840.48 Refugees/4104b: Telegram

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

1400. For Fryer4 from Lehman. The President and Mr. Churchill have now personally agreed upon a plan of providing temporary reception and care in North Africa of enemy nationality and stateless refugees presently in Spain. These refugees will remain in North Africa until arrangements for their more permanent care elsewhere can be made by the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.

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Responsibility for care and maintenance in North Africa has been placed upon our office with agreement that the British Government will provide some personnel to assist in operation under our direction. A special allotment of $500,000 has been made for this project with the understanding that the British will share expenses and provide a similar amount if this total is needed. Details of joint financing have not yet been worked out but presumably we will meet initial expenses and British will reimburse us.

Murphy has been directed to secure designation of site for temporary residence from Eisenhower and French North African authorities. He has been advised that Hoehler discussed this question with General Hughes and that you may have suggestions as to possible site.

Plans for care in North Africa include provision that refugees 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.

President has written the Secretary of War in part as follows: “I desire you to issue instructions to the Army authorities concerned to cooperate fully with the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations in that office’s responsibility for the reception and care of the refugees upon their arrival in French North Africa. This may entail, among other things, the provision of 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.”

We understand from Hoehler and Royce that new construction difficult and that use of existing structures in or near Casablanca probably best solution of housing problem.

We now believe that original plans should be made for reception of about 1500 although it is possible that first movement may be of smaller number.

So far as practicable maintenance supplies should be provided from your present stockpiles or current Lend-Lease shipments. Cash funds now allotted can be used, of course, for purchase there of essential maintenance supplies not otherwise available, as well as housing, etc.

Discuss project with Murphy and advise us as quickly as possible of plans which you propose including probable cost, personnel required and proposed plan of operation. Also indicate date when first refugees could be received and number which you believe could probably be handled in first group. [Lehman.]

  1. E. Reeseman Fryer, Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations; on staff of Robert D. Murphy, Chief Civil Affairs Officer at Algiers.