840.4016 D.P./3–846: Telegram

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


2738. This is fourth message on recent examination DP questions in Germany (third message was Embtel 2698 from Penrose).

Zonal agreements on displaced persons. We found that cooperation in recent months between UNRRA and military has been most satisfactory. There are differences between terms of formal agreement signed by US military and that signed by Montgomery.59 These differences do not affect practices in the two zones however. In each zone actual practice followed is very much the same whatever the precise terms of the paper agreements. Though agreement in US zone has just been signed we found there had been greater transference up to December from military to UNRRA than in UK zone.
UNRRA Organization. We found that military organization for running camps was being rapidly reduced to leave only enough by Feb 15 to deal with certain ex-enemy categories which UNRRA was not permitted to cover. At Frankfurt Hq most of the able staff which had been attached to General Mickelsen had been disbanded. Policy of handing over functions to UNRRA was pursued wholeheartedly and UNRRA after difficulties has done creditable job of organization in Germany. UNRRA organization has been indispensable for the care and supervision of over half million DPs. The first aims of policy should be to repatriate as rapidly as transport arrangements can be made all who can be persuaded to return to their countries and then to arrange resettlement of remainder. Precise time this will take is uncertain but in meantime there is everything to be said for maintenance UNRRA organization which has been built up under difficulties and in cooperation with military has brought order to what was in first stages of liberation chaos.
Prevention of demoralization. Even in best assembly centers it was clear to us that long continued maintenance of morale among DPs is most difficult question as types of work available for DPs is so limited, uncertainties about the future are so great and daily routine can be varied so little that demoralization is almost unavoidable in [Page 152] long run. The only ultimate remedy is a repatriation or resettlement but in most cases demoralization would begin much sooner and go much further if there were no UNRRA teams and no organized centers. My full report will illustrate great urgency in organization of work, recreation, education of children and health care in centers. While DPs remain, the maintenance of present form of organization is necessary to reduce demoralization.
Note on infiltree movement. The distinction between genuine displaced persons and infiltrees is clear cut in most definitions but our extensive conversations with infiltrees show that in practice part of the infiltree movement is a movement in the direction of reuniting families, a process which is going on all over Europe today. It should be noted that as far as actual movement of DPs is concerned there is no “iron curtain” across Europe.
  1. Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery, Military Governor, British zone of occupation in Germany. For texts of the agreements between UNRRA and the United Kingdom and United States zonal authorities concerning displaced per sons, signed respectively on November 27, 1945 and February 19, 1946, see George Woodbridge, UNRRA: The History of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (New York, Columbia University Press, 1950), vol. iii, pp. 185 and 201.