DECEMBER 13, 1946
NEW YORK, Thursday—There is, of course, still going to be a welfare problem when UNRRA comes to an end. Our government has decided we are going to meet that problem, but not by creating an international welfare organization such as UNRRA, since the feeling has been that our Congress would be opposed to entering upon that type of relief again.
We supply the largest percentage of relief, and therefore our government feels that we should have more control over the allocation and distribution of funds than we can have in an international organization. There has also been some criticism of various situations which arose in UNRRA, and this too led to the decision that, in the future, we would be independent in our relief operations, though working on a consultation basis with other nations.
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Under UNRRA, there are certain functions such as the special services devoted to children, and other welfare services which are not strictly general relief but encompass special needs. What has been done is to set up a children's international emergency fund. The first money, $550,000, will be for the purchase of special foods for children. It will be presented by UNRRA Director Fiorello H. La Guardia to Sir Carl Berendsen, chairman of Committee 3 of the U.N. General Assembly, at a special meeting in Washington.
The children's fund will ask for any residue funds which may be allotted to it from UNRRA, for government appropriations and also for contributions from organizations and individuals. This money will supplement any basic relief given and should provide children in need of special foods and medical care with the essentials for recovery.
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This special activity will be conducted on an international basis, but also on a voluntary basis which permits governments to stay out if they do not feel able to participate.
If much money is available, a great many children in Europe and Asia may be saved from serious consequences following these years of war. But we must wait until we know how many countries decide to join in this fund and how much they are prepared to contribute, as well as how much appeal this particular part of the welfare picture has for private organizations and individuals, before we can judge the possible accomplishments.
If the administration is efficient and if the sums of money should grow, I can imagine that in four or five years the children of Europe may be well fed again, as the economies of the various countries return to normal. Then there are children in India and China who will need help for a long time. An international fund really well run might eventually do certain things for children all over the world which we have dreamed about, but have not dared to hope might someday materialize.