Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
The Soviet Ambassador68 called to see me this afternoon at his request. The Ambassador referred to the informal inquiry69 I had made of the Soviet Government whether it would permit the American Red Cross to send by way of Vladivostok Red Cross agents to the territory formerly known as “eastern Poland” to provide relief to the [Page 234] inhabitants of that region. The Ambassador said he was instructed to say to me that the Soviet Government remembered with profound gratitude the assistance rendered by American relief organizations in Russia after the termination of the last war70 “when Russia was suffering from the effects of the blockade imposed by the former Allied Governments”; that the situation now was completely different; that the Soviet Government was providing fully for the inhabitants of the eastern [western] Ukraine, etc., and that these persons were in no need of relief; and that the Soviet Government did not consider it ethical or moral to agree to having its citizens fed by the agents of another country when it was entirely capable of taking care of them itself.
I replied that I had no comment whatever to make upon this response to my inquiry beyond stating that I could hardly consider the nature of this reply as one which was calculated to indicate any desire on the part of the Soviet Government to promote a closer interchange between the two countries.