840.48 Refugees/4100b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Algiers (Wiley)99

1383. For Murphy. Reference Department’s 774, April 23, 7 p.m., and your 750 [758], April 30, 6 p.m., regarding refugees in Spain. The President after discussion with Mr. Churchill directs that you ask General Eisenhower and the French North African authorities to designate a place in French North Africa as a place of temporary residence for those refugees of enemy nationality or stateless at present in Spain whose numbers are still estimated to be around 6,000 at present. It is unlikely that this entire group would arrive at one time. Quarters should be located immediately for approximately 1,500 with the understanding that additional space for the entire number may be required at a later date. We understand from Royce and Hoehler that this entire question was discussed with General Hughes1 some weeks ago. The staff of the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations has presumably been exploring possible sites in Morocco and may have useful suggestions. The care of the refugees at such temporary place of residence will be the responsibility of that Office under Governor Lehman, with representatives of the British Government cooperating and assisting. The President is directing the Secretary of War to issue instructions to the Army authorities concerned to cooperate fully with that Office in that connection with the thought that it may be necessary for the Army among other things to provide cots and tents and other equipment required for the immediate care of the refugees and the requisitioning or construction of buildings for their better housing.

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The land transportation in Spain of these refugees to the selected port of embarkation will be arranged by the American and British Embassies and Legations in Spain and Portugal. Sea transportation will be arranged by the British Government. The costs of the refugees’ transportation and their maintenance in the place of temporary residence will be borne equally by the British and American Governments.

The President informed Mr. Churchill that he is in complete accord2 with the thought of the French military authorities in North Africa that both for political and military reasons it is essential to transfer the refugees, after their arrival at the temporary place of residence, to a place of more permanent settlement for the duration of the war. To avoid the implication that the United States is conducting a concentration camp for these refugees it is contemplated that they should be given some freedom of movement and that those who are qualified to help meet the labor shortage in French North Africa should be granted permits to work temporarily while awaiting transfer elsewhere.

The subsequent transportation of the refugees from the temporary place of residence to places of more permanent settlement and their continued care thereafter will be matters to which the Executive Committee of the Intergovernment[al] Committee on Refugees, of which this Government is a member, will attend.

  1. Marginal note: “OK FDR”.
  2. Gen. Everett S. Hughes, Deputy Theater Commander, North Africa.
  3. See p. 324, paragraph numbered 9.