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Agreement for Continuing Jewish Land Settlement Work in Russia Signed

January 16, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The agreement for the continuance of the Jewish agricultural and land settlement work in Russia, providing destitute Russian Jews with a means of livelihood, was executed yesterday, according to a statement issued by James N. Rosenberg, president of the American Society for Jewish Farm Settlements in Russia, Inc.

“The agreement with the Soviet authorities has been under negotiation for some months for the continuance of this work,” said Mr. Rosenberg. “This agreement has just been signed and is now being forwarded to the Soviet authorities for final ratification. This activity, conducted during the past five years under the management of Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, president of the Agro-Joint, has resulted in the settlement of over one hundred and twenty-five thousand Jews on upwards of one and a quarter million acres of land in Russia. This work grew out of the famine relief work in Russia conducted by the American Relief Administration under the direction of Mr. Hoover, during which work Dr. Rosen was a member of the American Relief Administration staff.

“Russian conditions then were and still are such that the city dwelling Jews who in the past had been herded in the ghettos were, for the first time, given an equal opportunity with other Russians to settle and become producers on the soil. The work has been attended by such success that some months ago Mr. Julius Rosenwald subscribed $5,000,000 for its continuance, and Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., $500,000. Other subscriptions have brought the total up to $8,000,000.

“The new contract contemplates the expenditure by the American Society of $10,000,000 over the next ten years,” Mr. Rosenberg explained. “The Soviet authorities have agreed to expend at least an equal amount on Jewish land settlement work and the economic soundness of the undertaking having been demonstrated, the Soviet authorities will assure repayment of the amounts advanced to the settlers on the soil.”

It was this work which Mr. Hoover described in a recent letter to Mr. Rosenberg as “an outstanding piece of human engineering.”

The contract was signed on behalf of the Agro-Joint by Dr. Joseph A. Rosen as its president, on behalf of the American Society for Jewish Farm Settlements in Russia, Inc., by Mr. Felix M. Warburg as Honorary President, Mr. James N. Rosenberg as President, and Mr. Joseph C. Hyman as Secretary. It was delivered to Mr. Saul G. Bron, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Amtorg Trading Corporation, in the presence of Mr. A. L. Scheinmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the State Bank of the U.S.S.R., and Mr. L. P. Serebriakoff, Vice-Chairman of the Amtorg Corporation. Mr. Saul G. Bron will now transmit the document to the Government of the U.S.S.R. Present at the signing of the contract was Mr. Reeve Schley, Vice-President of the Chase National Bank, which is acting as the depository under the agreement between all the parties.

Mr. Louis Marshall, at whose office (Continued on Page 4)

the contract was signed, made the following statement:

The execution of this contract gives promise that within the next ten years 125,000 Jews in addition to a like number heretofore settled on the land in Russia, may be enabled to earn a livelihood by tilling the soil and thus be lifted from a state of destitution into the most honorable self-supporting occupation.

“The Joint Distribution Committee, under the auspices of one of whose auxiliaries this work is to be done, has since 1914 expended approximately $80,000,000 in aiding the Jews of Europe and Palestine to recover from the effects of the World War. In all of its activities the Government of the United States has been at all times kept fully advised with respect to all work undertaken in Europe, as it has been regarding the contract that has just been signed. In all of the work done by us in Russia the Soviet authorities have helpfully cooperated and have not only made expenditures in behalf of the Jewish settlers equal in amount to those of our organization but have also supplied them with the necessary land and accorded to them equal privileges and facilities with those received by settlers of other races and nationalities.”

Mr. Saul G. Bron. Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Amtorg Trading Corporation, stated:

“In the name of the Soviet Committee for Settlement of Jews on the Land (Komzet). I wish to express my gratitude to all affiliated with the Agro-Joint for the noble, constructive spirit of helpfulness they have displayed and the notable results they have accomplished in enabling tens of thousands of destitute Jews in the Soviet Union to establish themselves on farms.

“New large tracts of fertile land in the Crimea have just been allotted by the Soviet Government to settle over 15,000 Jewish families. When the work undertaken in consequence of the agreement which has just been signed gets under way more land will be granted by Soviet authorities for Jewish agricultural development.”

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