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National Committee on Food for the Small Democracies records
XX404  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Alternative Form Available
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: National Committee on Food for the Small Democracies records
    Date (inclusive): 1939-1946
    Collection Number: XX404
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 168 manuscript boxes, 1 card file box, 6 envelopes (71.2 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, memoranda, reports, statements, pamphlets, serial issues, and photographs relating to attempts to organize and secure international agreement for a civilian relief program for Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Poland during World War II.
    Creator: Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
    Creator: National Committee on Food for the Small Democracies
    Creator: Kershner, Howard Eldred, 1891-1990
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives

    Access

    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], National Committee on Food for the Small Democracies records, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Alternative Form Available

    Also available on microfilm (121 reels).

    Historical Note

    The presidential election over, we determined that the only way relief could be brought to the women, children, and destitute in the small democracies was to awaken public opinion in the neutral countries to the inconsequential dangers from our proposals. Both the British and Germans were sensitive to neutral opinions. They needed actual support from the neutrals, or at least the continued neutrality of these nations.
    On November 18, 1940, we launched an organization called "The National Committee on Food for the Small Democracies." In Addition to myself as Honorary Chairman the original membership comprised those who had taken part in the famine relief of forty five countries after World War I. However, we were soon joined by one thousand leading Americans. The purpose of the committee was: to raise a voice on behalf of Finland, Norway, Holland, Belgium and Central Poland so that agreements may be made by the German and British Governments with a neutral organization--
    • (a) by which their domestic food supplies can be protected from the occupying armies;
    • (b) by which supplemental supplies can be imported through the German and British blockades and protected;
    • (c) to secure the efficient operation of such a neutral organization.
    To the end that the lives of millions of children, women and men can be saved from the inevitable famine and pestilence which confront them, and that renewed hope may be given to them in the ideals of mankind.
    I was asking for no gifts, no government appropriations, no use of American ships.
    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, brought the United States into the war. Our relief organization had been repudiated by the exiled governments. Now at war, we could not act without the approval of our own government. Our National Committe on Food for the Small Democracies decided to suspend activities, but to resume if opportunity came. We sent word to the exiled governments that, now free from any embarrassment from us, they should secure permission directly to relieve their people at home.
    But they got no relief.
    It was not until three and one-half years later, when Mr. Truman became President in April, 1945, that American Government policies changed and became compassionate about relief of famine. From Herbert Hoover, An American Epic, Vol. IV)

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Correspondence, memoranda, reports, statements, pamphlets, serial issues, and photographs relating to attempts to organize and secure international agreement for a civilian relief program for Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Poland during World War II.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    World War, 1939-1945 -- Netherlands
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Poland
    World War, 1939-1945 -- United States
    International relief
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Belgium
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Food supply
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Finland
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Norway