Roosevelt Papers

The Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ( Lehman ) to the President

My Dear Mr. President: If it is true, as rumored, that you will soon meet with Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin, I hope that you will find it possible to take up with Marshal Stalin the following matters which affect some of the most important operations of UNRRA.

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1. UNRRA’s plans for assistance in Poland and Czechoslovakia, an area always contemplated to be one of the most important in which UNRRA will serve, have been delayed and made difficult by our inability to obtain requisite information and permission from the Soviet Union for the transit of personnel and supplies through its territory to Poland and Czechoslovakia. Within the last twenty-four hours, however, we have been informed by the Soviet member of the Council that supplies can be shipped into these areas through Rumanian ports; there will be need for continuing arrangements.

2. At the last meeting of the Council of UNRRA, a Resolution was unanimously adopted directing UNRRA to assist persons in enemy or ex-enemy territory who have been displaced from their homes by the enemy because of race, religion or activities in favor of the United Nations. UNRRA’s application to the Allied Control Commissions1 to send representatives to Rumania and Bulgaria for this purpose is now pending, and it has been indicated that the Soviet Union will oppose our undertaking these tasks.

3. To dispose of these and other points over which a mutual understanding has not been developed with the Soviet Union, I proposed in June 1944, as you know, that a mission representing UNRRA visit Moscow and talk with the principal authorities of the Soviet Union. An original invitation to this mission has been postponed since September 1944; its visit to Moscow would, I am sure, facilitate our relations with the Soviet Union.


I hope that you can bring these matters to the attention of Marshal Stalin. The Soviet Government is, of course, an active and important member of UNRRA. We urgently need its full cooperation in all of UNRRA’s work, and immediately in undertaking the activities in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Bulgaria which I have described, and which we have been directed to undertake by unanimous vote of the member governments.

Faithfully yours,

Herbert H. Lehman
  1. Regarding the Allied Control Commissions in Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, see post, pp. 238240.