840.48 Refugees/4980: Telegram

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

625. World Jewish Congress has received following cable from its representative in Lisbon:

“About ten thousand Turkish Jews since generations and actually living France are in great difficulties pending recognition of their nationality according laws issued some years ago similar Polish 1938. [Page 987] Their deportation to Poland imminent being considered as apatrides.18 Please intervene urgently Turkish Government through Turkish Ambassador Washington for saving these unfortunates recognising them provisorily as Turkish subjects.”

Department received telegram 49 January 10 from Ankara19 stating Rabbi Wise20 had requested that matter be placed before Turkish Government. Embassy at Ankara made informal approach to Turkish officials and was informed that Turkish Government would take whatever steps possible to afford protection to the persons in question and that insofar as concerns those who are able to establish Turkish citizenship the same treatment will be demanded for them as is accorded other Turkish citizens. As concerns those who are unable to establish Turkish citizenship doubt was expressed that the Vichy authorities will recognize the rights of Turkish officials to intervene on their behalf.

Department has asked the Embassy at Ankara to express the hope of this Government that Turkish officials will interpret as liberally as possible the citizenship status of those in question.21

Please refer to IGC Director requesting the Committee take any further action it may deem advisable and inform Department.

  1. Stateless persons.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Stephen S. Wise, President of World Jewish Congress.
  4. As a result of representations by the Ambassador in Turkey, by mid-March the Turkish Government had authorized entrance visas for about 700 of the 10,000 Turkish Jews, and, within a few weeks, several hundred repatriates had actually reached Turkey from France. The eventual liberation of France by Allied forces put an end to dangers facing hundreds of Turkish Jews remaining in that country.