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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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to some considerable extent by Russia itself, the justice of
distribution to be guaranteed by such a Commission, the
membership of the Commission to be comprised of Norwegian,
Swedish, and possibly Dutch, Danish and Swiss nationalities.
It does not appear that the existing authorities in Russia
would refuse the intervention of such a Commission of wholly
non-political order, devoted solely to the humanitarian
purpose of saving life. If thus organised upon the lines
of the Belgian Relief Commission, it would raise no question
of political recognition or negotiations between the Allies
and the existing authorities in Russia.

I recognise keenly the large political issues involved, and
I would be glad to know under what conditions you would
approve such an enterprise and whether such Commission
could look for actual support in finance, shipping and food
and medical supplies from your Government.

I have sent similar letters to M. Clemenceau, M. Lloyd
George, and M. Orlando, in the hope that they will accord
the matter the attention which so serious a situation deserves.

        Believe me, etc.

                Fridtjof Nansen.

This proposal immediately received warm support
in various quarters, but strong opposition in others.
After it had been discussed very fully, not least
by the French, I received on April 17, 1919,
the following answer from the Supreme Council:

Dear Sir,

The misery and suffering in Russia described in your
letter of April 3rd appeals to the sympathies of all peoples.
It is shocking to humanity that millions of men, women and
children lack the food and the necessities which make life
endurable.

The Governments and peoples whom we represent would
be glad to co-operate, without thought of political, military
or financial advantage, in any proposal which would relieve
this situation in Russia. It seems to us that such a Commission
as you propose would offer a practical means of achieving

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