Red Cross, Blocked in Efforts at Supervision, Threatens to Halt Polish Relief

The American Red Cross must either obtain a supplementary agreement with the German Government for distribution of relief in Nazi-occupied Poland or it will withdraw entirely its offers of relief in the territory, it was learned today.

The German authorities have refused to allow James T. Nicholson, Red Cross representative abroad, to enter Poland for anything more than a brief visit. The Red Cross until now had continued to pour relief into Poland on the supposition that Nicholson would supervise distribution of American-purchased supplies from Cracow.

Some supplies sent from America, which arrived in Italy on the Italian liner Vulcania and were transshipped to Cracow, were distributed without American supervision, the Red Cross was informed today. Other supplies are now en route to Cracow despite the fact that the Nazis are blocking Nicholson’s attempts to reach that city.

The Red Cross said negotiations for a supplementary agreement were still proceeding.

The original Red Cross agreement with the German Government, concluded when the Nazis gave assurances that distribution of relief would be on a non-sectarian basis, provided for long-range American supervision. Red Cross medical supplies and clothing, under the compact, were to be distributed by the German Red Cross through local Polish and Jewish organizations, with American Red Cross agents permitted to make periodic supervisory trips to distribution centers.

The American Quaker relief efforts have been blocked by the Nazi Government, which has insisted on entering an arrangement similar to that with the Red Cross. The Quakers, however, who are representing the American Commission for Polish Relief, have been adamant in refusing to initiate relief unless American supervision on the spot is permitted. Quaker leader Clarence E. Pickett recently characterized the relief situation in Poland as a “rotten mess.”

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