840.48 Refugees/2531

Memorandum by Mr. Edward S. Maney of the Division of European Affairs to the Assistant Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Finley)

Mr. Finley: Reference is had to your memorandum of April 114 in which you raise the question concerning the Department’s policy with regard to persons, other than settlers for the Sosua project, who are proceeding to the Dominican Republic under the sponsorship of the Dominican Republic Settlement Association (Dorsa).

It is noted that you point out that the information contained in a personal letter you had received from Minister Scotten at Ciudad Trujillo indicates that almost 50 of the “settlers” brought to the Dominican Republic by Dorsa have registered for American immigration visas.

According to the latest information received from Dorsa, there are now in the Dominican Republic 19 refugees brought there under Dorsa sponsorship admittedly for the purpose of awaiting opportunities to emigrate elsewhere. They are not classified as “settlers.” It is accordingly probable that the 50 registrants cited by Minister Scotten include all or most of these “non-settlers.”

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Nevertheless, the inference is clear that some of the 269 settlers at Sosua have taken steps looking to their eventual emigration to the United States. This is a problem that I know the Dorsa people are assertedly trying hard to preclude. Mr. Rosenberg15 has repeatedly declared that in the selection of prospective settlers every effort is being made to weed out persons who they do not sincerely believe will remain permanently at Sosua.

It is trusted that as the Sosua settlement becomes a more nearly balanced community the colonists or settlers there will show a decreasing tendency to want to leave. The community of settlers is now composed of 63 married men, 124 single men, 53 married women, 12 unmarried women, and 7 children. Many doubtlessly have spouses, children, and fiancés whom they want to have join them at Sosua. When this situation is more satisfactorily met, the settlers will more probably be content to stay at Sosua.

Another possible factor in this phase of the problem is that some of the settlers may have registered for quota visas more as a precautionary measure than as an actual intent to emigrate. They might feel that only in the event it becomes necessary for them to leave the Dominican Republic would they invoke their quota priorities.


Virtually all of the persons whom Dorsa has brought to the Dominican Republic as non-settlers doubtlessly have applied or will apply for visas for entry into the United States. Moreover Dorsa has already signified its desire to arrange for the entry into the Dominican Republic further groups of refugees, who, although classified by Dorsa under various stipulated categories, may be considered, for all practical purposes, as potential immigrants for the United States. According to latest information available, these categories are as follows:

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Reconstruction Foundation:

Persons coming under this category are former European employees, and their families, of these organizations. Dorsa is asking that 58 such persons be admitted into the Dominican Republic, there to be cared for by Dorsa until they are able to emigrate elsewhere.

At this juncture it is pertinent to point out that it was the large initial contribution of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee which made possible the creation of Dorsa. Furthermore, the leading personalities in Dorsa are likewise the directing heads of the J. D. C. Accordingly, the two organizations are closely connected and it is not [Page 439] unnatural that Dorsa has agreed to take care of former European employees of J. D. C.

Persons Seeking Temporary Asylum:

Dorsa has procured authorization for the issuance of Dominican visas to approximately 200 persons who plan to remain in the Dominican Republic under guarantee of support from Dorsa until such time as they can emigrate elsewhere. About 20 of these aliens have already succeeded in gaining entry into the United States and may accordingly be disregarded so far as the present discussion is involved.

Originally this category was set up to take care of certain quota registrants for the United States who had appreciable periods of time to wait for their quota turns and whose relatives or friends had made adequate financial provisions with Dorsa for their maintenance in the Dominican Republic.

Any action on the part of Dorsa in acting as agent and sponsor in bringing to the Dominican Republic large groups of potential immigrants into the United States gives rise to a number of objections. The principal objections are cited below:

These aliens would probably feel, or would so represent their case, that in granting them transit visas through the United States for the express purpose of awaiting in the Dominican Republic their quota immigration visas the American Government had tacitly agreed to accept them as immigrants at some future date.
The presence in the Dominican Republic of comparative large numbers of transmigrants would probably tend to cause unrest and discontent among the settlers at Sosua. Seeing others leave for the United States might result in many of the settlers deciding that they, too, would like to emigrate to the United States.
Since the prime consideration in the case of transmigrants would be financial guarantees, Dorsa might not select such applicants with as scrupulous care as it would its own settlers. The possibility of persons being passed as transmigrants whose presence in the Dominican Republic would be inimical to the interests of that country and of the United States would therefore be greater than in the case of settlers.

It is accordingly thought that Dorsa might properly be discouraged as a matter of general policy from bringing persons to the Dominican Republic there to await emigration elsewhere. Cases involving special circumstances might of course warrant exceptions to this proposed general policy. On the other hand, I think the Department should lend every practicable assistance in facilitating the migration of properly selected settlers.

  1. Not printed.
  2. James N. Rosenberg, president of the Dominican Republic Settlement Association, Inc.