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1915_08_28--016_SP [No Dividends]

16 THE SATURDAY EVENING POST August 28,1915 8 8 WO ka f4ir h S LL I ON THE twentieth floor of a New York skyscraper, in a big room overlooking the Hudson River, a man sat at a huge, flat-topped desk on the first Monday of last April, pen in hand, bef ore a pile of documents that was continually being added to by messengers entering a doorway through which was visible an army of clerks behind rows on rows of other desks. A great map of the United States and the Atlantic Ocean, with the European seaboard outlined on the east, occupied one wall. Right across the ocean, on the map, stood two lines of pins with colored heads, which marked a course to Falmouth and thence across the English Channel to Rotterdam. At Falmouth were two blue pins; at Rotterdam a group of white pins. At various American ports on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico were black pins. There were between forty and fifty pins in all, and each one represented a ship. A black pin was a ship loading; when she sailed eastward she became a blue pin, which was moved daily to mark her progress. She was still a blue pin when she stopped at Falmouth for a pilot. She became a white pin when she unloaded her cargo at Rotterdam, to become a red pin when she started west in ballast. Over the forty odd states a hundred taller black pins marked a hundred collecting stations in a hundred cities and towns; and on painted squares and oblongs, red, blue and mauve, were recorded the freight rates of many railroads. Another wall was covered by a blackboard, on which was inscribed in chalk a list of ships, with their tonnage, their ports, and the dates of their arrival and departure. This room was the private office of the traffic department of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, and the man at the desk was the department's head. With rapidity and precision he disposed of the papers before him. Some he merely annotated and threw into wire receptacles on the desk bearing such labels as Marine, Routing, Insurance, Warehousing, Classification, whence they were gathered every few moments by hurrying clerks, who fled with them to various subheads of the department. Others of these documents necessitated his ordering long-distance telephone calls, or caused him to study the names of the ships on the blackboard or the location of the pins on the big map. Occasionally his touch of a desk button brought in an alert youth who, when handed a slip of paper, changed a white pin for a red one or a black for a blue. There entered a man holding in his hand a cablegram. "Good morning, Mr. Davis," he said to the traffic chief. "How's business to-day?" " We're breaking all shipping records, Mr. Bates," replied the other. " We unloaded 46,000 tons of f oodstuffssustenance for all Belgium for fifteen or twenty days—at Rotterdam last week, out of six ships. That's going some !" "You may prepare to go some more," remarked the man with the cablegram. "Here's a message from Hoover, from London, to say that he's just chartered eighteen steamers more, with a total tonnage of 107,800 tons. Have we that amount of cargo ready?" . Foodstuffs in Staggering Quantities "T'LL tell you in a moment," responded the traffic expert, I rapidly adding up a column of figures on a typewritten sheet he detached from a file on his desk. "We've got just 99,274 tons of cargo on the seaboard," he said a moment later. "That means that we're a little more than a shipload short of 107,000 tons. And our 99,000 tons are distributed all along the Atlantic Coast, from Halifax down into the Gulf. We have 22,000 tons—leaving out fractions of thousands— here in New York; 6500 tons at Boston; 6700 tons at Philadelphia; 16,000 tons at Baltimore; 5900 tons at Newport News; 6400 tons at Halifax; 13,000 tons at Montreal; 13,000 tons at Galveston; and 1400 tons at New Orleans. Brcenniman is still buying all the foodstuffs in sight. There'll be cargo for more than eighteen ships by the time they reach their ports." April marked the high tide of the commission's business. It loaded nine ships for Rotterdam during the last week of that month, which permitted the accumulation of sufficient food in Belgium to maintain the supply that has been supplemented by the shipment of 6500 tons from the United States every forty-eight hours since. It should ,....... destitute non- to the State Comgiven One of These Placards Was Huns in Every Post Office and Express Office in the Country interest those who profess to believe that the principal American characteristic is greed for dollars to know that the greatest private enterprise ever undertaken in the United States is a philanthropic one, albeit it is based on the theory that the way to help the necessitous is to help them to help themselves. The Commission for Relief in Belgium, with headquarters occupying two floors' space in the big Empire Building, at 71 Broadway, and having more than a hundred branches throughout the States, is providing two meals a day for 9,500,000 men, women and children, 3000 miles away, at a cost of $10,000,000 a month, and has given its pledge to continue to supply those two meals a day until the end of the war. By the middle of August the commission had provided foodstuffs and clothing to the value of about $66,- 000,000 to the Belgian people. Already, since it opened its New York offices last November, more than 460,000 tons of supplies have been delivered. Packed in railroad cars, these 460,000 tons would fill a series of freight trains from end to end, thirty cars to a train and ten tons to a car, reaching north from New York City to Albany and west from Albany to Buffalo. The greatest amount of freight ever