840.48 Refugees/12–2048

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Forrestal)

My Dear Mr. Forrestal: For some weeks the Department of State has been endeavoring to find havens of refuge for approximately 13,000 refugees in Shanghai whose lives may be endangered by the occupation of the city by Communist forces. The refugees in Shanghai include 5,000 Jewish refugees who have been promised permanent asylum in Israel and approximately 8,000 White Russian refugees, some of whom are Jewish, for whom no permanent asylum has yet been found.

The search for permanent asylum for all of the refugees persists. However, with the deterioration of the situation in Shanghai the immediate problem is to secure places of temporary asylum near by in the Pacific for those for whom permanent asylum elsewhere is assured. The International Refugee Organization (IRO) is prepared to provide transportation and maintenance for such refugees, including medical care, in any areas where housing, water and utilities are or [Page 959] could be made available. The refugees would be moved by the IRO from places of temporary haven to their end destinations upon the first shipping available to IRO.

Every area heretofore considered has been found to be unavailable for the purpose of temporary haven. The result is that we face the necessity of dealing with the emergency in Shanghai with no plan in sight. It will be contrary to the interest of the United States to permit the refugees in question to suffer permanently under Communist domination through any failure to explore every possible resource. Under these circumstances I shall appreciate your assistance in reviewing the possibilities of providing one or more temporary havens in areas in the Pacific administered by the National Military Establishment for those refugees in Shanghai for whom an end destination is assured.

In view of the urgency of the problem, your early reply will be most welcome.

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett