Article

LT

9 januari 1915: Sengier genoemd in verband met Commission Relief Belgium

ID: 191501091482

DOCUMENT NO. 124

Letter,

VAN DE VYVERE TO HOOVER, confirming an advance by the Belgian Government to the C.R.B. for relief purposes

FOLKESTONE, 9 January 1915

Mr. Hoover

Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, London

DEAR MR. HOOVER:

Following the conversation that I had the pleasure of having with you yesterday evening it is understood that toward the end of each month you will have sent to me the list of the engagements which the C.R.B. estimate they will have to make for the following month and that as soon as the agreement is established of the figure of the engagements, I will have opened for you a corresponding credit in English or American gold. By this means you will always be covered and you will no longer have to take any personal engagement.

This examination of the situation for the month of January has been made by M. Carton de Wiart and myself as a check on M. Sengier, and it is understood that I will put for this period a sum of £1,000,000 at your disposition, on my return to Havre.

The second question about which you spoke to me concerns the case of losses incurred, notably in the case where, on account of a drop in the prices of products in Belgium, the Comité National might not be in a position to realize at their cost-prices importations, made by means of the advances of the Belgian State. It is formally understood that the Commission for Relief in Belgium as well as the Comité National are only, for the sums which the State advances to them, attorneys of the State, and have therefore no responsibilities beyond the execution of their commission.

Consequently a loss of this nature like all similar losses, will be supported by the Belgian State.

I have this morning sent copy of this letter to Mr. Francqui, President of the Executive Committee.

I take advantage of this opportunity to tell you again in the name of the Belgian Government how much we appreciate your efforts, as efficacious as disinterested, to assist the unhappy population of Belgium, and how much we are grateful to you.

Yours very sincerely

(Signed) A. VAN DE VYVERE

Financial Minister to the King of the Belgians

[Translation]

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This appropriation of £1,000,000 was the second advance of this amount which had resulted from Hoover's negotiations with the Belgian Government begun in November. The first million had been turned over in the middle of December. This Government was a refugee at Havre, beyond the frontiers of its country, cut off from its normal sources of income, and dependent on loans from the British and French Treasuries for its future expenditures. It had obligations, however, within Belgium in the form of pensions and salaries of Belgian State employees which it greatly desired to meet. The German Governor-General in Belgium had agreed that these payments should be made through the medium of the Commission. The Belgian Government, from balances brought out upon the retreat, or from charitable funds coming to it directly, or possibly from Allied loans, thereupon made initial payments to the Commission. The relief organization in turn undertook to liquidate Belgian Government obligations in Belgium to like sums from the money received from the sale of its imported provisions. The exiled Belgian Government was in no position to guarantee the continuation of these advances from its own resources. Hoover, therefore, continued vigorously to press the British Government---which was the banker of the Allies---to formally authorize exchange operations and to furnish an adequate and regular subsidy in order that the Commission could maintain the necessary program of importations.

http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/comment/CRB/CRB1-4a.htm (20030615)

Land: BEL