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18 THE SATURDAY EVENING POST August 28, 1915 America's response to the commission's appeal, on behalf of the gallant little state that was the chief sufferer in a war not of her own making, was of a nature to amaze the most optimistic of the little band of altruists which had come between Belgium and starvation. As has been men- tioned, the Rockefeller Foundation and John Wanamaker had begun to send supplies before the New York office of the commission was established. These reached Belgium just as the people were again in dire straits for food, it having been necessary for the commission to borrow 10,000 tons of wheat from the Dutch Government to tide them over until provisions should begin to arrive from the United States. The Rockefeller Foundation also sent three relief ships in December, with a total of 18,000 tons of supplies. At the time Mr. Bates began active work, William C. Edgar, editor of the Northwestern Miller, of Minneapolis, was in the midst of a relief campaign of his own in Minnesota and adjacent states; but, on the establishment of the New York office of the commission, he came under its aegis, as did the Rockefeller Foundation. By the first of December America's great charity boom was in full swing, the appeal reaching every class of the population—from multimillionaires, who gave in the hundreds of thousands, through the ranks of the wealthy and the well-to-do and those of modest means and the very poor, to the ex-convict who donated to the starving Belgians ten cents he had previously allocated for repairs to keep the snow out of his shoes—the truth of which incident is duly vouched for. California organized early and on December eighth sent 6500 tons of provisions, bound for Rotterdam through the Panama Canal; Kansas sent 6850 tons from New York on January fifth; the New England States sent 8470 tons from Boston on January seventh and 5350 tons from New York on March ninth; the State of Washington sent 7500 tons by way of the Canal on January twenty-seventh, and on the same day Oregon dispatched 6500 tons from Portland; Louisiana and Alabama joined forces and sent 6750 tons from New Orleans on February second; Georgia and South Carolina combined to send 7000 tons from Charleston on February twenty-eighth; Maine sent 6500 tons from the eastern Portland on March second, which was in addition to her contribution to the 8470 tons sent by the New England States in January; Ohio sent 8500 tons from New York on March twenty-eighth; the State of New York sent 8470 tons from the port of New York on March seventh, and will send 6100 tons more in June. Every one of the United States has contributed directly or indirectly to the cause of the starving Belgians. One of the striking features of the state campaigns was the issuance of a proclamation by the governor of Oklahoma, setting forth conditions in the martyr nation, that was published in every newspaper and read from every pulpit in the state on a Sunday in April. Personality for Capital THE sum total of charity thus far bestowed on Belgium is not limited to the food, clothing and money that appear on the lists of contributions. There are, aside from Mr. Hoover and Mr. Bates, some twenty Americans of prominence in business and the professions who have abandoned their ordinary vocations to conduct the affairs of the commission in New York, London, Rotterdam and Brussels, where only men of high standing and exceptional ability are competent to cope with diplomatic and other difficulties that are continually arising. As the Belgian Handbook has it: "The sole capital of the Commission for Relief in Belgium at the beginning was the personality and the business prestige of its members." Put into figures, the potential earning power of these men for six months or a year would be a stupendous amount. In addition to these official heads, there are more than fifty volunteer workers filling branch offices in America, Holland and Belgium, and over 150 such workers in subordinate positions. Three great shipping firms in London and New York give their services free, including the wages of extra clerks; and a leading firm at Lloyd's acts in ocean insurance matters without compensation. The American railroad and express companies carried thousands of tons of the commission's donations and purchases free or at greatly reduced rates early in the relief campaign, and many of them continue to make special terms. The Dutch Government gives free railroad transportation to 500 tons a day of the commission's food, and the free use of its telegraph system. The benevolent spirit in which all dealings with the commission have been carried out cannot be better illustrated than in the furnishing of its offices in New York. Its sixty-five typewriters, four safes, and much of the rest of its office machinery are loaned to the commission by the makers, and in almost every instance of purchase articles were sold at cost or a considerable reduction in price. Many of the commission's offices in the Empire Building have been given free of rent or at a discount of from thirty to fifty per cent. Magazines and newspapers all over the country have not only given advertising space but have raised special funds for the commission. Some idea of the rapidity with which the business of the commission grew may be gathered from the record of its increasing demand for office room during the first weeks of its existence. Mr. Bates began the work in his own office, with one stenographer. A week afterward the commission comprised an executive, an organization and publicity, a traffic and an accounting departments, and occupied eight rooms on another floor of the building. The following week the traffic department, having split up into half a dozen bureaus, moved into quarters containing 1800 square feet of space; and two weeks later it was found necessary to secure 800 more square feet for its expanding force. The accounting department during the same period grew from one room to offices covering 1000 square feet; and the purchasing and donation departments, which had come into existence in the meantime, increasing in much the same ratio as did the executive and the organization and publicity departments, by the middle of December the commission was occupying more than two floors' space in the Empire Building, as it does now. Before the first telephone ordered by the commission could be put in, it was found necessary to substitute a standard switchboard that might be handled by an office boy. In a week business had increased to such an extent that five trunk wires with fifteen extensions were installed and a telephone operator was employed. Two weeks afterward it became further necessary to put in a two-position switchboard, carrying fifteen trunk wires, four private extensions and fifty extensions, and to employ three operators. For two or three weeks Mr. Bates himself was able to direct the growing staffs of clerks in the various departments that sprang