868.48/96: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey)

290. Reports from Admiral Bristol dated September 13 and 14 indicate that refugee situation at Smyrna and ports on Sea of Marmora is most critical with 300,000 destitute refugees at Smyrna and 40,000 without food, shelter or even water at Mudania and similar conditions at Rodosto. He telegraphs that British High Commissioner had requested him to care for Smyrna situation through American relief organizations and in reply to inquiry failed to give indication that relief measures by Greece or Allies would be adopted. General Harington has also asked whether American relief would care for refugees in Rodosto.

Admiral Bristol informed Harington, and Department entirely concurs with his views, that he considered it the duty of Allies and Greece to undertake their share of the task.

American Red Cross and Near East Relief have made available $25,000 each with emergency supplies and equipment which are being administered in Smyrna through representatives of these organizations.

Following telegram is being sent to Admiral Bristol:

“Your 184 September 14 2 p.m. and all previous cables carefully considered. After consulting fully with American Red Cross and Near East Belief Department is of opinion that situation clearly [Page 424] beyond the scope of any private charity, only government action by Allies with aid of transport for possible evacuation refugees can bring about adequate relief. American private relief organizations ready to cooperate to help meet immediate emergency if some plan for adequate relief is developed and put into operation at once. Private relief feels that it would be idle even to attempt temporary ameliorating of situation unless permanent cure in sight. All money available could be used up in first 2 or 3 weeks and situation would be just as pressing at the end of that time unless this breathing spell were used to put into action some comprehensive scheme to reduce and ultimately solve the problem. America anxious to help but feels responsibility clearly on governments which have equipment and military and naval organizations on the ground that can be put to work.

Without assuming any commitments Department desires you in consultation with your Allied Colleagues and their military and naval representatives to draw up and submit immediately a joint and comprehensive plan for Smyrna emergency.

This telegram is being repeated to London, Paris and Rome for the information of those Governments.”

Communicate above orally to British Foreign Office and repeat to Paris as 284 and Rome as 135 for similar action.