The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 14

My Dear Mr. President: One of the very important matters engaging the attention of the Department is that of the refugees in Europe. As you know, a very large meeting was held in New York recently under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress. Various other meetings have been held in other parts of the United States. These meetings are manifestations of a deep sentiment on the part of the Jewish elements of our population. There is also a deep-lying sympathy for the plight of these unfortunate people in the other elements of our population.

The British Government is also interested in the problem.

There has recently been an exchange of notes between the American and British Governments in which it was agreed to discuss the matter between ourselves to ascertain possible ways and means which might be recommended to the Executive Committee of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, which in turn was the product of the Evian Conference and which seems an instrumentality already at hand and which might attempt to give effect to practical steps to be of aid to these oppressed people.

While it was contemplated that the preliminary meeting between this Government and Great Britain should be held at Ottawa it has since been decided to hold the meeting in another place, possibly Bermuda, but not in either Washington or London.

It will be proper to designate representatives on the part of the United States to meet with the British and to consider the recommendations [Page 147] which will be made to the Executive Committee of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.

Considering the intense and widespread feeling on this subject it would seem that an outstanding person with an eminent reputation for vigorous and honest mentality be selected to head the delegation and it seems equally reasonable to suggest that a member of the Senate and a member of the House be named as delegates. The reason for the latter is that the question of expense in dealing with some of these problems may be presented and that the Congressional responsibility in those matters might be party to the decision.

For these reasons I have to suggest for your consideration to represent the United States

  • Mr. Justice Roberts as head of the American delegation, to be supported by
  • Senator Scott Lucas of Illinois and
  • Mr. Sol Bloom of New York.

Mr. Robert Borden Reams, a Foreign Service officer presently acting as Secretary to the Executive Committee of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees is indicated as Secretary of the Delegation.

It may be advisable to name one or more additional delegates whom you would probably care to choose from those who have not been heretofore active in this particular matter but who might lend weight to calm, deliberate councils and be helpful in a solution of the problem.

I had hoped to suggest the name of Mr. Myron Taylor,15 but he is so engaged in other matters of great importance in connection with the post-war work and with some other important matters that it hardly seems practical for him to be absent from the scene of his present duties.

I would be glad to be advised of your pleasure.

Faithfully yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Marginal note: “CH OK FDR”.
  2. Member of President Roosevelt’s Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy, and Personal Representative of the President to Pope Pius XII.