shipped out of the port of New York by all the transatlantic steamship lines combined in one year was approximately 1,000,000 tons. The Commission for Relief in Belgium has shipped from sixteen ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf nearly half that amount in six months. As against two or at most three ships a week, sent out from American ports by any one of the great transatlantic lines at the time ocean traffic was at its height, the commission—as has been mentioned—has cleared as many as nine ships a week; its regular schedule is a ship every other day. Up to July first, the total purchases of the commission through its New York office reached approximately 9,000,- 000 bushels of wheat; more than 1,000,000 barrels of flour; 22,500,000 pounds of hog products; 3,500,000 pounds of beef; 600,000 bushels of beans; 80,000 cases of condensed milk; 4,000,000 pounds of rice, and 3,500,- 000 pounds of pearl barley, aside from drugs and medicines in ton lots, and many other commodities; a total value of some $40,000,000. During the winter and spring the commission's monthly food shipments to the distressed nation were 60,000 tons of wheat, or its equivalent in flour; 1,000 tons of rice; 5,000 tons of beans and peas; 20,000 cases of condensed milk, besides various other foodstuffs in smaller quantities. By the middle of April, the Belgians having by that time killed off all their cattle and hogs, because there was nothing left in the country to feed them on, there was added to these shipments a standing order for packing-house products comprising 1,200,000 pounds clear bellies, 1,200,000 pounds of fatbacks, 1,200,000 pounds of lard, and 1,200,000 pounds of barreled beef. Not only is the Commission for Relief in Belgium the greatest private enterprise ever undertaken in this country, but, with new problems arising in its earlier existence every hour and no precedents to go by, it developed—due primarily to the genius of Lindon W. Bates, eminent among the civil engineers of the world—into one of the most efficient business machines of the world in a period of time so brief as almost to stagger belief. To build up an effective national organization, political, social or commercial, has hitherto been a matter of years. Mr. Bates was directing the daily work of subcommittees of the commission in thirty-seven of the forty-eight states two weeks after he received Herbert C. Hoover's cable message from London that, unless America came to the rescue, the entire population of Belgium must perish from famine. The commission has offices in Rotterdam and the principal cities of Belgium, as well as in London and New York, and throughout the United States. Teamwork by Messrs. Bates and Hoover IT IS in New York, however, that the greater I bulk of the work is done; and, though a majority of the members of the commission are active in its interests—giving their services without pecuniary compensation, of course—its enormous executive burden is borne almost entirely by Mr. Bates and Mr. Hoover. It was Mr. Hoover who, after the preliminary diplomatic exchanges with the belligerent Powers, by which the commission came into existence, directed the diplomatic and other negotiations that make it economically possible to keep the people of Belgium alive until the war shall cease—a victory of peace in time of war that shall be renowned as long as history is written. On Mr. Hoover, also, rests the responsibility of chartering the great fleet of ships that is carrying the food on which Belgium exists. The weekly balance sheet—a unique feature of philanthropic organization—of the Commission for Relief in Belgium shows that its operating costs are less than two per cent of its turnover, and even these operating costs are provided out of a special fund, so that one hundred cents out of every dollar in money or food value donated to the Belgian cause goes to the actual relief of hunger. All supplies, according to agreement with the nations at war, must not only be transported to Belgium under the protection of the commission, but also distributed under its auspices. The supplies are loaded into barges at Rotterdam and sent through the canals into the different provinces of Belgium, where they are placed in warehouses under the control of the commission, to be issued daily to local relief committees. The Commission for Relief in Belgium is feeding 9,500,000 people, but they are not all in Belgium. Early in the year it was ascertained that 2,500,000 French people south of the Belgian frontier, within the German lines of occupation, were in dire need of food; and in April the commission extended its good offices to them, under the same guarantees by England and Germany as in the case of Belgium, the necessary funds being supplied by French banks and institutions. Nor is the commission giving free food to the 7,000,000 Belgians. As a matter of fact there are at present less than 2,000,000 entirely destitute in this great bread line, though the number is increasing daily. More than 5,000,000 of the people still have some resources, and for social as well as pecuniary reasons it would be Caw F FOOD FOR 3E ,i, IUM , ......._ ,,,, ,..... ......‘ O.."' ( 4 Tbd Ni "4‘. ,, 01916 ThIF COMMISSION FOR RELIEF IN BELGIUM, N. Y. FROM THIS BANK TO BELGIUM You can now make a cash contribution for the combatants at this bank. We will send your donation —no matter how small — mittee of the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Money be disbursed for food in this State as far as is practicable. Officers of the Committee in this State will send you a special the amount you contribute, if desired. here will The Executive receipt for


1915_08_28--016_SP [No Dividends]
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