Red Cross Responds to Accusations
Made by John Spivak in Mercury
Disproves Statements Characterizing Red Cross As War
Machine; Refutes Charges Which Allege
Class Discrimination In Relief
Central Committee of the American National Red Cross has authorized a
statement in answer to the accusations made by John L. Spivak in the
November issue of The American Mercury. Spotlight of
December 7 printed a resume of Mr. Spivak's twenty charges in which he
characterizes the Red Cross as "a war machine, only incidentally
interested in relief work "
According to the Mercury
article, the Red Cross has set four million dollars' aside for a
special war reserve fund.
The Red Cross statement explains that
"in 1919 ten million dollars of funds from the World War were set aside
for possible war needs. In1921, five million dollars, and in 1931 one
million dollars were withdrawn to meet excess expenditures for draught
relief; of the balance of four mil lion dollars referred to by the Mercury
writer, the interest is to be used for peacetime work of the Red Cross.
the principal to be available for the first emergencies of war relief."
In response to Mr.
Spivak's allegation, that the Red Cross, in distributing relief and
aid. discriminates against classes and races, the Central Committee's
pamphlet, referring to the special instances cited by Mr. Spivak, says:
"Relief was in
charge of an Imperial Commission aided by the Japanese Red Cross. The
only function of the American Red Cross was the collection and
transmission of money and supplies. Our information is that relief was
administered to the needy without distinction."
In response to the
assertion that "relief was distributed to whites in preference to
Negroes," the Red Cross article points out that during the Mississippi
Flood relief work, a Colored Advisory Commission, composed of the
leaders of Negro educational, religious. and philanthropic
organizations, gave attention to the relief work as it progressed, and
stated in their report:
National Red Cross made no differentiation in its policies between
individuals or racial groups.
"Of the 637,476
persons who were given Red Cross Relief following the Mississippi
flood, 403,280 were colored."
Replying to the
charge that National Guards, acting under Red Cross orders. "watched
the Negroes who were bound by debts to the landowners and might take
this opportunity of throwing off their peonage," the Red Cross report
asserts: "Never have the guardsmen of any state acted upon Red Cross
orders, nor has the Red Cross ever employed guardsmen or attempted to
give them orders."
The Red Cross
Report quotes testimonials from Tennessee miners to refute the
accusation that the American National Red Cross discriminates against
"We, the striking
miners members of the United Mine Workers of America, feel that the
National Red Cross is supreme and worths of contributions from all
In his charge that
the ARC "ignored and deliberately starved millions as a measure to
overthrow a government which American business did not like," Mr.
Spivak confuses the work of the American Red Cross and the American
Relief Administration, which are two separate and distinct
organizations. The total expenditures of the American Relief
Administration for relief in Russia was $63,174.848.78 of which $3,804,
863.15 was contributed by the American Red Cross in the form of medical
In answer to the
charge that money collected for the Red Cross is deposited in
Morgan-controlled interests, the Red Cross article explains that the
stock in the Morgan-controlled International Telegraph and Telephone
Company, which Mr. Spivak uses as an instance, was bequeathed to the
Red Cross by the late Major James A. Scrymser with the provision that
the stock must be held during ten years and not sold during that time.
according to the statement of the Central committee, "were made because
those banks are sound, solvent banks .. All kept open one hundred per
The Red Cross
statement asserts that some thousands of copies of the Annual Report of
the American National Red Cross are printed for public distribution.
"Anyone desiring to know the facts as to transactions of the Red Cross
may easily ascertain them; this attack, accordingly, does not grow out
of any lack of information."
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May 20, 2004