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Perhaps, the world having already been down this road before, it was all too painfully clear that, once the war was over, there would be a herculean humanitarian crisis to face. Having seen the amount of destruction and up-ending of peoples lives World War 1 caused, all concerns were that the end of the Second World War would be no different.
We were still a long way from victory – even though the Allies were making inroads, progress was slow. But there was still the initial formulation of a United Nations; a grouping of allied nations aimed at insuring another war of great destruction would never happen again.
The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was created at a 44-nation conference at the White House on November 9, 1943. Its mission was to provide economic assistance to European nations after World War II and to repatriate and assist the refugees who would come under Allied control. The US government funded close to half of UNRRA’s budget. The purpose of UNRRA was to “plan, co-ordinate, administer or arrange for the administration of measures for the relief of victims of war in any area under the control of any of the United Nations through the provision of food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities, medical and other essential services”.
Among predecessor organizations was the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations of the United States Department of State (established 21 November 1942) and the Inter-Allied Committee on Post-War Requirements (the Leith-Ross Committee) established in London in September 1941.
After World War II, UNRRA sought to assist millions of refugees displaced by the war and its consequences. In the aftermath of the war, worldwide food shortages threatened millions with starvation and the world looked to the United States for assistance. At the time of this broadcast, on Novmber 12, 1943, UNRRA’s fourth council meeting convened in Atlantic City. Mutual correspondent Sydney Mosely conducts an interview with Governor Herbert Lehman on the aims and goals of this newly formed agency.