548.G1/43: Telegram

The Consul General at Hamilton (Beck) to the Secretary of State

126. Following is for Long from Dodds. Conference convened morning April 21, with question refugees in Spain on agenda. Problem was defined and separated into four sections; (1), relief to those awaiting evacuation; (2), French nationals; (3), Allied nationals accepted for military service; and (4), the balance of approximately 5,000 Central European refugees. It was agreed that the relief of people in category 1 was proceeding on a satisfactory basis and American contribution was recognized. It was also agreed that an adequate machinery for dealing with categories 2 and 3 already existed. However, it should be recommended to the Intergovernmental Committee that continued interest be shown in these people and that their departure should be expedited. The delegates agreed that diplomatic pressure which was agreed to be essential should continue.

Category 4 occasioned considerable discussion ending in partial disagreement between the two delegations. It was first agreed that these refugees should be evacuated in order to increase the possibility of refuge for others. Agreement in principle was reached that the settlement area should be as close as possible to Spain and that the settlement should be temporary with provision for eventual repatriation. The British Delegation then proposed the use of the concentration camps in North Africa for at least transit use. These camps could be administered by the British. This was opposed by the American [Page 158] delegation on the grounds that North Africa was a field of present and possible future military operations. Security and supply considerations make it impossible to recommend this proposal to the military authorities. In addition the Arab danger was factor to be considered. There was also the belief that public opinion within the United States Would not consent to the establishment of concentration camps in an area under control of American arms. The American delegation would be unwilling even to recommend to the Committee that the question be raised at some future date when military considerations permitted unless the matter had the prior approval of the Department. They would prefer that a recommendation be made for the investigation of Angola as a place of refuge. It was finally agreed that the British delegation would submit a written proposal for transmission to the American Government, text of which is contained in my immediately following telegram. [Dodds.]