Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Messages to Heads of State on the Storm Disasters in Western Europe.

February 02, 1953

To Her Majesty Elizabeth, Queen of Great Britain:

My fellow Americans join me in extending to Your Majesty and to the British people heartfelt sympathy for the tragic deaths and sufferings caused by the floods and hurricanes.


To Her Majesty Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands:

My countrymen and I are deeply shocked at the news of the devastation your people have sustained through the recent storms and floods. They and I wish to extend to Your Majesty our deepest sympathy in these tragic circumstances.


To His Majesty Baudouin I, King of the Belgians:

The American people join me in extending to Your Majesty heartfelt sympathy for the tragic suffering your people have sustained in the recent violent storms.


Note: Cablegram acknowledgments of the President's messages were released on February 4 and 5. On February 6 it was announced that the President had appointed a committee composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Director for Mutual Security to gather facts on the disaster and to make recommendations as to how the United States could assist the victims.

On February 12 a White House release stated that Secretary Dulles, chairman of the committee, had reported to the President that the immediate relief problem was well in hand, that steps were being taken to prevent further damages by spring tides, and that it would be some time before it would be possible to estimate the total impact of the disaster.

The damage was particularly severe in the Netherlands. On January 15, 1954, the White House released the following message from Queen Juliana, dated January 8:

Mr. President,

Now that the last gap in the dykes has recently been closed, I feel impelled to address myself to you and the American people, moved by a deep sense of gratitude. The floods which ravaged our country in February have brought great distress to hundreds of thousands of my compatriots and caused extensive damage. It has been a great comfort, however, that with a spontaneity to which history furnishes no parallel, sympathy with the victims was shown from all sides while valuable active assistance was given as well.

You sent us aeroplanes, helicopters and amphibious vehicles which have proved to be a tremendous help during the rescue work; goods and clothes were collected from all over the United States and considerable amounts of money were raised. You did even more than that: units of your armed forces rushed up; by their utmost exertions, toiling day and night on the inundated lands at the risk of their own lives under the most unfavorable weather conditions, they saved victims and their cattle and helped in plugging the innumerable breaches in the dykes. All those who did their utmost to help us have earned our deep-felt gratitude because they have proved that human solidarity does not stop at frontiers. On behalf of the victims and all my compatriots I address myself to you and, in doing so, to the American people to express what can hardly be expressed in words: our heart-felt thanks for everything you did when the sea--our faithful friend and eternal enemy--held our country in its crushing grip.

I seize this opportunity to convey to you, Mr. President, my sincere wishes both for the prosperity of the Republic and for your personal well-being.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, Messages to Heads of State on the Storm Disasters in Western Europe. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231742

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