who had been Executive Director of the American Relief Administration in Russia and Walter Lyman Brown, formerly the European Director of the ARA made the following statement to a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency who called at the ARA office with copies of the cables quoted above:
“The ARA has received from the JDC approximately $5,000,000 for relief work. Much more than this amount has been spent for relief work in the Ukraine and White Russia. The JDC knowing the established policy of the ARA in distributing its relief to the most needy regardless of race, religion or politics, decided to use the ARA as the best channel for carrying relief to that section of Russia where the Jews predominate, i.e. Ukraine and White Russia.
“These funds of the JDC have been used in two ways – one, to chiefly support the child and adult feeding program in the Ukraine and White Russia; two, to give special relief through Drs. Rosen and Begen to Jewish people and Jewish institutions through credits arranged with the ARA. It is true that even in the Ukraine the famine conditions in the largest centers of Jewish population – except Odessa, have not been as bad as in other sections, but the relief work has undoubtedly as a whole bettered the condition of the entire Ukralnian and White-Russian population – Jew and Gentile alike.
“The Soviet Government has repeatedly and vigorously protested against our attempt to extend our work into districts more thickly populated with Jews, contending that the need there is not as great as in other places. We have had to overcome a great deal of Soviet opposition in order to work in those Jewish districts in which we are now operating. The Soviet Government pays our transportation cost and our local expenses in Russia, and they object to our working in districts where the famine is not severe.
“It is true that the value of food parcels has been fluctuating, but the average price, is above $10-“, Col. Haskell stated. “At certain periods, it even reached the value of $42, and again it fell in October to $14. ARA officials once heard that in certain towns in Russia food parcels could be purchased for as low as $7. With the advent of the new harvest the price of food has fallen considerably but, undoubtedly, the price will again rise in the Spring and Summer when the present crop will have been used up. And one should not overlook the fact that importation of thousands and thousands of parcels has created in certain districts an abundance of food causing a natural decline in prices.
“It is true that the ARA does deduct one fourth of the American total from every parcel of food and distributes it for general relief, but of this every purchaser of food parcels is fully aware. We have publically announced this.
“We do not supply blankets and sheets to institutions but only to the hospitals. We obtained our medical supplies from the American Red Cross and have distributed millions of dollars worth of these supplies to hospitals, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. We have spent for this purpose alone $7,600,000 of which over $2,500,000 has gone or will go to the Ukraine and White Russia.
“The ARA does not undertake to transmit money to Russia and no recognized institution is doing it, there being no sufficient evidence that this can be done with safety.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.