840.48 Refugees/2884: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Leahy ) to the Secretary of State 5

603. Belgian interests. Department’s 233, April 4, 6 p.m. The following is a translation of a memorandum prepared by Cavyn concerning the Belgian Embassy’s proposal:

“The Belgian nationals assisted by the Belgian offices may be divided into the following categories: [Page 454]

1600 refugees who are at liberty of which 23% are Jewish and 33% are refugees from the forbidden zone whose repatriation will begin in the near future. They receive from 7 to 17 francs daily depending on their family situation and on the size of the commune where they reside.
112 Belgian nationals in welfare and concentration camps. Certain of these receive five francs daily as well as linen and clothing.
Approximately 60 delinquents. For some time they have been given food packages.
Approximately 1,000 escaped prisoners. As soon as they are reported they are put in work camps. In principle they receive nothing.

The system of giving material aid should be altered. The allowances should be increased. Those who are interned should receive allowances. The delinquents should be helped by the systematic sending of foodstuffs. With respect to the escaped prisoners, who are being taken care of by an organization, proposals have been made to the Belgian Government. It would be advisable to wait until the decision which has been taken concerning them has been sent to us.

A plan for modifications is being considered here but I request that the Government before taking any decision wait until it has received my report which I shall forward within a week and which sets forth the whole problem this material relief to Belgians. This problem is complicated by matters involving the Belgian offices.”

Mr. Cavyn hesitates to approve the granting of relief to Belgians by American representatives on the grounds that it will endanger the existence of the Belgian offices which although threatened still exist.

  1. Text communicated to the Belgian Ambassador by the Department in note dated May 1, 1942.