860F.48/50: Telegram

The Minister in Czechoslovakia (Carr) to the Secretary of State


55. From available information it seems clear that the refugee question here has already reached a serious stage. Nansen89 of the Nansen Aid Committee informed me this morning that there are several thousand Social Democrats and other political refugees and their families here in hiding and in danger of their lives. Many of the women and children are spending the days and nights in the woods in the vicinity of Praha notwithstanding that the ground is covered by snow. All relief organizations have been forcibly disbanded. …

The German secret police here are making hundreds and perhaps thousands of arrests in the usual Nazi manner; the Jewish population is terrified; as are the Social Democrats and also those persons closely associated with the former regime. Consequently if action can be taken it should be done speedily. While the British Legation seems to be hopeful of obtaining exit permits for most of its refugee cases I am personally doubtful whether Germany would be receptive to requests for the departure of political refugees and Jews but it would seem to be the humane duty of our Government to support some kind of international action to this end even though doubts may be entertained as to the outcome.

  1. Odd Nansen, president of the Nansen Relief Organization for the aid of refugees and other persons in distress.