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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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the beneficent results you have in view, and could not, either
in its conception or its operation, be considered as having
any other aim than the “humanitarian purpose of saving
life.”

There are great difficulties to be overcome, political
difficulties, owing to the existing situation in Russia, and
difficulties of supply and transport. But if the existing
local Governments of Russia are as willing as the
Governments and peoples whom we represent to see succour and
relief given to the stricken peoples of Russia, no political
obstacle will remain. There will remain, however, the
difficulties of supply, finance and transport which we have
mentioned, and also the problem of distribution in Russia
itself. The problem of supply we can ourselves hope to
solve, in connection with the advice and co-operation of
such a Commission as you propose. The problem of finance
would seem to us to fall upon the Russian authorities. The
problem of transport of supplies to Russia we can hope to
meet with the assistance of your own and other Neutral
Governments whose interest should be as great as our own
and whose losses have been far less. The problems of transport
in Russia and of distribution can be solved only by the people
of Russia themselves, with the assistance, advice, and
supervision of your Commission.

Subject to such supervision, the problem of distribution
should be solely under the control of the people of Russia
themselves. The people in each locality should be given,
as under the regime of the Belgian Relief Commission, the
fullest opportunity to advise your Commission upon the
methods and the personnel by which their community is
to be relieved. In no other circumstances could it be
believed that the purpose of this relief was humanitarian
and not political, under no other conditions could it be certain
that the hungry would be fed.

That such a course would involve cessation of all hostilities
within definitive lines in the territory of Russia is obvious,
and the cessation of hostilities would, necessarily, involve
a complete suspension of the transfer of troops and military
material of all sorts to and within Russian territory. Indeed,
relief to Russia which did not mean a return to a state of
peace would be futile, and would be impossible to consider.

Under such conditions as we have outlined, we believe

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