by John Gavin Nolan
By virtue of its incorporation, what had been a volunteer agency became semiofficial,16 in Doctor Bartons own words. With committees in practically every state, the NER dealt directly ... with nine different countries in the Near East ...[and] other governments and international relief operations, in the repatriation, rehabilitation and re–establishment of suffering and dependent people of the Near East, as it had been charged to do by Congress. The American Board, the Presbyterian Board and some other Protestant groups17 supported the NER enthusiastically, and during the next 15 years, in addition to the foodstuff and other gifts in kind it received from the American Relief Administration (ARA), which Herbert Hoover headed, and which had access to United States government funds, the NER disbursed $116 million.18 Catholics, however, were suspicious of the NER, and understandably so, for they had reason to believe that American aid in the Near East was being used by Protestants to proselytize. These suspicions may have helped spur Father Calavassy, as early as 1918, to propose the creation of a Catholic NER in The Lamp, a magazine published by the Society of the Atonement at Graymoor, New York.