840.48 Refugees/4068: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Messersmith)

A–2216. Reference you’re a–1699, July 23, 1943, 11:00 a.m. and previous correspondence in connection with settlement of Polish refugees in Mexico.

The Department realizes, of course, the problems which invariably arise when refugees seek employment in the country of refuge. Nevertheless the Department is somewhat at a loss to understand the statement in your airgram under reference that the agreement between Foreign Minister Padilla and the late General Sikorski “automatically prevents their being employed privately in Mexico or entering into business here.”

Article 5 in Padilla’s note, consented to by General Sikorski, reads as follows:

“5. The Polish Legation has received instructions to cooperate fully with the Government of Mexico to the effect that the Polish citizens [Page 334] received here be distributed throughout appropriate zones, in order that the various groups may select their own representatives—who will cooperate with the respective Mexican officials—and who will particularly achieve the establishment of those immigrants who may be able to engage in various activities beneficial to the agricultural and industrial economy of Mexico without competing with Mexican citizens; a matter which shall be subject in every respect to the determination of the corresponding authorities of that country.”

This certainly contemplates the entry of Polish immigrants into noncompetitive activities.

A possible method of approach would be to suggest to the Polish Legation that it initiate discussions with the competent Mexican officials with a view to ascertaining those lines of endeavor in which openings for these immigrants can be had. On the basis of such studies, further measures may be planned.

Neither OFRO3 nor the Polish Embassy is aware of any promises made to these refugees of the kind you mention, and any further information you may be able to get for us in that regard would be useful.

The Department suggests that you inform the British Minister that we consider the entry of further groups of Polish refugees into Mexico to be a matter for discussion between the Polish Legation and the Government of Mexico. As you are aware, at the time of the Sikorski-Padilla correspondence, the Polish Government indicated that they hoped to bring over a total of approximately 3,000 refugees during the first year; but their agreement with the Mexican Government contemplated a total number of 25,000 refugees. We would not think it wise to actively assist in arranging transport for additional immigrants, however, until some clarification is achieved on the question of employment possibilities in Mexico.

  1. Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations.