File No. 855.48/628

The Netherland Legation to the Department of State

No. 4197


August 10, 1917, the Netherland Minister opened negotiations about the Dutch grain ships lying in different American ports with the Acting Secretary of State.

The Acting Secretary of State suggested to the Netherland Minister that he should take up this matter with Mr. Herbert Hoover.

The same day the Netherland Minister had a conference with Mr. Hoover. As a result of that conference Mr. Hoover wrote the same evening the following letter to the Netherland Minister:

With regard to our conversation upon the assignment to the Commission for Relief in Belgium, of certain cargoes lying in American ports, I have now had an opportunity of consulting the Exports Council and they are disposed to recommend— [Page 1130]

That all of the wheat cargoes and 40,000 tons of the corn cargoes be delivered to the Belgium Relief at Rotterdam;
In that case exports permits to be issued for Holland for 13,500 tons of barley and the balance of the loaded corn up to 37,000 tons;
The cargoes to be inspected in American ports and those accepted by the Relief to be assigned to them;
The Commission for Relief in Belgium to pay the cost and original charter money and insurance, for the cargoes assigned to them, without demurrage.

As a preliminary carrying out of this agreement of August 10, on August 25 an understanding was reached as formulated in following letter from Mr. Rickard to the Netherland Minister:

In carrying out our agreement of August 10 we propose as a preliminary division of your grain cargo ships the following arrangement:

The Commission for Relief in Belgium

Ameland Corn 205,944 bushels
Arundo 194,226
Gorredyk 200,000
Oosterdyk 240,000
Winterswyk 178,032
Ryndam Wheat 261,500
Total 1,279,702

The Netherland Government

Beukelsdyk Corn 320,000
Cornelis 134,473
Dubhe 195,300
Maartensdyk 200,000
Ryswyk 82,634
Jason Barley 216,553
Total 1,148,960

In regard to the fulfillment of the balance of the agreement we will be glad to receive your suggestions.

On account of the deterioration of parts of the cargoes of the ships named in the letter of August 25 this last agreement was slightly changed and formulated in a telegram sent on August 30 by Herbert Hoover’s office to Prentiss Gray,1 New York City, and worded:

Schilperoort is consulting Dutch Minister on proposal made to him whereby we abandon present agreement and enter into new arrangement [Page 1131] whereby all corn steamers are to sail at once whether assigned to the commission or Dutch Government. We agree to divide good corn on outrun at Rotterdam on basis of 40 to commission and 37 to Dutch. The Dutch Government take over all rejected corn on their own account and pay portion of freight insurance and charges on transportation to Rotterdam. Have reason to believe this will be acceptable as have impressed upon Schilperoort saving to him on steamer demurrage. Hoover agrees that under circumstances we had better accept this new agreement. Edgar Rickard.

As proof of this arrangement the Netherland Minister wrote to the United States Food Administration on August 30 the following letter with enclosure:

In view of your issuing all the necessary export licenses and your guaranteeing the granting by the co-belligerents of the United States of free passage for the steamers, I hereby confirm the sale of various parcels of grain to the Commission for Relief in Belgium as per steamers and conditions stated in the letter of the 30th instant from the purchasing agent for the Netherland Government, Mr. G. Schilperoort of 8–10 Bridge Street, New York City, to the Commission for Relief in Belgium in New York.

It should be distinctly understood that in this agreement is included the steamer Jason with a cargo of approximately 216,553 bushels of barley belonging to and destined for the Netherland Government in compensation of the sale of the parcel of wheat per S.S. Ryndam to the Commission for Relief in Belgium.

The enclosure read:

Commission for Relief in Belgium,
New York City.

Referring to the arrangement made in Washington between the Netherland Legation and the Commission for Belgian Relief I hereby confirm having sold to you for account of the Netherland Government the following quantities of wheat:

S.S. Ryndam, wheat 261,500 bushels

Price. Original purchase prices of the Netherland Government free on board Atlantic port plus actual freight to Rotterdam, Holland, plus the cost of marine and war risk insurance.

Quantity as per ship’s receipt final in those cases where cargo has not been rehandled; if cargo has to be rehandled reloaded quantity final.

Quality final as per U.S.A. inspection certificate.

Condition to be approved by you at loading port, which inspection is to be final.

Insurance (inclusive war risk) from loading port to Rotterdam to be effected by the Netherland Government.

Payment Cash in Holland on arrival of the goods at Rotterdam against bill of lading.

[Page 1132]

Furthermore with regard to the following quantities of corn the following agreement has been arrived at:

Ryndam 2,100 tons or however much the steamer may load
Ameland 205,944 bushels approximately
Arundo 194,226
Gorredyk 200,000
Oosterdyk 240,000 plus about 3,500 tons
Winterswyk 178,032
Beukelsdyk 320,000 plus about 900
Cornells 134,473
Dubhe 195,300
Maartensdvk 200,000 plus about 2,100
Ryswyk 82,634 plus about 2,100

Should any portion of the corn not arrive in sound condition this shall be alloted to the Netherland Government and the balance of the cargo shall be divided on the basis of 37 to the Netherland Government against 40 to the Commission for Relief in Belgium.

Price for the portion of the sound corn alloted to the Commission for Relief in Belgium shall be the original purchase prices of the Netherland Government f.o.b. Atlantic port plus actual freight to Rotterdam plus the cost of marine and war risk insurance at the premium as paid by the Netherland Government or as prevailing at the time of sailing in case the Netherland Government has preferred to run the risk herself.

Quantity as actually allotted to the Commission for Relief in Belgium under the above agreement.

Payment. Cash in Holland against tender of the goods.

Signed, The Purchasing Agent for the Netherland Government, G. Schilperoort.

Notwithstanding the fact that in the original arrangement of August 10 Mr. Herbert Hoover wrote to the Netherland Minister:

I have now had an opportunity of consulting the Exports Council and they are disposed to recommend.

Mr. G. Schilperoort, Purchasing Agent for the Netherland Government who had negotiated in the name of the Dutch Minister with Mr. Edgar Rickard, representing Mr. Hoover, received on August 31 the following letter:

Your letter of August 30 concerning the allocation of Dutch cargoes to the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the Netherland Government has been submitted to the Exports Administrative Board in order that they may determine whether we can proceed in following out the tentative agreement which we have entered into. Signed, The Commission for Relief in Belgium, Edgar Rickard.

In this letter the agreement entered into on August 30 is for the first time named “tentative” and next day the Netherland Minister was informed that the Exports Administrative Board had refused the licenses.

  1. Director, Commission for Relief in Belgium; Chief of Marine Transportation Division, U. S. Food Administration.