840.48 Refugees/3448: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

6561. For the Honorable Myron Taylor44 from Sir Herbert Emerson, Director Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.

“Following is position of refugees in unoccupied France. Grant of exit permits even for children completely stopped and am informed by leading refugee organizations there and at Lisbon advise that for present no steps can wisely be taken. No action therefore possible for the moment at Vichy. Many refugees, however, have escaped and are escaping to Spain and some to Portugal; normally they are interned and so far few have been sent back. There is danger of deportation if arrangement elsewhere cannot be made. They include Allied subjects but are mainly German and Austrian refugees. Past experience shows there is little hope of getting considerable number [Page 477] of visas for other countries and in any case much delay involved. In these circumstances I have suggested that British Government should associate with United States Government if latter were able to open a clearance camp or camps as soon as military condition will allow in North Africa preferably near Casablanca where refugees can stay until permanent arrangements possible. Camps could be administered on humanitarian lines by voluntary workers with minimum number of officials. American and other voluntary workers hitherto working in unoccupied France would probably be available. Rough estimate is three to five thousand persons immediately involved and future outside limit ten thousand but probably far less. Clearance from camps to other countries would be gradual as visas obtainable and many would probably have to stay for duration. Full use could be made of them in war effort. I can myself see no other practical solution. May I beg your active support. Am keeping proposal confidential at present. Emerson.”

Winant
  1. Chairman of the American delegation to the Intergovernmental Committee on Political Refugees.