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Letter to the Chairman of the American National Red Cross on the Drought Relief Campaign.

January 12, 1931

[Released January 12, 1931. Dated January 10, 1931]

My dear Mr. Chairman:

In accordance with our conferences during the past week I am glad, as President of the American Red Cross, to approve an appeal for public assistance to the association in the relief work it has undertaken in the rural sections.

Last fall the Red Cross undertook the burden of personal relief throughout the drought states. At that time you set aside $5,000,000 of the Association's funds and established a vigorous and active organization throughout the drought area. In our discussions then it was considered that further funds might be required and it was contemplated that at an appropriate time an appeal should be made to the generosity of the American people to assist the Red Cross in its burden. It was felt then that it would not be possible to measure the volume of requirements until we had reached the early stages of winter and that, in any event, it was desirable that the Red Cross postpone any appeal until such time as the Community Chests and committees on Unemployment Relief in the larger cities should have further advanced the raising of their funds.

The problem as now developed, requires more than the available funds and is not wholly one of food, clothing, and other personal care among farmers who have suffered from the drought. There is also difficulty in the smaller rural and industrial towns as a double reaction from the drought and depression. I understand that these towns are unable to organize to effectively meet their problems as are the municipalities.

The arrangement made by Secretary Hyde and yourself by which a representative of local Red Cross Chapters will sit upon the local committees created by the Department of Agriculture for administration of the crop relief will assure that every one truly deserving will be looked after with care and without waste.

I am confident you will command the never failing generous instincts of our people toward those who are less fortunate.

I remain,

Yours truly,


[Hon. John Barton Payne, Chairman, American Red Cross, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The local committees to which the President referred were those established as part of the drought relief organization in August 1930. See 1930 volume, Item 265.

On January 5, 1931, the Senate adopted an amendment to the drought relief bill, adding $15 million for food loans. The next day Chairman Payne testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee that the American National Red Cross could handle the need for food relief. On January 10, Chairman Payne recommended a special Red Cross drive to the President. The Congress, on January 14, passed the Drought Relief Act (46 Seat. 1039) appropriating $45 million for feed, seed, and production loans but nothing for food loans.

Herbert Hoover, Letter to the Chairman of the American National Red Cross on the Drought Relief Campaign. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/212304

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