JULY 5, 1949
HYDE PARK, Monday—The other day I received a letter from Representative George G. Sadowski, of Michigan, in which he enclosed a page from the Congressional Record, and I was shocked to read the reproduction of an article by John Cartwright published originally in the "New Epoch." In this article, which bears a date line from Edinburgh, Scotland, Mr. Cartwright says that a Sunday newspaper article reveals the fact that valuable hospital equipment destined for Poland has been lying in storage in Scotland since 1947.
Here is part of his quotation:
"The equipment subscribed for in America under the Paderewski Foundation scheme originally cost some $700,000.... It has a complete hospital with 600 beds, blankets, surgical instruments, X-ray apparatus and four dental outfits...."
I remember very well that Mayor La Guardia and I were both sponsors for the drive to collect money in honor of Dr. Paderewski in 1940, and more than $1,000,000 was subscribed. In the first instance, it was to be for the use of the wounded and sick Polish nationals in Scotland. It appears from this article that a hospital of 140 beds was made available in 1941, but this was closed down in 1947 and since that date it also has been in storage.
That it should never have gone to Poland because no agreement could be reached seems to me a betrayal of the people who made their subscriptions. No matter what kind of government exists in Poland today, the sick, the wounded, and women and children deserve to receive help. A hospital should not be treated as a political weapon, and I doubt very much whether the people who subscribed their money for that hospital would want it withheld no matter what the political situation might be in Poland at the moment.
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I also joined and served with a group of American citizens interested in Yugoslavia who were sending food and medical equipment for women and children. We were certainly grateful during the war for the resistance of the Yugoslavs to the German army, and even if their government is not the kind of government that we desire for our own country I still felt that there was no reason why the women and children should not receive aid.
I feel that same way about Poland and it makes me indignant to think that valuable equipment, which could be of such great use to the Polish people, was not shipped immediately to Poland.
The article in question states that the hospital has been offered to Puerto Rico, South Africa and other places, and that everything is now ready for shipment. It is planned to send the equipment back to the United States, though those in charge say they have no definite information. It would seem strange to me to use anywhere else in the world except Poland a hospital subscribed for by people interested in helping the Polish people.
No matter what the government of Poland is today, there always will be reverence there for the name of Paderewski. The Poles have suffered more destruction than we in this country can even imagine and I agree with Congressman Sadowski that whoever is responsible for this mix-up should straighten it out at once and see that the total equipment is delivered in Poland.