The Secretary of State to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Bevin)1


Dear Mr. Bevin: I have received your letter of June 27, 1947, in which you expressed your deep concern over the question of illegal immigration into Palestine, and asked whether you could count upon, the assistance of my government in preventing the situation from deteriorating still further. You requested particularly that United States officials and representatives on charitable and refugee organizations in Europe be requested to discourage the unauthorized movement of Jewish refugees leading to their departure on illegal immigrant ships for Palestine.

You are undoubtedly aware of the complexities and difficulties involved in stopping this solicitation of funds or outfitting of vessels for use in transporting illegal immigrants. Our Treasury and Justice Departments have been requested to study the matter2 in order to see [Page 1137] whether ways exist in which to meet the requests which your Government has made in this connection. I am endeavoring to expedite their decisions in this regard.

Recently export licenses which had been issued for four LST’s were revoked by this Department when evidence was received indicating that they were intended for use in the illegal immigrant traffic. We shall endeavor to see that no vessels owned by the United States Government are sold in the future to persons whose activities provide grounds for believing that the ships would be used for the purpose of transporting illegal immigrants to Palestine.

I may also add that the War Department on April 15, 1947 instructed the United States military authorities in the American Zones of Germany and Austria that admittance was to be refused to displaced persons camps after April 21, 1947 except in certain special cases. It is believed that this action in the American Zones of Germany and Austria may have the effect of restricting the general flow of refugees in Europe.

Although United States representatives in Europe are familiar with the President’s statement of June 5, 1947, I am calling it to their special attention, and have directed them to comply fully with the policy therein set forth, since the movement of illegal immigrants towards Palestine at the present time tends further to complicate an already delicate situation.

I hope that these measures will prove helpful in discouraging further unauthorized movements of Jewish refugees and the departure of illegal immigrant ships for Palestine.

Faithfully yours,

G. C. Marshall
  1. Delivered at the British Embassy on August 7.
  2. Letters of August 7 to these Departments, not printed.