Quietly and unostentatiously the American Relief Administration has announced that its work in Russia has reached a period. After two years' labor it is to wind up its affairs and come home at the end of July. The reason for this is that Russia has at last produced enough food to feed her many mouths herself and therefore continued charity would only be demoralizing.
The still waters of the American Relief have run very deep. Amid the roar of national and international questions, of taxes and tariffs, the work of the administration, unadvertised and almost unnoticed, has been hard and heroic to keep life in the starving, and its record of having distributed during the two-year tenure over a billion and a half of adult and child rations speaks for itself. But apart from supplying food, it has provided medicine and surgery in just as notable proportions. Fifteen thousand hospitals have been kept in equipment, and the doctors of the unit are leaving behind them enough supplies to last for six months. Typhus and cholera, two of Russia's great plagues, have been almost stamped out, and trachoma, a third, has been placed largely under control. This last work is reminiscent of the magnificent fight against yellow fever waged by Walter Reed in Cuba and by General Gorgas in the Panama Caual Zone, and goes to prove, with theirs, that all great American victories abroad are not won by gunpowder or the diplomacy of capitalism.
Good Samaritans in America will doubtless be relieved to know that the call for Russian relief contributions is ended, and, all who have fearfully followed the current history of Russia may find this action a hopeful sign of responsibility reassumed. Should communism fall again to support its own people. American aid may be more hesitant; but for this act of charity now ending Americans may be proud of themselves and especially of the unselfish band of people who have administered their gift.