into existence as the business of the "..limericans Must Feed Belgium This Winter," Was Mr. Hoover's Challenge to His Countrymen commission soared upward; then he had to look for department heads. Material for heads of departments was hard to find, however, for big men were needed and big men are never out of jobs. Furthermore, the commission could not offer permanent positions. Mr. Bates came to the conclusion that he must beg or borrow the services of department heads when he could not secure them otherwise. The purchasing department was one of the most important, for the fact that relief in Belgium was a philanthropic movement did not prevent all dealers in supplies from trying to get the best of their bargains. Mr. Bates sought counsel of the man who knows as .nuch about foodstuff values as anyone, in the country, Mr. Edward G. Broenniman, vice president of the New York Produce Exchange. On the advice of Mr. Broenniman, Mr. Bates made a series of big purchases of wheat at satisfactory prices. Before the year began Mr. Bates had played with so much skill on the pro-Belgian sympathies of Mr. Broenniman, who is a heavy operator on the Produce Exchange as well as its vice president, that the latter agreed to give two hours a day after January first to the work of the commission. Since then Mr. Broenniman has purchased for the commission about 15,000,000 bushels of wheat or its equivalent in flour—last year's total crop being 900,000,000 bushels—aside from the great quantities of other foodstuffs that have been enumerated. And, though these enormous purchases are influencing the prices of food staples throughout the world, they have been made with so high a degree of expert intelligence that—due to this circumstance, as well as to the volunteer service in all the commission's departments and to generous reductions in many instances in transportation and buying charges— bread was sold in Belgium last winter, and is being sold now, at a lower price than in London, where food prices are normal. Illustrative of the shrewdness of its purchasing agent, it may be mentioned that in February the commission was offered $140,000 more than it had paid for it, for a cargo of wheat on board ship on the Pacific Coast. Since the first of the year Mr. Broenniman has given nearer ten hours a day than the two he promised to the commission, and his own business and the Produce Exchange's have become minor considerations. The commission's traffic department presents as complex a daily problem as any with which the world's commerce has ever been called on to deal. The head of this department is responsible for the safety of every purchase by the commission and every donation made to it, from its place of origin until it is loaded into the ship that is to carry it to Rotterdam. He is in daily—sometimes hourly— touch, by telegraph and long-distance telephone, with the hundred assembling stations of the commission throughout the country and the sixteen American ports whence the commission's ships sail. His duties include the arrangements for transportation from each of the assembling stations by rail to the seaboard, the moving, warehousing, trucking, segregation, classification, repacking and rehandling in harbor of all food supplies and clothing. As donations accumulate at the assembling stations, the head of the traffic department is notified when a carload is ready to ship, and he must then decide what port to ship it to and by what railroad or railroads. Nor can he always ship a car or a train of cars to the nearest port, for there may not be a ship leaving that port as soon as one may be sailing from a more distant port—and time is the paramount consideration. Again, the ship sailing from the nearest port may not be of a character to receive the freight that is awaiting removal. Some of the commission's ships are constructed to carry wheat but not general cargo; and provisions of certain kinds may not be shipped in proximity— lard and oleomargarine, for instance, may not be loaded into the same ship with flour. The Discovery of Mr. Williams TRAFFIC and purchasing constituted one department for a few days after the New York office of the commission was established, and then traffic went into business by itself. Beginning with five clerks under the direction of Mr. Bates, within a week fourteen more were at work. In two weeks a marine bureau was created in the traffic department with D. Montemar, a shipping expert, at its head. A few days later experts in routing and insurance, in the persons of R. C. Hicks and A. K. Pratt respectively, were called in to create other bureaus in the same department, and C. R. Bell, of the Erie Railroad, was made its manager. " Your traffic department is a job for a railroad president," Mr. Broenniman told Mr. Bates when he assumed charge of the purchasing department; and, at the vice chairman's request, Mr. Broenniman induced Henry C. Davis, one of the foremost transportation experts in the country, with thirty-four years' experience on the New York Central and Lehigh Valley railroads, to wrestle with the traffic problem as head of the department. These experts are all men of the very highest standing in their various lines, and most of them are merely borrowed by the commission from the different railroads of which they are officials or employees. It began to be evident early in February that if Mr. Hemphill, the treasurer of the commission, was going to handle its finances, which were mounting up in the millions, he would have to resign as president of the Guaranty Trust— which his directors would not permit him to do. Mr. Bates and Mr. Hemphill accordingly held conferences with leading bankers of the country, with a view to securing the services of the most efficient administrator to be obtained to take charge of the financial end of the commission's bounding business. The job required not only a financial expert but one of constructive intelligence, for he would be called on to devise a system for the protection and control of the greatest sums ever disbursed by any other paymaster than the treasurer of a government. A score of men were suggested for the office, but it was a difficult one to fill. Just about this time was published the book, Who Built the Panama Canal? by W. Leon Pepperman, who had been chief of the Office of Administration under the Second Isthmian Commission at Panama. Mr. Pepperman had devoted a chapter to the financial achievements of Edward J. Williams, who, as chief disbursing officer during the construction of the big ditch at Panama, had not only paid out, under an accounting system contrived by himself, $193,000,000 without an error of even so much as one cent, but had saved the United States $750,000 by substituting a measure of his own for what was known as the Taft Agreement with the Panama bankers. It so happened that Mr. Bates and Mr. Hemphill read Mr: Pepperman's book the same evening, and each had the (Continued on Page 33)


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