Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Egyptian Minister called to see me this morning at his request. He left with me the note attached herewith.32 The Minister talked at some length along the lines of the communication he was instructed to make. He added the bright thought that a good thing for the United Nations now to do with regard to the Jewish refugees who might be brought out from Europe would be to send a batch of them to each of the United Nations, the number in each batch to be in proportion to the total population of the country to which the group was sent.

I told the Minister that I believed that after the war was won and the principles for which we were fighting in Europe had been established, the overwhelming majority of Jewish refugees would wish to return to their countries of origin, and in that way the grave problem which we had been discussing would in great part be solved. I said it was true in my judgment that a small number, for one reason or another, would wish to seek new homes in other lands, but that I had no reason to believe that the majority of even this small group would desire to proceed to Palestine. I said furthermore that it was the hope of this Government that a solution of the question of Palestine after the war would be brought about through the negotiation of a friendly agreement on the part of the peoples directly concerned.

I said, however, that the immediate problem before us was the appalling situation resulting from the apparent willingness of the Bulgarian Government to give in to German pressure by deporting to Poland the Jews of Bulgaria, and that the immediate question, therefore, was to try to find the way in which this atrocity could be prevented. I said it was not the thought of either the British or United States Governments that these refugees, if they could be extricated, be sent to Palestine. I said that the lack of shipping facilities alone would make such a movement very difficult of accomplishment. I explained to the Minister in general terms the hope we had expressed to the Turkish Government that we might obtain the assistance of the Turkish Government in solving this problem for the duration of the war, with the guarantee that any Jews that were admitted into Turkey would be repatriated at the end of the war.

The Minister seemed to be quite satisfied with the statement I made to him and decidedly apologetic for having had to carry out the instructions communicated to him by his Government.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Note not printed; for memorandum attached to the note, see supra.