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Haskovo, and Karlovo. Mr. Caltcheff's books show that his disbursements on account of Serbian prisoners of war and interned civilians, since the first of January of this present year, were as follows:
a total of 406,204 leva-or about $54,160—in the first seven months of this year—all of which was received from the Netherlands Minister at Sofia. In 1916, Mr. Caltcheff informed me, he regularly relieved 250 Serbian families at Karlovo, furnishing them money to buy food, and also gave shoes to 141 of these families. He has distributed over 7,000 pairs of stockings to Serbian prisoners in southern Bulgaria; frequently gave rice for the sick in the hospitals and regularly bought and distributed potatoes.
He has likewise given out to Serbian prisoners sugar, beans, fuel, underclothing and blankets. At Haskovo, 500 Serbian families receive monthly aid from him and Mr. van Steiger, Secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association, informed me that he had just returned from that place after distributing 30,000 leva to 500 Serbian families and 130 Serbian officers-each of the latter in Bulgaria, it should be stated, receive regularly 100 leva per month. Mr. van Steiger said that the amount he distributed at Haskovo was not sufficient to relieve the needs of the Serbians but that he hoped to return there with additional funds.
On the 7th ultimo, Mr. Caltcheff sent to Serbian interned families at Karlovo, 15,000 leva-about $2,000—some of them having received as much as 300 leva. In the month of March last, the Bulgarian Red Cross received a consignment of woolen blankets, and other consignments since, amounting in all to 40,000. These were excellent woolen blankets bearing English and American marks and all for Serbian prisoners in Bulgaria. Of these, 28,000 had been distributed up to the 1st of June, the balance will be distributed beginning October 1.
The Bulgarian Government since March 1916 has furnished to Serbian prisoners in Bulgaria the following:
14, 394 shirts
3, 592 overcoats
196 pairs puttees
These articles were received and distributed by Mr. Caltcheff, and shown in his accounts.
In my report No. 478, of the 21st August last, to the American Ambassador at London-referring to the dissatisfaction among British prisoners of war because of lack of blankets and clothing, I stated
The men are dissatisfied knowing that quantities of blankets and other supplies are being furnished the Serbians at the camp. Only recently, as I learned there, some of the men made a raid on the barrack where quantities of English blankets were being held for the Serbians. The entire stock would have been taken only that word was passed around that the blankets had been used for typhus fever patients.
As I was leaving Philippopolis on the 19th ultimo, after the visit above referred to, I met at the railroad station three Serbian officers, to whom I was introduced by Mr. Caltcheff. They informed me they were going to Sofia to receive a large consignment of supplies for Serbian prisoners, by permission of the military authorities.
From all of which it would appear that considerable help has actually been given Serbian prisoners in Bulgaria.
Concerning the Royal Ministry's reference to me in its note verbale, it is but fair to state that the Bulgarian authorities have invariably afforded me every facility for visiting British prisoners of war in hospitals, depots and camps. I hold now permit from the Minister of War, No. 2165, issued August 5, 1918, giving me full and free permission to visit British prisoners of war wherever interned, and this is but a renewal of the former permit that was very much the worse from wear because of constant handling. I have [etc.]
D. I. MURPHY
[Enclosure-Translation] The Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the American
Legation No. 7522
SOFIA, September 9, 1918.
NOTE VERBALE In reply to the note verbale No. 581, of the 6th ultimo, the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs begs to advise the American Legation, as follows:
The memorandum presented by the Serbian Minister at Washington concerning the condition of the Serbian prisoners in Bulgaria, as well as the suggestions made by the Legation for ameliorating their condition, has been given the attention commensurate with the importance of the question in which the United States Government has interested itself.
Careful consideration permits one to state that the exposé of the Serbian Government is pretentious, and does not correspond with the facts. The irrefutable proof which can be cited in support of the Royal Ministry's contention, is the report made by the delegates of the International Red Cross at Geneva, who visited the war prison camps in Bulgaria during the month of May, last year. The desiderata which the delegates, before leaving for Switzerland, handed to the War Department with a view to ameliorate the condition of the prisoners, have not only been taken into consideration but carried into execution as follows:
As far as concerns the complaint relative to the exchange of lists, it should be pointed out that the lists of native Serbian prisoners have been made up and if they have not already been transmitted—which the Minister doubts—they will be without delay through the International Red Cross at Geneva.
