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THE COMMISSION FOR RELIEF IN BELGIUM

Hoover undertook an unprecedented relief effort as head of the Commission for the Relief of Belgium (CRB). The CRB became, in effect, an independent republic of relief, with its own flag, navy, factories, mills and railroads. Its $12-million-a-month budget was supplied by voluntary donations and government grants.

In an early form of shuttle diplomacy, he crossed the North Sea forty times seeking to persuade the enemies in Berlin to allow food to reach the war’s victims. Whatever the task required Hoover was the man for the job. His relentless energy combined with urgent action would keep the Belgian people from starvation.

The success of the CRB depended on the extraordinary cooperation established between Hoover and Emile Francqui, who with other leading Belgians, including Brussels mayor Adolphe Max, Ernest Solvay, Emmanuel Jansen and Edouard Bunge, formed the Comite National de Secours et d’Alimentation, known as the Comite National. It was thru the tireless efforts of the many Belgians who worked on this committee that the goods shipped by the CRB were distributed in the affected communes and provinces throughout Belgium.

 

 

U.S. EMBASSY BRUSSELS - OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS