Nansen was nominated for his humanitarian work after World War I. He organized programs for the repatriation of prisoners of war from Russia and Siberia.
The Soviet government did not recognize the League of Nations, but it was willing to work with Nansen. He initiated the Nansen Passport for Refugees, and he was Norwegian delegate to the League of Nations. The League appointed him High Commissioner for Refugees in 1921. The same year the Red Cross asked him to organize a relief program to famine-stricken Russia. The League of Nations turned down his request for financial assistance, because strong anti-bolshevik feelings in the League made its approval impossible. Nansen had to organize relief to Russia outside the League, but he received assistance from Herbert Hoover's American Relief Administration, the Society of Friends and others.
The Nansen Passport for Refugees was a certificate that many governments recognized as a replacement for a real passport, and it provided stateless refugees with documentation for international travel.