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37

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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August 27th with Tchitcherin, as representative
of the Soviet Government, concerning the method
of providing relief for the starving Russian people
and the raising of an international State loan for
that purpose, under full control of a neutral
organisation and the Governments of the Great
Powers, who would guarantee that the loan was
exclusively and impartially used to combat the
famine.

But at the Assembly of the League of Nations
in Geneva in September, 1921, I tried in vain
to induce the League to assume the lead in this
relief work, and to raise an international
governmental loan for the purpose of helping the starving
millions of Russia, who might yet be saved if
relief were brought to them immediately, before
winter made transport difficult, but who were
otherwise doomed to die.

There was superabundance of food, transport,
and workmen in the world. The maize was used
as fuel in the locomotives of Argentina, the ships
lay idle in many countries, and thousands of men
were unemployed. Some of the idle ships, with a
small part of the unemployed men, could easily
carry sufficient superfluous American corn to save
the starving and dying millions.

The refusal of the League of Nations to take
up this work was due to several different reasons.
Some considered it difficult to ask the Governments
of the Western Powers, already so deeply plunged
in debt, to give a loan to a Government which
was not even recognised, and where the security

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