As regards the question of visiting Serbian camps, the Ministry wishes to state that the Bulgarian Government has never made any objection. It could if necessary call upon His Excellency, the Holland Minister, in charge of the Serbian interests in Bulgaria, to corroborate the foregoing statement. Mr. Melvill has in fact been authorised to visit the Serbian prisoners. On the other hand, the International Commission, referred to above, has recently expressed its desire to send to Sofia representatives for the purpose of conducting an investigation of the Serbian camps. The Government hastened to comply with the Commission's request, and now awaits the arrival of the delegates in Sofia. And then too, Mr. Murphy, the Consul General, is able to give valuable testimony on the point raised: he will readily recall the facilities which the Bulgarian authorities have offered to him, in his capacity as representative of the British interests in Bulgaria, every time he has visited the British prison camps—facilities which are the same for all diplomatic representatives—and he is able to testify to the attention given by the authorities for the maintenance of the camps.
And finally as regards the money and packages received from abroad, and destined to the Serbians, the Bulgarian authorities have never failed to facilitate their arrival and distribution. Recently, Mr. Melvill informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that several cars of clothes and blankets had been dispatched to the Holland Legation. All necessary measures were immediately taken for the purpose of assuring their arrival in the country. The manner of distribution of the articles will be determined by the Legation in conjunction with the Red Cross, both of which have the same interest in the question.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in exposing the condition of the Serbian prisoners in its true light, likes to believe that the Government at Washington justly appreciates the worth of the assertions of the Serbian Government as set forth in its memorandum.
File No. 763.72114/4139
The Secretary of State to the Special Agent in Corfu (Dodge)
WASHINGTON, November 8, 1918, 6 p. m. Your October 31, 4 p. m. Department assumes the request for additional assistance for Serbian prisoners of war, referred to in second paragraph of your October 5, 10 a. m., may be disregarded in view of capitulation of Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria.
RELIEF FOR RUSSIAN PRISONERS OF WAR HELD BY THE CENTRAL
POWERS: THE COPENHAGEN RED CROSS CONFERENCE
File No. 763.72114/2713
[Received June 2, 8 a. m.] 1340. Ignatieff, former Minister Education, made president of Russian Red Cross by pressure, states great suffering among Russian prisoners in Germany and Austria, who number 2,000,000 and “ are simply dying of hunger.” Asks whether our Government will permit Russia to buy there monthly “one thousand tons brank (scarred [war?] biscuit) and other food supplies such as fat, sugar, conserve, conserved milk, etc., and assist the transport of these supplies to Copenhagen.” Says Russian Red Cross negotiating with German Red Cross to obtain guarantee of the aforesaid steamers carrying such supplies. Says America will earn thereby eternal gratitude of Russian people and asks prompt reply. Think Rockefeller Foundation and Young Men's Christian Association planning to furnish such supplies.
* Not printed.
File No. 763.72114/2713
WASHINGTON, July 3, 1917, 4 p. m. 1529. Your 1340, May 30, noon. Contents communicated to interested societies. For your information following telegram to-day sent to Legation, Copenhagen:
The special Russian Commission now in the United States is urging the Red Cross to undertake immediate relief on a large scale of provisioning Russian prisoners of war in Germany. The suggestion is made that at present the Russian relief is operating largely through Copenhagen, and that shipments made through this channel reach the prisoners without molestation. Please report immediately in regard to the extent of Russian relief now passing through this channel, and whether in your opinion it is wisely controlled and directed and in fact reaches the prisoners of war.
File No. 811.142/2222
[Received July 11, 5.30 a. m.] Your 395, July 3, 3 p. m.? Have thoroughly investigated the Copenhagen branch of the Russian Red Cross and also the Committee of the Municipality of Moscow which is in charge of this branch. Legation has been furnished with a full report giving statistics regarding amount of work done by this Committee, number of prisoners and quantities of supplies which have been sent. This will be ma to Department. In the first six months of 1917 the Committee has forwarded 7,000 parcels by train and 12,000 by mail to the prisoners as well as a large amount of money. The mail forwarded to the prisoners during the same period amounted to 1,200,000 letters. This Committee is in touch with local committees composed entirely of Russians who distribute the supplies in 149 camps in Germany and 36 camps in Austria.
It appears to this Legation that this organization is thoroughly competent and capable of handling large quantities of supplies for Russian prisoners and that the supplies are wisely controlled. The means taken to have supplies reach the prisoners are as perfect as possible. *Quoted in telegram of July 3 to the Ambassador in Russia, supra.