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Letter to the President, American National Red Cross, on the Flood Disaster Areas in the Middle West.

July 19, 1951

Dear Mr. Harriman:

Early yesterday I returned from a survey flight over the flood-stricken areas of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. I was appalled at what I saw. The extent and the violence of the destruction to homes, farms and industries was tragic.

But at the same time there was a heartening thing to be seen. This was the magnificent way in which help was forthcoming. I speak of the relief work carried out by the various branches of the military, by the Federal, State and municipal governments, and by the Red Cross. There were many others.

The act under which the $25,000,000 authorized by Congress will be expended specifies that the responsibilities of the Red Cross shall not be limited or in any way affected.

In addition to all that the constituted authorities can do to help restore normal life in the communities, there is a vital job to be done by the Red Cross. That job is with people, with those whose lives have been so dislocated by their flood losses that, without help, they cannot get back on their feet. Human welfare is the most important job. It is a job that cannot wait. It was for that reason the people through the Congress, in 1905, officially entrusted the responsibility for such work to the American National Red Cross.

The real work of the Red Cross in the flood area is just beginning. Its heaviest task is still ahead. Months from now, long after the memory of these floods is slipping from the minds of people in other sections, the Red Cross will still be on the job assisting the victims. The money the Red Cross provides for rebuilding a house or for refurnishing it, or for helping a family to find the means to help itself, will be given outright, not lent. This assistance will be given only on the basis of the needs of the families involved.

This job of the Red Cross is going to take a lot of money--more than the Red Cross can provide from its present resources.

For that reason I call upon all Americans now to contribute as generously as they can, at least $5,000,000, through their local Red Cross chapters to aid our flood-stricken fellow citizens in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Illinois.

Sincerely yours,


[The Honorable E. Roland Harriman, President, American National Red Cross, Washington, D.C.]

Note: See also Items 158 and 163.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the President, American National Red Cross, on the Flood Disaster Areas in the Middle West. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230433

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