840.48 Refugees/3881a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Algiers (Wiley)

1103. For Murphy and Hoehler from Lehman. Department is considering the question of establishing a refugee camp in North [Page 311] Africa for the reception of stateless refugees, enemy aliens, allied nationals and Jews of various nationalities who are now in Spain. Matter is entirely in exploratory state but if agreement should be reached with War Department and French officials it is probable that we would be asked to operate such a camp as purely American project. Present thought is that a new camp should be developed rather than using one of previous internment camp sites. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 men and women would be housed in such a camp at any given time.

Would like your judgment on following points;

Would it be feasible for our staff to operate such a camp as direct American project with necessary guards provided by the Army or French?
Would present Lend-Lease supplies allotted to you be available for construction and subsequent supply to such a camp?
Would special supplies in addition to those now being sent to North Africa be necessary for this purpose?
What cash funds would be required for camp construction?
What do you estimate continuing cash expenditure would be for operation of camp of this character over and above probable Lend-Lease supplies available for this purpose?
How many American staff members would be needed for operation and could they be made available from your present staff in North Africa?

If plan materializes we would prefer to have camp operated by personnel on our payroll and not by private agency personnel loaned to us.

Please treat this matter in strictest confidence. You will readily appreciate the very undesirable repercussions which would follow should the project become public and be found impossible of accomplishment. [Lehman.]