840.48 Refugees/3880

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Long)

Sir Ronald came in this morning at his request and asked for an answer, if possible, to the inquiry made to the Secretary of State by Lord Halifax and subsequently referred to by Sir Ronald in a conversation with Mr. Welles and which was the subject of a memorandum from Mr. Welles.77

I told Sir Ronald that perhaps Lord Halifax had received from his Government information which indicated to him that arrangements of a definitive character had been made for the reception of [Page 310] refugees in North Africa when that was not exactly the case. I then proceeded to explain that while the French authorities had agreed in principle and while the American Joint Chiefs of Staff had disagreed, and while the matter had been brought to the attention of the White House, it was all related to the general subject of refugees, which had been the reason for the Bermuda Conference. This Conference had reported and recommended the convocation of the Executive Committee of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. Before we attended that Committee meeting or specifically sponsored its convocation, the American Government had felt that the American delegate ought to have certain definite authority. The matter had been referred to the President during the visit of the Prime Minister.79 We have now been informed that the President discussed the matter with Mr. Churchill but that Mr. Churchill had stated that it would be necessary for him to consult his authorities in London before he could give a definitive answer and go along with the President. The President had not yet heard from Mr. Churchill. Consequently, while the matter had been referred “across the street” by us, it had been referred “across the ocean” by Mr. Churchill and we were still waiting to hear from England.

I went on to express the deep interest we had and to review the situation as it existed in Spain, stating that we would be very glad to see that whole situation picked up by the Intergovernmental Executive Committee and carried forward.

I also told Sir Ronald of a very interesting telegram which had been brought to our attention from Rabbi Perlszweig which possibly his Government had also had access to and which indicated a change of policy and possibly of mind of some of the gentlemen who had been very active, and which further indicated that they were convinced that no very real results could be obtained in the movement for the evacuation of Jewish people from territory held by the enemy. Their new point of view seemed to be realistic and in line with the beliefs of our two Governments as indicated at Bermuda.

B[reckinridge] L[ong]
  1. Dated May 27, p. 307.
  2. Prime Minister Churchill was in Washington for a conference with President Roosevelt May 12–25, 1943. Correspondence regarding this conference is scheduled for publication in a subsequent volume of Foreign Relations.