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Senate Body Opens Hearings on Polish Relief Bill; Swift Action Urged by Potocki

March 21, 1940
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today began consideration of the Maloney bill which authorizes the appropriation of $10,000,000 to purchase food and clothing in this country and send it to Poland for relief through the American Red Cross or other agencies to be designated by President Roosevelt.

At the same time, Polish Ambassador Jerzy Potocki called upon Secretary of State Cordell Hull and emphasized the urgency of relief needs in Poland. Later Hull said the American Government had been requested by Count Potocki to obtain permission from the Nazis for more American relief workers to go into Poland and from Great Britain for the relaxation of blockade requirements on relief.

Hull revealed that the Government has conferred with both Britain and Germany in an effort to open up avenues for Polish relief “and is making definite progress.” He said that there has been no discussion with Soviet authorities on American relief in Soviet Poland. Chairman Norman Davis of the American Red Cross conferred with Hull after the Secretary received the Polish Ambassador.

Davis was the only witness called before the Foreign Relations Committee. He outlined the problems of relief in Poland and said that up to date the distribution of medical supplies and clothing has been carried on satisfactorily.

After the closed hearing, Chairman Key Pittman revealed that the relief bill had run into a serious snag, since many of the senators fear that the Government would set a precedent in broad policy in appropriating direct relief for foreign countries. Pittman indicated that Davis was not enthusiastic over the prospect of the Red Cross receiving a large direct donation from the Government since it has been the traditional policy of the Red Cross that it is supported by the people.

The Jewish population in Nazi Poland has an official representative, Marcel Biberstein, to receive medical aid and clothing being distributed by the American Red Cross, Davis announced earlier. Biberstein is a member of a Polish central relief committee headed by Prince Janucz Radziwell and Count Adam Ronickier. He was formerly a member of the Jewish Relief Committee for Refugees from Germany. Representing the Polish Red Cross is Countess Tarnowska.

Wayne C. Taylor and James T. Nicholson, representing the American Red Cross in Poland, said after returning to Berlin from a 12-day tour of Lublin, Cracow and Warsaw that they were “satisfied with their trip.” They added: “Our relief supplies are being distributed entirely through Polish and Jewish channels with the German authorities extending complete cooperation, including an adequate receipting system,” according to Red Cross headquarters.

Taylor and Nicholson have recommended that the Red Cross complete its original relief program in Poland. Following receipt of this recommendation and notice that the British authorities had lifted the ban on shipment of supplies, the Red Cross rushed preparation for a consignment to leave New York March 23.

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