Tananbaum, Duane, Drawn to public service

(New York, NY :  Columbia University Libraries,  c2009.)



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temporarily in March 1943 when the President clarified Lehman's role and
responsibilities in a letter, enabling Lehman to travel to London to confer
with European leaders and heads of state, but the Governor soon found
himself dragged back down into the bureaucratic muck. Finally, in late
September, Roosevelt removed Lehman from the State Department,
appointing him instead as a special assistant to the President to plan for the
upcoming establishment of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation
Administration (UNRRA).

Representatives of forty-four nations gathered at the White House on
November 9, 1943, to create UNRRA, and, two days later, the UNRRA
Council unanimously elected Herbert Lehman as UNRRA's Director
GeneraL Lehman welcomed the opportunity to serve his fellow man, prom¬
ising to do everything in his power to bring hope and relief to the oppressed
and starving people of Europe and Asia who were suffering under Axis
occupation. At UNRRA, Lehman had to overcome many difficulties,
including continuing competition with other agencies for supplies and ship¬
ping, and the Soviet Union's reluctance to let UNRRA supplies and per¬
sonnel into Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, Lehman later remembered his
time at UNRRA as "the most important part of my life," taking great pride
that he and his staff "did finally whip UNRRA into shape so that it served
not only as the first great international operating organization, but unques¬
tionably saved the lives of millions of people and placed scores of millions
back on the road to economic and social recovery." " (See cartoons 17 and 18)

Lehman persisted in his work at UNRRA despite personal hardships
and tragedy. In March 1944 he suffered a broken leg while inspecting
UNRRA operations and meeting with British and Free French officials in
North Africa. The condition of his leg forced Lehman to return home with¬
out stopping in England to visit his son Peter, who was serving in the
American Air Corps. Upon his return to New York, Lehman learned that


^' Lehman to Philip
Jessup, January 14, 1957,
Lehman Papers, Special
File, Philip Jessup.


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