893.48/1406a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China ( Johnson )

32. Red Cross requests that there be sent to you a message reading as follows:

“For your confidential information the American Red Cross, in response to a request from the President of the United States, is taking appropriate steps to provide an opportunity to the American people to contribute in relieving distress among the civilian population of China. The appeal will be launched on January 25th and will be nation-wide. Although the President has expressed the hope that a goodwill offering of perhaps as much as $1,000,000 will be contributed no one can predict at this time what the response will be. Consequently great caution should be exercised by all concerned until actual experience is gained as to the response to the appeal.

It is planned to expend the funds received in this campaign through reliable and effective agencies which already exist in China and the Red Cross trusts that the present method of allotting funds by the American Advisory Committee (not American Red Cross Advisory Committee) under your guidance can be continued, with the powers of the Advisory Committee somewhat widened to permit the allotment of funds to agencies without the prior approval of the American Red Cross.

In handling the funds the financial responsibility of yourself and the Advisory Committee to the American Red Cross will be completed upon the receipts of the various agencies for the funds allocated to them. However, the Committee would doubtless wish to exercise a reasonable supervision of the activities of the organizations receiving the funds.

In this connection it is suggested that it would be appropriate to name to the committee a representative of the Protestant missions, another of the Catholics, and if practicable, someone to represent the Jewish communities, and any other additions or changes that seem desirable.

Would you please telegraph at the earliest possible moment the names of the American Advisory Committee for use in connection with the launching of the appeal. The Red Cross would also appreciate a 50-word statement from you describing the need, giving the estimated number of civilian Chinese affected and also request that a similar statement descriptive of the Shanghai area be telegraphed by Consul General Gauss.

It is also suggested that it would be helpful if you would after January 25 give information to the American press correspondents that would assist the appeal.”

Department desires that this matter receive your immediate and continuing attention.

Department has repeated this message to Shanghai.