840.50 UNRRA/6–1145

The Director General, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ( Lehman ) to the Assistant Secretary of State ( Acheson )

Dear Mr. Acheson: You have asked me for a statement of the relative responsibilities of UNRRA and the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees with respect to assistance to displaced persons.

UNRRA has been authorized to carry out operations for the care and repatriation or return of displaced United Nations nationals and stateless persons, wherever found. It has also been authorized to carry cut operations, both in liberated and in enemy or ex-enemy territory, for the care and repatriation or return of persons of other than United Nations nationality who have been obliged to leave their country or place of origin or former residence or who have been deported by action of the enemy, because of race, religion or activities in favor of the United Nations.

In accordance with the basic purposes of UNRRA, it is authorized to assist, as displaced persons, only persons who have been displaced by the present war. Refugees, forced into exile at the end of World War I or in the period between the two world wars, do not come within the scope of this authority if they have not been again displaced by the present war. Such persons must remain the responsibility of the IGC.

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Of the persons whom UNRRA is authorized to help, there may be many who cannot or, for sound reasons, do not wish to be repatriated or returned to their former homes. It is not a part of UNRRA’s functions to find new homes for such persons. That is the responsibility of the IGC. However, since such persons will originally be found among the repatriable displaced persons, UNRRA has undertaken to care for them for a reasonable period until the IGC is able to assume its responsibility for them. Tentatively, the “reasonable period” has been defined as six months. UNRRA’s practice is to notify the IGC when it has identified certain displaced persons as non-repatriable. It then expects IGC to prepare to accept these persons at the end of six months after such notice.

Sincerely yours,

Herbert H. Lehman