800.4016 D.P./3–746: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Gallman ) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

2698. Embtels 2407 and 2419, February 28; 2595, March 4,58 correcting 2419 from Penrose. This third message on recent examination of displaced persons questions in Germany. Because of imminent consideration DP questions following analysis is cabled instead of airmailed:

Baltic DPs raise difficult questions for UNRRA and occupying powers. They are genuine DPs in sense that they were moved as result of war, but many appear to have moved into Germany willingly to evade the Russians. Those I interviewed expressed both anti-German and anti-Soviet sentiments. My impression is that majority were sincere in this but that some feel more strongly against the Soviets than against the Germans. From discussions with members of camp teams I suspect there is an appreciable number who are by no means antagonistic to the Germans. Anti-Soviet sentiment is strongest in more educated, especially professional, groups who are nationalistic. These strongly influence manual workers who, if left to themselves might in some cases be persuaded to return. In spite of difficulties I suggest an attempt be made to work out plan under which Soviets [Page 150] could send selected persons from among Baltic peoples who had accepted their regime, to discuss conditions in Baltic area and give assurances that DPs would be accepted and settled without discrimination upon their return. Results might be negligible but at least we would have kept straight our record with Soviets by giving them opportunity to use non-coercive methods to induce return of DPs.
Further systematic screening is needed to determine where possible circumstances in which they came to Germany. It might be justifiable to turn loose certain proportion on grounds that their record in relation to the Germans does not entitle them to Allied aid. Others could establish that they were subject to strong pressure. Repatriation of Baltic DPs is more complicated than of most other DPs because of change in national status of citizens of country of repatriation. Due to circumstances in which recognition has been given to this change, we apparently could not in practice put strong pressure on Baltic DPs with clean records to return, and it would not be consistent with our past declaration to threaten to turn all of them loose without discrimination to fend for themselves with such aid as voluntary bodies might give them.
This raises resettlement question. Prospects of obtaining unanimous agreement in international body to resettlement of Baltic DPs is slender and all observers I met agreed that Baltic DPs would make excellent settlers. This view was supported by our examination of assembly centers. Morale is good, percentage who work is relatively high, education is well organized, knowledge of skilled crafts is unusually extensive, standard of cleanliness is high; self-government is carried further and seems more efficient than among most other groups. There is no doubt that if those who favored Germans could be eliminated, the remainder would make most desirable immigrants.
It seems important, however, that Baltic DPs should not settle en bloc in a western European country and form an anti-Soviet center of political influence. With many Baltic DPs anti-Soviet sentiment is not synonymous with pro-Fascist sentiment, but if it continued actively after resettlement it would be an embarrassment to US. Therefore it seems desirable to explore proposals of overseas settlement where new conditions would overshadow memories of European politics.
Conclusion. I suggest that: (a) Soviets should be offered opportunity if they wish to put case for return fully before Baltic DPs; (b) that because of slender prospects of repatriation, steps be taken immediately by US and UK to discuss discreetly on bilateral basis with Canada, Australia and any other appropriate overseas countries, the possibility of arranging for immigration of as many Baltic DPs as possible among those who have passed screening test.

  1. Telegram 2595, dated March 5, contained corrections, chiefly grammatical, for paragraph 4 of telegram 2419. These were incorporated into the action copy and are part of the source text. (800.4016 DP/3–546)