American Committee for Relief in the Near East


American Committee for Relief in the Near East

American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief after 1918 American Committee for Relief in the Near East (ACRNE) in short Near East Relief was a relief organization established during World War I. Its primary aim was to alleviate the suffering of the Armenian people under Ottoman rule.

Henry Morgenthau, Sr., American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide, played a key role in rallying support for the organization. The primary effort occurred between 1915 and 1930, in distributing humanitarian relief across a wide range of geographical locations.

Operations

The leadership of James L. Barton and Cleveland H. Dodge was the main instrument in this pledge.Fact|date=June 2007

tage one, May 1915 - April 1917

In 1915, under the so-called Tehcir Law, the Ottoman Empire began confiscating the possessions of the Armenians of Anatolia, while undertaking the forcible deportation of the Christian minority, ostensibly to Syria. The "American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief" was founded in the USA in 1915. The US Department of State's American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions" contributed to founding the Committee.Fact|date=June 2007

According to the agreements, the funds were delivered through the American Embassy in Constantinople. The Ottoman parliament passed a law [Coding Office, no 60/178] to coordinate the relief efforts originating from the Armenian immigrants (USA) and its distribution to the Armenians under the knowledge of the government by these institutions. The money and resources were directly transferred to the Armenians who were in need by the Armenian missionaries and USA consuls, without Ottoman Government involvement.

First Year

In 1915 the relief effort fell into four categories; [Jay Murray Winter "America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915" p.193 ]
*general relief (supply the needy with a daily ration of bread)
*special relief (for those considered only mildly or temporarily destitute, such as transit or Sick "Armenian Soldiers")
*medical work (the numbers are reaching thousands monthly)
*missionaries (giving food, education clothing bedding to orphans)

ACRNE worked in concert with the American Councils in Syria to help over 150,000 refugess and "several hundret thousand" in Caucasus front. [Jay Murray Winter "America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915" p.193 ]

Second Year

In 1916, relief activities increased, with funds being dispersed to Anatolia, beyond the initial Syria, Egypt and Greece. [Jay Murray Winter "America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915" p.193 ] In other places such as in Aleppo missionaries had enough support for 1,350 orphans and asking more founds to reach the others. [Jay Murray Winter "America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915" p.193 ]

Third Year

On April 1917, the USA entered into war against Ottoman Empire. This disrupted the ground activities of the committee, however the emergency drive of the ACRNE continued with increasing amount during the next 14 months before the end of the World War I. In July 1918, James L. Barton, (the chairman) said "$10,000,000 had already been raised and distributed from the onset of the program, the need would continue into the postwar years".

tage two, December 1918 - 1930

With the end of the hostilities, Armistice of Mudros and the Occupation of Istanbul, Allies have access to Ottoman Empire with the assigned Allied High Commissioners ("military administration") (USA - Mark Lambert Bristol, British - Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe). With the new structure the change in mission the committee had taken and committee renamed itself to the "American Committee for Relief in the Near East". These changes were incorporated to USA by act of Congress in 1919.

In this new stage, Red Cross nurses were also assigned to the American Committee for Relief in the Near East.

Activities, 1919

ACRNE had allocated. The American relief organizations raised $116,000,000 of assistance, delivering food, clothing, and materials for shelter between 1915 and 1930. ACRNE distributed goods worth nine million dollars in the first half of 1919 and dispensed much of ten million dollars in grain and other commodities. The Near East Relief placed thousands of orphans in mission facilities in the USA, with the expectation that these orphans become manhood and womanhood"

Relief efforts were astonishing. Early in January 1919, ACRNE opened a unit in Istanbul (Constantinople). The ACRNE received red-carpet treatment in the Ottoman Empire. Collaboration with the Empire ACRNE managed (reached levels) to deliver cereal at the rate of 5,000 tons a month. By the end of 1919, about 30,000 metric tons of food and clothing had arrived. Using Constantinople as a distribution center beginning with February 12 over a 1,000,000,000 worth of goods, including 2.000 tons of flour, 2.500 cases of canned foods, 500 cases of condensed milk, 18 trucks, 20 ambulances, 500 sewing machines, 200 oil stoves, 1.750.000 yards of cloth, 50.000 blankets, 800 hospital cots, 26 tents, 78 X-ray machines and 200 tons of coal moved to Caucuses.

