The Chargé in France (Tuck) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:52 p.m.]
1346. I am greatly disturbed as to the fate of foreign Jewish children in the unoccupied zone who have been and are still being separated from their parents. I am convinced that it is useless to expect any moderation in the restrictive measures now being enforced against foreign Jews young or old. I therefore strongly advocate that our Government should if humanly possible give immediate consideration to the advisability of presenting through this Embassy a concrete proposal to Laval that as many of these children as we may be prepared to accept should be permitted to emigrate to the United States. I have reason to believe that Laval would accept such a proposal if only because it might in a measure calm the storm of criticism which his inhumane policy has aroused throughout the country.
In conversation he has twice sarcastically referred to the “high moral tone” adopted by certain governments in connection with the treatment of foreign Jews in France remarking that these governments at the same time consistently refused to admit Jewish refugees within their own border. He mentioned in this connection that the only concrete offer that he had so far received had been from the Dominican Republic which had declared its willingness to admit 3,000 Jewish children. (Laval, I believe might even be induced to consent to the emigration of certain categories of adult foreign Jews.)
The situation of these separated children is desperate. Many of them from the occupied zone are now filtering into southern France and this movement will probably continue. It is estimated that in the unoccupied zone alone between 5 and 8,000 of these children will soon be in the charge of welfare agencies. As it appears to be the intention of the Nazi authorities that their deported parents should not survive the treatment they are now undergoing many of these children may already be considered as orphans. To leave them in France is to expose them to constant danger to the threat [Page 713]of possible Nazi aggression (even against Jewish children) and to the serious difficulties of feeding, clothing and sheltering which face the whole population of France during the coming winter.
I am remaining in close contact with Dr. Donald Lowrie who continues to give this tragic situation his earnest attention. He has been appointed Chairman of an Emergency Committee set up in Geneva which groups a number of organizations religious and nonsectarian such as the National Migration Service and Save the Children Fund. The primary purpose of this Committee is to bring all possible pressure to bear in order to secure the necessary immigration authorizations from our Government for foreign Jews in France.
I fully realize the difficulties which such a proposal entails particularly insofar as transportation and funds are concerned. Nothing, however, can alter the fact that the fate of these little people hangs in the balance. Should the Germans decide to order them over the demarcation line into the occupied zone they may be considered as lost.