them set on their feet
again," said Colonel Henry W. Anderson, who heads the Balkan Commission, to an American press correspondent in Rome on Feb. 20. "All the Balkan peoples just now are in a state of moral exhaustion and demoralization brought about by the terrible privations they have had to undergo through war and revolution."
Food conditions in Serbia, said Mr. Anderson, were not so bad as had been described. Central and Northern Albania were badly off. Greek conditions were not bad, except near the Bulgarian border. The country worst off was Rumania, which was in a pitiable condition; the Germans had taken away everything, both food and clothing; there were, he said, 50,000 orphans there.
Serbia, from Belgrade on the north to Monastir on the south, was described as both an economic and physical ruin by Dr. Louis I. Dublin, a statistician of New York, recently returned from Italy, Greece, Serbia, and Jugoslavia.
Of a population of 3,500,000 remaining from 5,000,000 Dr. Dublin stated that fully 75 per cent, were subnormal, owing to starvation and disease.
The commission sent by the American peace delegation to inquire into conditions in Montenegro passed through Rome toward Paris on March 5. It reported the situation in Montenegro as desperate, and it was said that the population was actually dying from starvation. As an instance of the suffering there, it was said that of a family of eight children five had died from lack of food and the other three had been reduced to skeletons. These were seen scratching the earth to find roots or gathering nettles for food. The American Red Cross was busily engaged in trying to save the people from starvation.
THE NEAR EAST The American Committee for Relief in the Near East has announced that word of the safe arrival at Constantinople of the fifth expedition of relief workers had been received. The fifth expedition, 252 persons, left New York on Feb. 17 on the Leviathan, and transshipped at Brest, where Arthur Curtiss James, who is in Paris, completed arrangements for the party. The cable, signed by George E. White, a member of this expedition, read:
Relief expedition to Near East reached Saloniki March 4 full of health and good cheer. Proceeded by same steamer to Constantinople March 8, arriving Sunday morning. Mr. James's arrangements perfect. British assistance magnificent. Inform all friends.
The eighth expedition, which sailed recently on the Mauretania, consisted of a commissioi of Sunday school workers who will supervise and assist in the work of distributing supplies, and will also make recommendation concerning the best way of housing and caring for the 400,000 orphan victims of the war. The Sunday schools of the country, it was announced yesterday, have already contributed more than $2,000,000 for Near East relief.
The nation-wide campaign for $30,000,000 to aid the Armenians and Syrians was begun in New York recently by the Armenian Committee for Relief in the Near East.
In explanation of how the money is to be spent, the commtitee made the following statement:
There are nearly 4.000,000 souls to be fed, clothed, and started on a new life. Of these 2,000,000 are destitute and must be fed as soon as the funds are provided. It will cost exactly $5 a month for six months to feed each of the destitutes. This makes a total of $4,500,000 for six months for food supplies. Four dollars for each person will be needed for clothing and bedding, making another Item of $8,000,000.
One million seven hundred and seventy thousand persons are at an average of 400 miles from home and must be taken back at a cost of $3 for each person, thus requiring $5,310,000 for this purpose. For these repatriated persons 50.000 temporary houses will be needed to replace the ones destroyed by the Turks. These will cost $50 each, making a total of $2,500,000.
It will also cost $4,000,000 to provide orphanages for 400,000 orphans. Finally. to make these people self-supporting as soon as possible, another $2,500,000 must be spent for seeds, farm implements, &c. This makes a total of $30,810 000 of which New York's quota Is $6,000,000.
When the British armies advanced their lines into enemy territory in Syria, Mesopotamia, and other countries in the Near East, so many thousands of refugees who had been despoiled by the Germans and Turks came under British care that the facilities of the private charitable agencies were unable to relieve all the suffering. It was necessary for the British supply service to aid. A partial story of its relief work was later revealed in the request for more funds for the stricken populations and in the announcement that all the work of the British Army and the British charitable associations would be continued in co-operation with J —erican relief organizations.
In Mesopotamia, General Marshall had made himself responsible for the feeding and welfare of about 45,000 Armenians and Jews from the headquarters at Bajubah. All the money had been provided by British Army funds. Included in the sum spent there was a grant of 220,000 rupees ($75,000) for blankets and necessities for women and children, who were starving when they came within the British lines. A similar number was cared for by the British armies in Palestine and Syria with money taken from the army funds and with gifts from individuals.
General Sir Edmund Allenby estimated that $125,000 a month would be needed for relief work south of Aleppo. General Thomson undertook the work in Baku, where he began the repatriation of refugees under great difficulties.
Charitable associations in this country and Europe have pointed out in their pleas for funds to carry on the work in the Near East that the problem of caring for these stricken populations was thrust upon the allied countries when the races were relieved of Turkish oppression and brought within the British lines. When the refugees in thousands came under the British flag the problem of Armenian relief was created.
The greater number of refugees thrown upon the care of the British Army were in Mesopotamia and Syria. In Mesopotamia the majority were AsSyrian fugitives, and those in Syria were Armenians who had been treated brutally by the Turks. Others, less welcome, were the Russian Armenians and the Assyrians of Urumia.
FEEDING GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
A disagreement arose at Spa on March 6 between the allied commissions and Germans over the shipment of food to Germany provided 300,000 tons of German shipping were placed at the disposal of the Allies, and the conference was broken up. According to the German version of this rupture, given in a wireless message received in London on March 7, the Allies demanded that all the remaining German merchant ships should be handed over unconditionally, without being willing to undertake the obligation of supplying Germany with foodstuffs. The German delegates, it was added, received instructions from their
Government that the question of shipping, finance, and food supply must be dealt with only as a whole. The German message continued:
The question of handing over the mercantile fleet can only arise if adequate food supplies, say 2,500,000 tons of foodstuffs, are assured Germany until the new harvest. The Entente could not agree to this.
As the instructions of both sides did not go beyond this, a French delegate proposed that negotiations be broken off, whereupon the two special delegations left Spa.
The negotiations were reopened at Brussels and a full accord reached, details of which are given in the armistice proceedings on Page 23 of this issue of Current History. It was estimated that Germany's total food requirements abroad during the year would reach 1,000,000 tons of meat and 1,000,000 tons of fats, costing at least $600,000,000, with the mark figured at 11 % cents.
Boundary Disputes in Europe
Maze of Difficult and Delicate Problems Confronting the Peace Conference
THE attempt to apply the principles of nationality and self-determination to the solution of boundary problems in the new Europe has brought the Peace Conference face to face with many puzzling tasks of delimitation. Disputes over boundaries, especially in the case of several newly created nations, sprang up immediately after the signing of the armistice, and continued to grow more multifarious and bitter during the first months of the Peace Conference. In a number of cases they have led to armed conflict. The whole question, bewilderingly entangled with racial, historical, and geographical considerations, is one of the most delicate and difficult presented to that body for solution.
Premier Delacroix announced in the Chamber of Deputies at Brussels on
March 12 that the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference had decided that the treaty of April 19, 1839, between Belgium and Holland must be revised. The announcement was received with enthusiasm. Such a revision meant a rectification of the Belgian-Dutch frontier. In 1914 Belgium was the victim of the treaty of 1839. The Belgian Minister of the Interior, Baron de Borchgrave, pointed out to a correspondent how important it was that Belgium be made immune to further invasions. The Supreme Council recognized the validity of Belgium's claims. The old treaty had been ratified by France, Great Britain, Austria, and Prussia, the powers recognizing the independence of Belgium as "a neutral State." It was this convention which on Aug. 1, 1914, was called "a scrap of paper" by Germany when she massed her troops for the invasion of Belgium. The Peace Conference has