LONDON, Feb. 2, 1917 (UP) - In the presence of what may be the supreme crisis in the war, word is awaited from America by the neutrals of Europe with greater interest than by the belligerents.
The smaller neutrals-notably Holland-look to Washington to determine the issue which may mean their own life or death.
Messages today from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague indicate fear that Holland is doomed to be crushed between German land and undersea forces. An actual blockade, correspondents say, means starvation.
Present supplies of foodstuffs in Holland may last a month or two months, it is estimated.
The concentration of troops on the German-Dutch frontier is the cause of constant speculation. It was felt such action for the past two weeks was taken in advance of the new sea step.
The London Times' correspondent in Holland today said:
"While the Dutch, predominately cautious, feel a disposition to stand or fall by their rights, their eyes are turned anxiously toward the United States-the greatest neutral-to see whether she will abandon her little sisters to their fate."
Dispatches from Amsterdam today quoted the newspaper Telegraaf as asking "whether America will withdraw her protecting hand over neutrals and noncombatants."
The Amsterdam Handelsblad says: "If America holds to the spirit of the notes and ultimatums she has sent to Germany, she must declare war."
Switzerland faces a situation similar to Holland. The blockade cuts off all French ports except Cette, and that means cutting off of essential foodstuffs and raw materials.
Spain also awaits America's determination.
On the other hand, the British press tone today continued temperate with reference to the United States action on the German note, the editorials generally leaving it up to America to decide her own course.