840.48 Refugees/5137

Memorandum by the British Delegation1


Up till now approaches to neutral countries on refugee questions have been conducted by joint efforts of Foreign Office and State Department. At Bermuda2 we thought that approaches of this kind would have much more chance of success if they were made not by Foreign Office or State Department but by Intergovernmental Committee as a whole. It would seem sensible therefore to arrange that Intergovernmental Committee should from now on take over approaches of this kind. This would not cut either of us out of the picture since we are both represented on the Committee and nothing would in fact be done without our consent but if we are to use Intergovernmental Committee for this purpose it is essential that there should be quicker decisions than there have been in the past[;] otherwise the Committee will become an object of ridicule and both our Governments will be open to the most serious criticism. Any announcement of a decision to proceed on these lines should make it clear that the two Governments are not in any way disinteresting themselves from these questions, but are convinced that this procedure will make for greater efficiency and expedition.

  1. According to a paper attached to this document, this memorandum was handed to Hull at Quebec.
  2. Concerning the Bermuda Conference to consider the refugee problem, held April 19–28, 1943, and the work of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 134 ff.