860c.48/392: Telegram

The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Secretary of State

4877. In view serious typhus situation certain portions of Poland, and on recommendations Hoover, Army Liquidation Board advanced [Page 239] approximately $10,000,000 worth of sanitary equipment on credit for anti-typhus campaign in Poland and Secretary of War authorized Pershing to send Colonel Gilchrist and staff of experts including 500 enlisted men to Poland to carry on this anti-typhus campaign. Under original authority of Secretary of War this personnel is to be withdrawn December 18th.

Due to general transportation difficulties in Europe delays occurred in movement this sanitary material to Poland resulting in delay in starting work. Our representative in Poland reports the situation in typhus districts as appalling and earnestly recommend[s] the retainment of Gilchrist and such of his personnel as will volunteer to remain through the winter and spring months so as to assure lasting results in relieving this situation. Gilchrist concurs as to necessity of continuing this work.

Have no information as to attitude of War Department in this matter; however, in view importance of Gilchrist’s operations from the humanitarian point of view and the practically insurmountable obstacles to the Poles unaided in accomplishing effective results, request most earnest consideration of this request and favorable action if practicable. Polk.

American Mission