The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Arthur Bliss Lane, who, since Mrs. Vernon Kellogg's retirement, has been the chairman of the Paderewski Testimonial Fund, has written a letter stating certain facts that he wishes brought to my attention obviously because he wishes me to bring them to the attention of the public.

He says that the charter of this Fund "provided that funds collected by the Fund shall be used for the benefit of Poland or of Polish displaced persons. The original intention was to utilize all of the equipment in Poland. In fact, a mobile hospital was sent by the Fund to Poland in 1947. The equipment, was, however, not utilized by the Polish government as stipulated in the agreement. No credit was given to the name of Paderewski nor to the American donors. No guarantee has been given that this or the equipment, now in Edinburgh, would be used solely for the benefit of Poles, regardless of political views. Under the circumstances the Board of Directors decided to seek other points where the hospital in Edinburgh might be used for the alleviation of suffering of people of Polish origin."

The new program of social medicine in the United Kingdom has made it impossible for the hospital to function as a Polish entity in Edinburgh. In France, where there are also Polish displaced persons in large numbers, the Fund was informed by the French Minister of Health that the hospital could not be maintained at government expense there. For other reasons it was impossible to establish this hospital in the United States Zone in Germany for the benefit of Polish displaced persons.

In April of 1948 Puerto Rico offered to establish a hospital and medical school in the island, utilizing Polish personnel as instructors, scientists, etc. Governor Luis Munoz Marin now has acknowledged in writing that this project could not be realized, but it was not the fault of the Fund. The Fund's Board of Directors is continuing to explore ways of using the hospital equipment for the benefit of Poles somewhere in the world.

This information would make it appear that while the article from Edinburgh, which I recently quoted, is correct in the statement that the equipment is still stored, however, there is no real blame attaching to the fund, since it has tried to carry out the intention of the donors. The blame would seem to lie largely with the Polish government, which apparently was unwilling to carry out the very natural conditions under which this hospital equipment could have been turned over to them.

When I wrote my previous column on this subject, based on information sent me by Rep. George G. Sadowski of Michigan, I assumed, of course, he had investigated the facts in the case. He also must have been unaware of what actually has happened.

I am glad that the effort is still being made to put this equipment to use for the benefit of Polish people somewhere in the world. I only hope the Fund is successful, because the deterioration of material of this kind cannot be put off indefinitely.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 21, 1949

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.