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File No. 861.48/580
WASHINGTON, January 26, 1918. Sir: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your letter of January 18, 1918, addressed to Mr. Grew, requesting an expression of opinion as to the policy of the Department in certain matters relating to foreign relief, and begs leave to reply as follows:
1. CONSTANTINOPLE (a) General relief. Approved in principle if sent by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief through its agents in the Ottoman Empire to the subject races of Turkey. Should other organizations desire to undertake this class of relief, the Department, before concurring, would prefer to receive definite information as to the channels and agencies of distribution to be employed. Remittances to be devoted specifically to the support of soup kitchens in Constantinople, however, are approved.
() Individual remittances. Approved in principle if for members of the subject races in Turkey and if lists of the names and addresses of the payees as well as the names and addresses of the senders are submitted to the Department for examination before the issuance of licenses. The Department considers that no individual remittance should exceed $125, and that not more than that amount should be sent to any one person or family per month.
2. ROUMANIA (a) General relief.
(6) Individual remittances. Approved if destined for those parts of Roumania not occupied by the enemy. For the occupied portion of the country, the Department, before concurring, would prefer to receive definite information as to the channels and agencies of distribution to be employed, and, in the case of individual remittances, to receive lists of the names and addresses of the payees as well as the names and addresses of the senders, in order that the Roumanian Minister in Washington might be consulted.
3. ASIA MINOR (a) General relief. Same answer as 1(a). (6) Individual remittances. Same answer as 1().
4. SYRIA AND PALESTINE NOT OCCUPIED BY BRITISH FORCES (a) General relief. Same answer as 1(a). (6) Individual remittances. Same answer as 1(b).
5. BULGARIA The Department desires to reserve an expression of opinion under this heading but would be glad to learn the amount of the remittances for which licenses have been applied.
The application of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church for license to transmit $1,000 monthly to Bulgaria to carry on their mission work in that country has the Department's approval. I am [etc.]
FRANK L. POLK
File No. 867.48/717
[Received 11,58 p. m.] 1384. From Constantinople:
Undated [January 12?]. Funds which Dodge Relief Commission have sent Constantinople to help Christian population in Turkey lose 75 per cent of value owing to rate of exchange. Importation of gold is only means of remedy. Arrangement has been made with German Embassy by which latter agrees to receive gold in neutral countries and despatch it to Constantinople. In view of philanthropic nature of this work American Relief Committee, Constantinople, therefore requests American Government to ask some neutral government, preferably Swedish, which has charge of American interests in Turkey, to authorize purchase and exportation of German, French, or English gold or gold ingots for above-mentioned purpose and instruct American Legation, Stockholm, to receive Dodge funds for transmission in gold through intermediary of Royal Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to German Legation who will forward them to Constantinople. Winter is severe and mortality great and growing. There is no time to lose, thousands of children may be saved. Please consult Elkus and Dodge [, Barton, and Peet?], asking them to telegraph funds to American Legation, Stockholm, as soon as cooperation of Swedish Government has been assured. We are sending by courier who leaves Constantinople January 12 check for $50,000 payable to American Legation, Stockholm, for first transaction of this nature. Signed, Gates, Huntington, Fowle.
It is presumed that whatever arrangement is made will apply also to funds transmitted through Department. Urgent reply requested.
File No. 867.48/717
WASHINGTON, January 31, 1918, 3 p. m. 507. Your 1384, 26th. For Constantinople:
Your telegram signed by Gates, Huntington, and Fowle with regard to shipment of gold to Constantinople in order to reduce exchange was received January 26. Please inform American Relief Committee that Department wishes full details of how gold would be shipped, how disposed of and whether conversion into local currency would have the sanction of the Turkish Government. What guarantee have you that the benefit of the transaction will accrue to relief work only? Department has instructed American Minister, Stockholm, to restrain action of courier, if not too late, pending further developments. The concurrence of this Government should be obtained before any transactions of this nature are initiated. Please ask Committee to report fully.
