840.50 UNRRA/5–1845: Telegram

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

4079. For the Ambassador from Acheson. I have received through the Embassy here a message from Law43 expressing concern as to UNRRA’s relations with SHAEF on displaced persons, and its failure to provide the teams and equipment necessary for this work. I have also seen your 4992, May 18, 1945.44 Law suggests that I should join with him in urging the Combined Chiefs of Staff to instruct SHAEF to give every cooperation and facility to UNRRA. I am somewhat in doubt as to exactly what Law has in mind since UNRRA at this stage can obviously not do as effective a job on displaced persons as SHAEF is performing, particularly with respect to repatriation of Western European nationals. Please deliver the following message from me to Law, and I would be glad to have any comments or recommendations which you may wish to make in connection with his response:45

“I have your message of May 15 which I received through the courtesy of Marris in the Embassy here. I share your concern at UNRRA’s failure to provide on time a sufficient number of teams and equipment as requested by SHAEF for displaced persons work in Germany, and will impress upon UNRRA in Washington the importance of taking every possible step to correct this situation. We continue to recognize UNRRA as having responsibility for handling United Nations displaced persons in Germany, and believe that UNRRA should receive the full support and facilities of SHAEF in that connection. It seems to me, however, that SHAEF’s present remarkable progress in repatriating Western European nationals could not be matched by any civilian organization, and that UNRRA’s assumption of responsibility will be considerably facilitated if SHAEF succeeds in moving out large numbers of the immediate repatriable in the near future. I am also impressed by the shortage of military food stocks to feed displaced persons and hesitate to burden UNRRA with criticism in this connection for which it is not responsible.

“The UNRRA agreement with SCAEF provides for UNRRA’s protection as the agency responsible for handling displaced persons in the SHAEF zones of Germany, and I am not entirely sure what additional instruction the Combined Chiefs of Staff could give to SCAEF except possibly to expedite release of equipment for the UNRRA teams and to assist their entry into Germany, and subsequent [Page 1166] operation there, in every way possible. We have already joined with the British Embassy here in a cable to SCAEF through the Combined Civil Affairs Committee urging the former to extend every facility to Jackson during his forthcoming visit to Supreme Headquarters. Lehman is also being asked to appear at the next CCAC47 meeting to discuss UNRRA’s readiness to assume responsibilities for displaced persons in Germany. If you have any additional suggestions for instructions to SHAEF by CCS48 in this matter, I should be glad to receive them.”

  1. Not printed, but see letter from the Counselor of the British Embassy, May 16, p. 1162.
  2. Not printed.
  3. The message was sent at the recommendation of Donald S. Gilpatric, Adviser, War Areas Economic Division.
  4. Combined Civil Affairs Committee.
  5. Combined Chiefs of Staff (American and British).