840.50 UNRRA/5–1945

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Kirk)

851. UNRRA from Lehman.38 Not clear whether following cable #B/122 received from Belgrade 11 May was repeated to you:

  • “1. Your Memo 6 April39 received.
  • 2. Problem complicated as UNRRA aid to displaced persons hitherto not envisaged by us as aid for political refugees from States members of United Nations and UNRRA Council.
  • 3. If precedent UNRRA support for these Jugoslavs accepted it logically involves UNRRA support for many further thousand Jugoslavs now in Germany but opposed to present regime and for political refugees other members United Nations including hundreds thousand Poles unwilling return Poland.
  • 4. Further difficulty is that acceptance by UNRRA of responsibility these Jugoslavs against wishes Jugoslav Government will lead not only to violent conflict between Jugoslav authorities and UNRRA with most adverse effect on work UNRRA Jugoslav Mission but Jugoslav attitude will certainly find support with number other council members with consequent serious split in council.
  • 5. After detailed discussion with American and British Embassies Belgrade consider decisions should be postponed and Jugoslavs held provisionally in Italy in camps under military or AC40 control. Advantage this postponement is that it gives time for consideration on high level between major powers of general questions of
    Handing over to United Nations Government of their nationals accused by them of war crimes.
    General disposal political refugees of United Nations nationality.
  • 6. Suggest in any case general policy should be threshed out at next UNRRA Council.41
  • 7. Have deferred discussion on above with Jugoslav Ministry Foreign Affairs pending your reply.”

Exploring with State Department and British Embassy possibility US and UK governments will direct AC or military to care for Jugoslav nationals Italy temporarily as suggested paragraph 5 above to defer issue for possible consideration Council meeting. [Lehman.]

  1. Herbert H. Lehman, Director General of UNRRA.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Allied Commission.
  4. At the London session of the UNRRA Council, August 7–24, 1945, Resolution 71 on Displaced Persons was passed. For text of resolution and summary of action, see Woodbridge, UNRRA, vol. iii, p. 142, and vol. ii, pp. 486–487.