840.48 Refugees/1399: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Johnson ) to the Secretary of State

191. From Myron Taylor. The reply of the British to the message from the President to the Prime Minister on the subject of Angola34 was made to me today in the form of a letter from Randall, head of the League Section of the Foreign Office, containing a memorandum. The text of the letter is as follows:

“Dear Mr. Myron Taylor: Lord Winterton who has had to leave London this afternoon has asked me to say how very sorry he is not to have been able to let you have an earlier reply to the President’s message to the Prime Minister about the settlement of refugees in [Page 88] Angola and to send you the enclosed memorandum which sets out the considered opinion on this question.

You will see that after the most careful consideration Lord Halifax has come to the conclusion that it would serve no useful purpose for His Majesty’s Government to take this extremely delicate matter up with Lisbon but might on the contrary in present circumstances cause serious embarrassment to relations between Portugal and countries interested in a solution of the refugee problem.

The decision to which the Foreign Office felt bound to come is stated very briefly in the enclosed note but if you would like any supplementary explanations in regard to this question Sir George Mounsey would be happy to see you at some time convenient to you. Yours Sincerely, A. W. G. Randall.”

The following is the memorandum:

“President Roosevelt’s suggestion about an approach to the Portuguese Government regarding the possibility of forming a Jewish state in Angola has been considered with great care. It is understood that the particular suggestion that His Majesty’s Government should approach the Portuguese Government on this matter was made because of the special relations between His Majesty’s Government and the Portuguese Government. It is true that those relations are excellent but it is equally true that Portuguese opinion is extremely sensitive on all questions connected with its colonies so that any initiative would involve the certainty of a Portuguese refusal and the probability of Portugal’s taking serious offence.

It is to be observed that Portugal has not joined the Intergovernmental Committee and might reply if approached that the various schemes for Jewish settlement under consideration by members of the Committee might well be exhaustively gone into before attention was turned to the territory of non-members.

In these circumstances the Foreign Office regret to have come to the conclusion that it is undesirable for them to proceed further in the matter.”

I shall see Mounsey before I leave London next week. [Myron Taylor.]

Johnson
  1. See telegram No. 100, January 25, 7 p.m., from the Chargé In the United Kingdom, p. 74.