861.48 Refugees 67/24

The Ambassador in Turkey (Grew) to the Secretary of State

No. 253

Sir: With reference to my despatch No. 172, of February 15, 1928,68 and previous correspondence concerning the evacuation of the Russian refugees in Constantinople, I have the honor to inform the Department that on March 27, last, in conversation with Mr. Rene Schlemmer, Representative of the International Labor Office, he said that he had received a letter from Mr. Albert Thomas, the Director of the International Labor Office, addressed to Shukri Kaya Bey, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, stating that the International Labor Office had decided to withdraw at the end of May from all connection with the problem of evacuating the Russian refugees from Constantinople, because most or all of the contract laborers had now been evacuated and because the labor aspect of the problem had therefore now been eliminated. The letter also referred to the appointment of an American Advisory Committee of which Mr. Thomas believed I would be Chairman. I had already told Mr. Schlemmer that I could not sit on such a Committee myself but that, if Mr. Schlemmer so desired, I would appoint a member of my staff to sit on the Committee as a representative of the American Red Cross, which had contributed a part of the American funds, but not as representative of the Embassy. I said I believed that if my assistance should at any time be needed, I could be of more help if independent of the Committee. Mr. Schlemmer said that he had already written Mr. Thomas of my unwillingness to become a member [Page 983]of the Committee, although I was willing to designate a member of my staff to represent the American Red Cross.

In accordance with the Department’s telegram No. 22, of February 29,69 I designated Mr. Taylor, of the Embassy, to represent the Red Cross, and he has arranged to attend the weekly meetings of the Committee. There are enclosed copies of translations of the minutes of the first two meetings, which were held on March 31 and April 4, respectively.69 It will be noted from the minutes that the principal business transacted in the meetings was the consideration of the cases of the Russian refugees who are desirous of leaving Constantinople and arranging for their evacuation. It would appear that the one year delay, granted by the Turkish Government, has given renewed hope to the White Russians that they will be allowed to remain indefinitely in Turkey and for this reason there is a scarcity of applications for evacuation. I have no reason to believe that there has been a change in the attitude of the Turkish Government towards the Russians, whose ultimate departure has been ordered. I shall keep in close touch, however, with the political aspect of the situation and will promptly inform the Department should there be any change in the attitude of the Turkish Government.

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I have [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew
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