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American Food Commission in Finland
The members of the American Relief Administration who have been in Finland, Major Ferry K. Heath, chairman, and Lieutenant Bishof, a member of the commission, left from Helsingfors July 30th. Before their departure they were given a dinner by the Foreign Office and the Food Ministry. In his speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs Holsti thanked the American government for its sympathetic attitude toward the Finnish political questions and for its assistance to Finland in defeating economical difficulties. Professor Tigerstedt thanked the commission particularly for the assistance given to save the small children and mothers from the want of food, and Food Minister Collan, in his speech, expressed thanks for all the assistance which had come to the people of Finland.
Replies were made by United States Minister Haynes, Major Heath and Lieutenant Bishof. The last mentioned said in part, that the information would no doubt be received with general satisfaction in America, that the movement for the relief of children, which had been started there, would not be left as temporary, but would develop into a permanent undertaking by the government.
Many officials of the Foreign Office and the Food Ministry were also present at the dinner.
Before his departure the chairman of the commission, Mr. Ferry K. Heath, wanted to give publicity to the following through the press.
The Farewells and Thanks of the Commission
"The American Relief Administration has been the instrument which has represented the people of America and has worked only on the basis of the decisions of Congress. In accordance therewith its operations ended on the first day of July, this year. On account of the provisions which were set for the operations of the Relief Administration, its personnel will soon be called home from active duty in Europe and, therefore, also the members in Finland, exclusive of Lieutenant Wahren and Lieutenant Ward, wish to express their farewells.
"I cannot leave the country ─ I am now speaking in behalf of all the members of the committee ─ without expressing my deepest gratitude to the people of Finland for that friendliness, hospitality, courtesy, and cooperation which has been shown toward me by all with whom I have worked. The members of the committee in Finland have been here four months, and in this time have visited almost all parts of the country. We have been treated with friendliness and hospitality everywhere, and I do not know of a single occasion on which anything has happened to disturb our pleasant sojourn in this country. We all depart with a hope that we might some day return, and we leave with a better understanding of the social, political and economic questions, for the solution of which the people of Finland are now struggling.
"I am convinced, that in time, the difficulties, to overcome which Finland and most other countries are struggling to-day, will be solved in a rational way, and that the new form of government will develop into one which represents law and justice and order, which eventually will assure the people of a nation the most possible happiness.
"It is impossible to say farewell personally to every one with whom we have come in contact in our official duties; it has been the greatest pleasure and satisfaction to have been permitted to work together with higher as well as lower officials of the Finnish government, and we express our heartfelt thanks to them all. Before I close I think I can say with assurance that the people of Finland can always depend on the people of America as on an honest friend."
American Clothing Contribution to Finland
Finnish newspapers tell of the arrival at the port of Hango of the steamship "Lake Hemlock" with a cargo of 4,419 bales (279,000 kilos) of men's, women's and children's used clothing and footwear and also 554 boxes (140,000 kilos) of new, unused woolenwear; 140,000 pair of socks, 26,700 sweaters, 5,800 knit caps and 5,200 pair of wristlets. This new clothing alone is worth 3½ million marks. The contribution was gathered by the American Red Cross.
This vast supply of clothing will be distributed without charge to the indigent people of Finland. The distribution has been entrusted to the Finnish Children's Relief Committee, the same committee which was appointed by the cabinet to distribute the foodstuffs donated from America, and which contained American members as well as Finns.
The newspapers of Finland express the gratitude which the population of the country feels toward the American Red Cross and toward the whole American people on account of this magnificent gift.
American Care of the Children of Finland
(Translation from a Finnish newspaper)
Hardly had the great generous gifts, with which America has remembered the destitute children of Finland, had time to be distributed, when we received a report of new, and, if possible, still greater and broader plans for our "little ones." We can readily guess that Mr. Hoover, Food Administrator of Europe, is to be credited for this as well.
He announces that the transportation of food stuffs from America to Finland, by the organizations which are taking care of this matter The American Relief Administration, U. S. A. Food Administration, and the Grain Corporation ─ was hardly thought of as a business enterprise, but rather it had been attempted to arrange the prices to cover cost only. Naturally, however, it had been impossible to estimate closely in advance the costs of such a great undertaking, and, to offset possible losses, the costs had been figured somewhat higher than the actual.
