Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State 6

The response to the appeal made by the American Red Cross, pursuant to the letter addressed to the Red Cross by the President on January 17, has been extremely disappointing. The amount sought to be raised is $1,000,000.00 but after ten weeks there have been collected by Red Cross chapters throughout the country only some $111,000.00 or 11% of the amount envisaged.

The meagerness of the response is bound to have unfavorable effects both in China and in the United States. In China, public opinion in relation to the traditional friendship and sympathy of the American people for the Chinese people and the general reputation of the United States abroad for generosity will be adversely affected. In this country, the many persons and organizations interested in the question of civilian relief in China are very much worried over the marked lack of response shown to date and are desirous that the Red Cross authorities modify their present procedure—which places almost the entire initiative in regard to the making of contributions upon the would-be-giver—and undertake an active campaign or a “drive” for raising funds for this purpose.

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It is clear that unless the appeal for funds is broadened and intensified, it will probably be a failure. The initiative taken by the President on January 17 and the action taken in response thereto have made the matter one of national public interest and concern and, for this reason, if for no other, it is felt that the Red Cross effort should not be permitted to end in failure.

The national officers of the Red Cross are having a meeting here in Washington on Monday, April 4. It is believed that it would be exceedingly helpful if a communication from the President could be made to those officers at that time suggesting that the Red Cross effort be expanded and the procedure now in effect be revised with a view to obtaining from the American public a response which will be more in keeping with the circumstances and needs of the situation.7

  1. Transmitted to President Roosevelt on April 2.
  2. Apparently no further official action was taken with regard to this relief appeal.