It takes time to determine American foreign policy, but no time is needed to decide what the United States should do about the millions of starving civilians abroad. Since aid to these helpless people, if furnished as proposed by the Committee on Food for Small Democracies does not involve any statement of national policy, and since such aid must be prompt to be effective in tiding them over the remaining winter months, time spent debating the question is time wasted.
People who feel that food for European civilians is food for Hitler do not realize that according to the proposed plan, a Neutral Commission will personally distribute the food to the needy. If it is discovered that Germany is appropriating any of the food, all such aid will immediately cease. The chances are, however, that the German government will allow the food to reach the needy civilians, realizing that balanced diets help stave off disease. Germany will be unable to provide the food herself, not knowing how long the war will last and hence how carefully, she must budget her food resources. She should, therefore, welcome the opportunity to have something done for her, and will hardly look a gift horse in the Mund. Furthermore, the amount of food that would be kept on hand by the Committee would never be more than would support Germany for over three days, so that Germany would not be able to allow a surplus, to build up and profit by a seizure.
Opponents of the European food plan claim that starving people will create discord and internal disruption. It is doubtful how much starving millions could do against a giant war machine that mows down well-fed and comparatively well-equipped armies. By withholding food from conquered democracies, these people claim that we force Germany to feed her own population and to feed her subject peoples as well to prevent the outbreak of disease. Germany would then have to burn her candle at both ends and might be forced into a difficult position. With no qualms about cruelty, however, Germany would never allow such a condition to affect her effort to any large extent.
By sending food to Europeans we help them maintain their courage and sustain their allegiance to democratic ideals. The food would be paid for by the Europeans and sent over in ships, owned, manned, and flagged by the neutral organization, and so the United States is taking no risks. A careful evaluation of the proposition leads to the conclusion that the plan must be supported.