811.111 Refugee Children/99: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Tuck) to the Secretary of State

1503. Reference Department’s 600, September 28, 8 p.m., Laval sent for me this afternoon and stated that he was prepared to allow the children to leave France provided I could obtain an official assurance from my Government that their arrival in the United States would not be made the subject of propaganda or the occasion for public demonstrations. I replied that such a request was a preposterous one to ask me to put forward. I told him that the step which we desired to take was prompted by humanitarian motives alone and that in a country in which there existed freedom of press and public opinion my Government was in no position to give such assurances.

I therefore suggested that he should authorize me to inform the Department that he agreed to the departure of these children from France and that I would at the same time agree to recommend—in the interest of those Jews remaining in Europe and the possibility of German reprisal—that the eventual arrival of these refugee children in the United States should not be made the occasion for propaganda or demonstrations.

He agreed to this suggestion and authorized me to inform my Government accordingly. He then asked me what plans would be made for evacuating the children and whether they would leave in large numbers or in driblets. I replied that I was not familiar with the details but that I presumed that in view of the existing transportation difficulties it was reasonable to assume that they would leave in successive and limited groups. Laval instructed Bousquet, Secretary General of Police at the Ministry of the Interior, (who was present at the meeting) to prepare a census of these children. I have made arrangements whereby Dr. Lowrie and other persons representing American organizations interested in this matter will get in touch with Bousquet on October 16 to arrange details.

[Page 716]

I took occasion to inform Laval of the purport of the Department’s 613 October 6, 7 p.m.,16 to which he expressed agreement.


[Vichy France broke off diplomatic relations with the United States on November 8, 1942, following the Allied landing in North Africa. Consequently the agreement regarding the evacuation of children from Vichy France was never executed.]

  1. Not printed; it stated that the authorization of visas relating to refugee children applied to those born in France of refugee parents (811.111 Refugee Children/92).