The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to President Roosevelt
My Dear Mr. President: You will recall that the attached communication from the King of Greece23 was delivered to you recently by the Greek Minister, appealing for the relief of Greece and suggesting that you send an outstanding American citizen to the Near East, supplied with the necessary funds, to supervise the relief of Greece from that area.
The Greek Minister has informed me that he reported to his Government your intimation that Mr. Henry Morgenthau, Senior, might be entrusted with the assignment. The Minister has now been instructed by his Government to state that no one in Greece has forgotten the valuable and devoted services which Mr. Morgenthau rendered during the trying years of the influx of Greek refugees from Asia Minor.[Page 742]
I attach for your consideration a suggested reply to the communication from King George II, which avoids any direct commitment regarding his appeal (1) for funds or (2) for the designation of an emissary. If, however, you desire to take some action now on these two questions, a more positive reply to the King would be possible.
I am inclined to believe that the appointment of a prominent American to act as your representative to investigate the question of according relief to occupied areas, notably Greece, would serve a useful purpose in convincing the residents of those areas of the American Government’s interest in their tragic condition and might also result in means being found to accord them more relief supplies than at present, without injury to the war effort. It might not be necessary for your representative to visit the Near East in person, at least for the present, since we already have considerable information regarding conditions in occupied areas and feasible means of relief which we could place readily at his disposal.