840.48 Refugees/5498c: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)57

991. From the War Refugee Board. Tonight’s radio bulletin contains an important statement by the President on refugees and Nazi persecutions.58

The War Refugee Board is convinced that it is of utmost importance to undertake at once an organized and concentrated effort to make clear, by all appropriate means, to all Axis satellites that the Allied Governments view in a most serious light their assistance in any form to Hitler’s program to exterminate the Jews, and other similar groups, regarding all such action as criminal participation in organized murder. The Board also believes it necessary to make clear to the satellites by all possible means, its intention to do everything in its power to rescue such unfortunates who are in danger of death, in order not only to give the satellites a clear view of the attitude of this country in the matter, but also of the opportunities which exist for assisting in the execution of our policy. The Board feels very strongly that a campaign of this kind must be made through all [Page 1016] possible channels and be constantly repeated at every available opportunity.

You are requested to see that the utmost publicity be immediately given to the President’s statement in local newspapers, radio, and in any other manner feasible. Please make every endeavor to have this publicity included on such radio broadcasts for foreign consumption as may emanate from the country to which you are accredited. It would be extremely helpful if you could obtain favorable comment from prominent governmental or other personages with respect to the statement for use in connection with the publicity program.

For your information, in view of the importance of the statement and the program which it implements, the Office of War Information expects to employ its full facilities in calling this matter and appropriate comment thereon to the attention of Axis, satellite and other countries.

You are requested to report by cable as soon as possible the measures you have taken to comply with these instructions together with the results thereof. Significant clippings and official comment should be sent by airmail. It must be borne in mind that the effectiveness of this statement will depend in large measure upon the extent to which adequate publicity can be obtained for it, particularly in German controlled Europe.

This cable has been cleared with the Office of War Information. [War Refugee Board.]

  1. Repeated on the same date to London, Moscow, Stockholm, Lisbon, Madrid, Ankara, Cairo, and Algiers.
  2. For text, see p. 1230.