File No. 867.48/740
[Received March 7, 4.55 a. m.] 1635. Your 557, February 21, 6 p. m., and my despatch No. 977.1 From Constantinople:
[February] 27. The Committee states as follows: The circumstantial details are contained in Mr. Fowle's message of January 12 a to the American Minister at Stockholm. The gold will be transported by the German courier and the disbursements made by the American Relief Committee as heretofore. The German Ambassador will deliver to the Swedish Legation at Constantinople for the American Relief Committee the amount in gold remitted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the German Legation at Stockholm. The Committee places the same confidence in its representatives in the provinces regarding the use of the entire profit realized on the transaction that it has reposed in them during the past three years for the distribution of other relief. Please consult Elkus, Dodge, Barton, and Peet. Information regarding the attitude of the Turkish Government toward the proposed transaction will be telegraphed soon.
File No. 867.48/742
[Received March 10, 5.32 a. m.] 1661. From Constantinople:
[March] 5. I have received a letter from the Grand Rabbi informing me that the Ottoman Minister of Finance has notified him
Neither printed; see telegram No. 507 of Jan. 31 to the Minister in Sweden, supra.
* Probably telegram transmitted through Stockholm Jan. 26, supra.
that he authorizes the arrival of relief from America in foreign gold to be changed into Turkish money. He desires to be advised each time of the amount received. Grand Rabbi informs me verbally that the notification of the Minister of Finance was made after discussing subject at the Council of Ministers and that all relief from America, not only that intended for Jews, is included therein.
[For papers relating to the decision of the Department to limit remittances to Turkey see section on Polish Relief: letter of March 15, 1918, to the President, the President's reply of March 16, and the letter to the War Trade Board, March 18, pages 526, 528, and 529, respectively.]
File No. 867.48/894
The British Ambassador on Special Mission (Reading) to the
Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, March 21, 1918. DEAR MR. LANSING: You are aware that there is a desire on the part of the Zionists in the United States to despatch a medical unit to Palestine to assist in the work of relief in that country.
Mr. Lewin-Epstein, who proposes to go as the manager of the expedition, informs me that the State Department is prepared to recognize the unit as one of the United States medical units, should this be in accord with the wishes of His Majesty's Government.
My Government on their part have stated that there will be no objection to the despatch of the mission provided it be so recognized by the United States Government and that this recognition be notified to the enemy, in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva convention. Believe me [etc.]
(For the Ambassador)
T. B. HOHLER
File No. 867.48/811
The Agent and Consul General at Cairo (Gary) to the Secretary of
CAIRO, March 30, 1918.
[Received March 31, 6.20 a. m.] 23. Under chairmanship Doctor Weizmann, Zionist Commission to Palestine arrived Cairo a few days ago and will proceed to Palestine next week. I am informed by Doctor Weizmann that by virtue of authority vested in Commission by British Government, they are coordinating and will hereafter administer all measures of relief in Palestine with respect to Jewish community and that all funds for relief of Jews in Palestine should be paid to Jack Mosseri, who will act in Cairo on behalf of Commission.
It is respectfully recommended that as an officially recognized commission is now in charge of situation, all funds from America, whether for individual or general relief of Jews in Palestine, should hereafter be transmitted directly to Jack Mosseri, Cairo, through the intermediary of such Jewish organizations in America as may be determined by American Jews, and not through the Department and this Agency.
File No. 867.48/811
WASHINGTON, April 6, 1918. Your 23, March 30. In view of banking conditions Department will continue to transmit relief funds through Agency for payment to and distribution by the commission authorized by British Government, you paying proceeds of drafts to their agent at Cairo.
File No. 867.48/740
WASHINGTON, April 15, 1918, 5 p. m. 708. Your 14521 and 1635. Plan for forwarding gold from Sweden to Constantinople definitely disapproved. Cancel check for $50,000.
File No. 867.48/856
WASHINGTON, May 9, 1918. MY DEAR LORD READING: I have been giving careful consideration to the request of the Provisional Zionist Committee for permission to send a medical unit to Palestine, and the statement in your note
* Not printed.