Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Duggan)
Sra. de la Mora came to call at the suggestion of Mr. Leland Stowe, correspondent of the Herald-Tribune. Sra. de la Mora informed [Page 792] me that she had been acting as press liaison for the Foreign Office in Spain with the foreign correspondents practically throughout the war. Recently the Negrin Government sent her to the United States to perform certain commissions. One of her assignments has been to endeavor to find ways and means of assisting Spanish Loyalist refugees, particularly those in France, to find new homes. Sra. de la Mora thought that in as much as most of the Spanish refugees were peasant farmers, the objection entertained by many of the American countries to receiving refugees would be overcome since there would be no question about selected refugee farmers remaining on the soil.
I told Señora de la Mora that practically all of the other American countries were requiring that refugees bring with them a rather substantial sum of money, and inquired whether funds had been raised to supply immigrants with sufficient funds to meet the immigration regulations of countries requiring the deposit of a guarantee. She replied that the furnishing of guarantee funds would be a problem because there were no rich citizens of Spanish descent or connection in the United States who would give large sums in the way that certain German-Jewish families had done.
Señora de la Mora stated that the Mexican Government had indicated its preparedness to accept 50,000 Spanish refugees. She stated that Señora Bassols, the Mexican Minister to Germany [France?], who at present is in Mexico City, was expected to arrive in New York City on April 7 with more information about the Mexican offer.
Señora de la Mora stated that if the Mexican offer was a bona fide one, the next problem to be overcome would be the transportation of the refugees from Spain to Mexico. She ventured the thought that both the French and the British Governments might contribute something toward the transportation of refugees if the United States were to make a contribution.
In the ensuing discussion Señora de la Mora was advised that it would be futile for this Government to give detailed consideration to the question of transporting the refugees until the Mexican Government had presented a fully developed plan, and even then the extent to which this Government might be able to assist would probably prove disappointing since in no case could it involve a cash contribution. While expressing disappointment, Sra. de la Mora stated her belief that if there was some way in which the Department could show an interest in raising the funds for the transportation [Page 793] of refugees, such action would be extremely helpful in aiding private organizations in securing contributions.
Señora de la Mora gave her name and address as follows:
Constancia de la Mora,
Care of Jay Allen,
21 Washington Square,
New York City.