So it appears that some sort of a surplus profit remains at the termination of this undertaking in its original form. An appreciable addition to this profit is caused also by the fact that the officers of the aforementioned organization, to a large extent, work purely for love of the cause, without salary. Therefore, as Mr. Hoover announces, "The profound hope of America is that there will be no profit left from the food relief of Finland," in the form of savings or surplus; he suggests that the Finnish government, in cooperation with the contributors, would consent to use this surplus for the benefit of the children of Finland, in a manner similar to that in which the earlier gifts were used. The relief work for the children would thus acquire a permanent nature. Funds are still being solicited in America for the same purpose. Mr. Hoover himself promises that he will continue in charge of the arrangements. Our government has naturally consented to this plan, and has expressed its heartfelt thanks and its appreciation of Mr. Hoover's offer and of the nobleminded and unselfish concern which our American friends have shown for our growing generation.
We are sure that the humaneness and disinterested friendliness, which this gift so well proves, will effect, still further, to draw our people nearer to the great and noble giver from beyond the Atlantic.
American Relief for the Children of Finland
The Children's Relief Committee of Finland, which has Americans as well as Finns for its members, has received letters of thanks, regarding help received, for transmittal to the American Aid Committee. These letters, which give a striking picture of the feeling with which the American aid is received in the Finnish backwoods, have been received, among others, from Korpiselka and from the Nurmes country community:
From Korpiselka they write:
"When the little ones, who with their mothers, have suffered greatly from the want of nourishment, have received foodstuffs presented by you, they feel a great debt of gratitude to you. The joy of the mothers and children has been too great to be expressed in words, when they have been able, after suffering from hunger for many years, to eat clean bread, made of real flour.
"As they are unable individually to express their feeling of gratitude toward you, they have earnestly asked that we would convey their deep feeling of gratitude to you. We beg, therefore, with the greatest respect, to express the gratitude of the mothers and children of our community who have been receiving the assistance through this undertaking, which shows such great brotherly love."
The letter from the Nurmes country community reads, in part, as follows:
"The prolonged want of foodstuffs brought continued suffering especially among the poorer families. Because they did not have the means to buy other food than the small amounts of flour which were secured through the food office and which were insufficient, alone, for their nourishment, they suffered particularly. The mother had to mix pine bark, moss or straw into her dough with the small amount of flour. Because of this poor ration the members of the families suffering want have changed in appearance into thin, haggard looking human beings. Often the little ones complained to their mothers, `It hurts, it hurts, give us some real bread, mother.' Often the mother with pain in her heart had to reply, `There is none now, dear child; we are expecting to get some, probably sometime.'
"Then when the father or mother brought home those gifts of the noble American people, it was an occasion for rejoicing in the family. The eyes of the children shone brightly from joy and from gratitude toward the noble givers. A meal was prepared for them from the American gifts and joyously and with grateful hearts they partook of the repast, blessing the great and noble-minded people beyond the ocean, who remember and love their distant fellowmen who suffer want.
"In addition to being an appreciable help to the poor families, this large contribution from the Americans also means a good deal more. It has awakened and kept alive the belief that in this war-beridden world there still are a lot of people, a whole powerful nation, among whom a real love of sacrifice lives, and who are able to accept as their fellowmen their brothers beyond the ocean who are struggling in want.
"We wish to express here the deep gratitude of the people who have been helped, by using the simple words of a mother, 'God bless the good American people.'"
American Relief for the Children of Finland
In the September issue of the Finland Review we told of the American relief for the children of Finland. Now the American Food Commission in Helsingfors has announced that America has promised to send to Finland, during the period from August 1st to December 1st, 1919, for distribution among the destitute children, the following amounts of foodstuffs, etc.:
Cocoa, 60 tons; milk, 720 tons; sugar, 240 tons, and soap, 60 tons. The total value of these is about six million Finnish marks.
We also mentioned in the last issue of the Finland Review that the American Red Cross had sent a clothing contribution valued at 3½ million marks to the indigent people of Finland. Prior thereto Mr. Herbert Hoover, in behalf of the American Food Commission, had presented 2 million Finnish marks for the relief of the poor children of Finland.
The press of Finland speaks with great pleasure and gratitude regarding this new magnificent gift.
Published in Finland Review, 1919:1 & 2-3. New York 1919.
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