840.48 Refugees/4181a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

4860. For Riefler11 and Funkhouser12 from Stone13 and Lehman. Some time ago British Embassy here through Noel Hall14 reported that Swiss Government had responded favorably to a preliminary approach relative to receiving in Switzerland up to 100,000 children from occupied areas for a limited period. British suggested to us that Swiss Government be asked to take responsibility for selecting the children solely on the basis of their need for improved living and food conditions and without reference to political or racial qualifications.

Possibility of a similar scheme for sending children to Sweden has been discussed with the British. Department and Office of Foreign Relief are greatly interested in this plan and also in the special proposal to transfer 20,000 Jewish children from Germany and occupied areas primarily Poland to Sweden for the duration of the war which was initiated by Mr. Adler-Rudel, representative of the World Jewish Congress, and discussed by British Minister in Stockholm with [Page 341] Swedish Government and referred to in your telegram 4095 of June 21.15 The two Swedish schemes are under active consideration here but no final decision has been taken as yet as to the best means of promoting them.

However, there seems to be no reason why the original Swiss plan should not be pressed. British suggest that negotiations to this end be transferred to London in connection with the forthcoming Anglo-American-Swiss war trade negotiations.16 The original British proposal called for permission for Switzerland to import additional foodstuffs, fodder and raw material for clothing to make up for any supplies the Swiss might use for the children but stipulated that the Allied governments must make the necessary arrangements for the acquisition of Swiss francs, which should not be secured against sterling, or against gold under the proposed Anglo-Swiss financial agreement. (It would probably be necessary for us to make a similar stipulation that if the use of Allied dollar balances is necessary to finance these arrangements, the Allied governments must arrange directly with the Swiss for the acquisition of francs against blocked dollars). After agreement with the Swiss Government the latter would be asked to approach the German Government and to assume responsibility for selecting the children and for their transportation to and care in Switzerland and possibly the cost of their maintenance within Switzerland. Costs outside Switzerland could presumably be taken care of by the Allied governments or lend-leased.

You are instructed jointly to discuss this plan with MEW17 which is fully familiar with it. OEW18 sees no objection to it as outlined above provided the plan for selecting the children is satisfactory. The Department concurs and would like to see the matter pressed as rapidly as possible.

Copies of correspondence with Noel Hall are being sent by air mail. [Stone and Lehman.]

  1. Winfield W. Riefler, economist, acting as special assistant to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom.
  2. Richard Funkhouser, Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations.
  3. William T. Stone, Assistant Director of the Board of Economic Warfare.
  4. Former British Minister in the United States.
  5. Not printed.
  6. See vol. ii, section under Switzerland entitled “War Trade Agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland”.
  7. British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  8. Office of Economic Warfare.