840.50 UNRRA/2–1945

The Second Secretary of the British Embassy ( Everson ) to the Adviser on Refugees and Displaced Persons ( Warren )

Dear Mr. Warren: I write to confirm our talk on the subject of U.N.R.R.A. taking over the responsibility for dealing with Italian displaced persons found in Germany.

An approach on this subject was made to His Majesty’s Ambassador in Rome8 by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.9 The present situation, resulting from various council resolutions bearing on the matter, is that U.N.R.R.A. is authorized, within certain limitations, to deal with Italians displaced inside Italy, but not with those found in enemy territory. U.N.R.R.A. will be dealing with vast numbers of displaced persons in Germany and it may be very inconvenient to the Allied military authorities if U.N.R.R.A. are not allowed to take the Italians in their stride. As it is possible that Italian workers may be found in western portions of Germany which are now being invaded by Allied forces, a decision on this question must be taken in the near future.

We foresee that the suggestion may meet with certain objections. Public opinion in England is strongly against the Italians receiving treatment as good as that accorded to Allied nationals or neutrals and we may well suppose that the attitude of the Governments and people of France, Yugoslavia, and Greece may be even more adverse. These Governments and His Majesty’s Government might be subjected to particularly violent criticism if it turned out that U.N.R.R.A. was dealing with large numbers of enemy or ex-enemy nationals and it is therefore not proposed to invoke this proposal, if adopted, as a precedent for allowing U.N.R.R.A. to deal with other displaced enemy nationals than those dealt with in Montreal Resolutions Nos. 47, 57 and 60.10

The Foreign Office asks for your views on the subject. If you agree with the proposal they suggest raising it first in the European Technical Sub-committee on Displaced Persons. Of course a final resolution on the subject can only come from the Council or Central Committee but perhaps progress would be somewhat speeded up if the Sub-committee were seized of the problem in advance of a meeting of the superior organs of U.N.R.R.A.

I should be glad to have your views on the whole problem.

Yours sincerely,

F. C. Everson
  1. Sir Noel H. H. Charles.
  2. Alcide de Gasperi.
  3. Reference is to the Second UNRRA Council which met at Montreal, September 15–27, 1944; for texts of Resolutions 47, 57, and 60, see George Woodbridge, UNRRA: The History of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, vol. iii (New York, Columbia University Press, 1950), pp. 92, 135, and 137, respectively.