In 1919 - "American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief" pledges for $30,000,000.00 for the 1,770,000 person among 4,000,000 in Syria who are at least 400 miles away from their home

quotation|The nation-wide campaign for $30,000,000 to aid the Armenians and Syrians was begun in New York recently by the Armenian Committee for Relief in the Near East. In explanation of how the money is to be spent, the committee made the following statement:

:There are nearly 4,000,000 souls to be fed, clothed, and started on a new life. Of these 2,900,000 are destitute and must be fed a soon as the funds are provided. It will cost exactly $5 a month for six months to feed each of the destitutes. This makes a total of $4,500,000 for six months for food supplies. Four dollars for etch person will be needed for clothing and bedding, making another item of $8,000,000.

:One million seven hundred and seventy thousand persons are at an average of 4 miles from home and must be taken back at a cost of $3 for each person, thus requiring $5,310,000 for this purpose. For these repatriated persons 50,000 temporary houses will be needed to replace the ones destroyed by the Turks. These will cost $50 each, making a total of $2,500,000.

:It will also cost $4,000,000 to provide orphanages for 400,000 orphans. Finally, to make these people self-supporting as soon as possible, another $2,500,000 must be spent for seeds, farm implements, &c.

:This makes a total of $36,810,000 of which New York's quota is $6,000,000.
Near east report for Syria|The New York Times Current History Magazine|April-May-June 1919

Methods of operation

ACRNEs methods of operation and fund rising showed a departure from traditional methods. Instead of using clergy and volunteers, ACRNE used professional full time employees with keen business skills, which was a drastic change from previously directed relief the efforts. [Suzanne E. Moranian. “The Armenian Genocide and American Missionary Relief Efforts,” in America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915, edited by Jay Winter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 200-210. ] Near East relief, besides the traditional (Red Cross) methods of the Sunday observances across the USA; used the press corps much more effectively and routinely; used modern methods of communication and imagery to transfer the ideas were impressive. [Suzanne E. Moranian. “The Armenian Genocide and American Missionary Relief Efforts,” in America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915, edited by Jay Winter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 200-210. ] “Between 1915 and 1928, over twenty different American magazines ran hundreds of stories on the Armenians, which by the relief committee’s design, were central to raising money.” [Suzanne E. Moranian. “The Armenian Genocide and American Missionary Relief Efforts,” in America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915, edited by Jay Winter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 194-95. ]

ACRNEs fund rising showed a departure from traditional methods with increase in sophistication and intensity, during 1919. ACRNE adapted a monthly news bulletin and hired Talcott Williams of Columbia University’s journalism faculty for the editorial.A newspaper article, also published in Literary Digest, adapted a script of fanatical Muslims forcing 500 chaste Armenian teenagers to accept Islam, so that they can be servants in harems. [Joseph L. Grabill, (1971), Protestant Diplomacy and The near east: Missionary influence on American policy, 1810-1927] This articles published in full-page. Another advertisement material included was depictions of lands made luminous by the footprints of Jesus, and Christ-led people rescuing needy fellow Christians.

Aurora Mardiganian

ACRNE also used a new method by putting a face to increase the dissemination among different sectors. The face and story was adapted from Aurora Mardiganian. The ACRNE also sent a team to Ottoman Empire to prepare a movie version to play in the theaters. ACRNE leased time from theatres in fifty cities. [Joseph L. Grabill, (1971), Protestant Diplomacy and The near east: Missionary influence on American policy, 1810-1927] The movie included wide variety of famous people. Scenes included flogging of girls who refused to enter harems, short of being raped. The most dramatic scene was the nailing of twelve Armenian maidens to crosses, depicting the salvation.

ummary

In its fifteen years of existence, ACRNE eventually spent over ten times of initial estimate, see .

A relief organization for refugees in the Middle East helped donate over $102 million (butget $117,000,000) to Armenians both during and after the war. [Goldberg, Andrew. "The Armenian Genocide". Two Cats Productions, 2006]

Notes


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