840.48 Refugees/2984

Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Visa Division ( Alexander ) to the Chief of the Division ( Warren )

Mr. Warren: With reference to the question of the movement of the large group of aliens (now allegedly possessing Luxemburg nationality) from Portugal to the Dominican Republic, my inclination would be to support our Minister at Ciudad Trujillo in his view that the aliens should not be permitted to proceed to the Dominican Republic.

Assuming for the purpose of discussion that there are actually no axis agents or axis sympathizers among them (which would be a risky assumption, to say the least), it seems to me that the time has come to cast aside the peacetime attitude toward immigration and adopt the realistic view that the countries of the Western Hemisphere are engaged not only in a struggle for the preservation of political ideologies but for their actual existence, and that, in the language of the Argentine immigration law, the question of immigration into the Western Hemisphere by people from the Old World should be considered not only from the standpoint of possible benefits to the immigrants but primarily from the viewpoint of any benefits to the country receiving the immigrants.

The immigrant problem in the Dominican Republic is sufficiently serious to render the question of that country’s receiving more immigrants from the Old World extremely important, not only from the viewpoint of possible benefits or detriments to the Dominican Republic but from the viewpoint of hemisphere defense and existence.

If, as it appears to be possible, the West Indies become the scene of extensive military and naval operations against attempts of the axis to gain a foothold our efforts at resistance would not be facilitated by having that area congested by large groups of aliens who, while they may have little or no sympathy for the axis cause, at the same time are content to occupy a neutral position so far as any active aid to the cause of the United Nations is concerned. I believe the time may come when there will be no middle ground for aliens in this war. [Page 451] They will have to be classified either as active participants in our cause or as enemies of it.

It is my opinion, therefore, that the Government of the United States should carefully refrain from encouraging any country of the Western Hemisphere to accept large groups of European aliens at this time.