840.48 Refugees/1–2545: Telegram

The Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle) to the Secretary of State

531. For WRB from McClelland. Department’s 240, January 16, WRB’s 364. In course of constant contact with various officials and agencies of Swiss Government during past many months on subject of admission to Switzerland of refugees from Nazi persecution, we [Page 1126] have observed no lack of willingness on part of Swiss to grant large numbers of such persons temporary asylum. On contrary Swiss have repeatedly interceded with Germans as in case of projected evacuation of upwards of 12,000 Jews from Budapest in effort to expedite and organize such evacuation.

On occasion of coming of second Bergen-Belsen convoy of 1300 individuals in early December Federal police was somewhat disturbed over unannounced arrival of group of unknown persons of this size from Germany on understandable grounds of military and internal security.

We have repeatedly conveyed to Swiss our Government’s assurance that any such refugees admitted to Switzerland would be evacuated as promptly as possible. Although Swiss have not as yet chosen to avail themselves of our offers of maintenance they took occasion in course of recent discussions relative to conversion of dollar equivalent of the 20,000,000 into Swiss francs to express informally their distress at United States unwillingness to allow them import into Switzerland even from Spain some 300,000 tons of foodstuffs purchased for general Swiss consumption and warehoused in Spain for past many months. Our lack of understanding (as they interpret it) of growing difficulties their food situation and our simultaneous requests that they admit large numbers of new refugees contrast rather unfavorably in their minds. It is worth nothing [noting?] in this respect that Switzerland has recently received a new contingent of close to 10,000 French refugee children from the Muhlhouse [Mulhouse] region. [McClelland.]