840.48 Refugees/5260: Telegram

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

1503. Refer to your 1554 of February 25 with respect to anticipated debate in the House of Commons on the refugee problem. As previously stated, it is the policy of this Government to encourage and participate in effective cooperative efforts with other governments in taking all possible measures for the speedy rescue and relief of the Jews of Europe and other victims of Hitler’s persecution. This Government hopes and believes that its actions in this matter will not be unilateral and that the British Government will actively cooperate in concrete measures designed to carry out this policy.

We agree that it would be unfortunate if this Government and the British Government should drift apart in refugee policy. We hope such will not be the case. Whether this will happen is not of course dependent as much upon the expressions of policy made by each government as it is upon the actual steps which are taken by each government to put these policies into effect.

Although the War Refugee Board has been in existence only a few weeks a number of concrete measures have been initiated for the purpose of carrying out without delay the policy announced by the President. The Board is now preparing for your information and for submission to the British Government a detailed statement of the action already taken and of the programs initiated to rescue and bring relief to war refugees. We feel that the Foreign Office should know, before making its proposed reply in Parliament, that the Board has under consideration various additional steps of which we hope to apprise it in the near future. The British Government will then be in a better position to judge the actual significance of the policy of this Government and to determine the steps it is prepared to take to carry out a similar policy.

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The War Refugee Board has no objection in principle to a plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee, but has not definitely formulated its views on future actions which may be requested of the Committee.

The War Refugee Board is pleased to be informed that the British Foreign Office has instructed all of its missions abroad to consult with United States diplomatic and consular representatives with a view to cooperative action.