840.48 Refugees/1270: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State

12. Representatives of the Committee for the Assistance of Jews in Italy called at the Embassy yesterday and their spokesman stated that if it were true that the President’s message to Mussolini contained a suggestion for settlement of Jewish refugees in Ethiopia his Committee desired to impress upon the American Government that not a single Jew would voluntarily place himself at mercy of the Italian regime in Ethiopia or anywhere else.

He also brought to our attention the serious plight in which many thousand foreign Jews will find themselves when the time limit set for their departure from Italy expires on March 12. He said the Committee had been told by the Italian authorities that all foreign Jews who have not left before that date will be imprisoned for 2 or 3 months and then forcibly expelled from Italian territory. He inquired on behalf of the Committee whether we could not persuade the Italian Government to grant extensions of time for those Jews who may not have been able to arrange for their admission to some other country prior to March 12.

I heard today that the Jewish organizations have appealed to Chamberlain to use his influence on their behalf in his contact with Mussolini [Page 65] and have informed him that they could not agree to any plan for the settlement of Jews in Italian territory.