740.0011 European War 1939/23394: Telegram

The Second Secretary of Legation in Switzerland (Thompson), Temporarily in France, to the Secretary of State

1160. Embassy’s 1135, August 4, 5 p.m.19 Dr. Lowrie,20 as president of the committee for coordination of relief work in concentration camps, saw Marshal Pétain21 yesterday. Jardel, Secretary General of the Chief of State, was present. He opened the interview by [Page 464] explaining to the Marshal that the Germans had demanded 10,000 French Jews but that they had subsequently been persuaded to take foreign Jews in their place. Lowrie protested at some length against their deportation but Pétain replied that there was nothing that could be done to halt it. He agreed, however, to request Laval22 to examine the possibility of permitting to remain in France approximately 800 Jews whose documentation to emigrate from France was nearly complete and 300 children whose group emigration to the United States would be proposed to the American YMCA.

Noble, delegate the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), saw Laval yesterday and protested against this measure. Laval made no mention of any German pressure but flatly stated that these foreign Jews had always been a problem in France and that the French Government was glad that a change in the German attitude towards them gave France an opportunity to get rid of them. Laval inquired why the United States did not take these Jews and concluded with a rather bitter general discussion of the Jewish problem. Noble stated that Laval gave the impression that the general policy of ridding France of foreign Jews had been definitely decided upon.

Confirmation has been received from a friendly official of the report that the Papal Nuncio protested to the Marshal about a week ago with respect to the treatment of Jews in France.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Donald Lowrie.
  3. Philippe Pétain, French Chief of State.
  4. Pierre Laval, French Premier.