398.18 PICMME/1–2852

Memorandum by Commissioner Harry N. Rosenfield to the Chairman of the Displaced Persons Commission (Gibson)1


Legislative Program—Conferences with High Commissioner McCloy, Ambassador Donnelly, and Lt. Gen. LeRoy Irwin, C.G., USFA

On December 19th I met with the Hon. John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, and on December 21st I met with the Hon. Walter J. Donnelly, U.S. Ambassador to Austria. On both [Page 1561] occasions Mr. Robert J. Corkery, European Coordinator,3 accompanied me.

Both conferences started with a discussion of the present status of the program. Both officials were pleased and satisfied with our report of progress to date and anticipated progress by December 31, 1951 on Section 2 and by June 30, 1952 on Section 12.4

In both conferences the discussions were largely devoted to the views of Mr. McCloy and Mr. Donnelly as to desirable future legislation. Their views are as follows:

Mr. McCloy

1. Recent Iron Curtain Refugees

He has considerable misgivings as to the wisdom of continuing to encourage defection from behind the Iron Curtain. He believes that the U.S. should put more effort inside the countries behind the Iron Curtain and less on encouragement of emigration to the Western Zones. His stress was on encouragement of defection within the country, rather than outside because of his belief that once defectors came out, their efforts were diluted and their influence behind the Iron Curtain diminished. He put it very succinctly: “The more defectors, the less potential resisters.”

If, despite these views, there were to be any special defector program, Mr. McCloy urged that the U.S. limit its efforts to persons with either special information or special talents. All others, he felt—and repeated several times—should be discouraged. Frankly, he said, few of the defectors have been of much use to us. Mass defectors, he insisted, would do harm, especially if nothing is done for such people; they cannot be given a “pretty easy life”, as he put it, and therefore might go sour and become a source of counter-Western propaganda. In any event, he did not expect any mass defection.

I asked what he believed should be done for those who did come out, encouragement or no. His response was threefold:

education for the young in existing institutions;
for the older, he was opposed to any U.S. agency to get jobs for them in Germany. He felt that was a German problem, and that the U.S.’s role should be limited to pricking Germany’s conscience. He opposed any work subsidy or made-work;
a central research institute for exiles, perhaps financed by foundation funds, to generate and maintain a spirit of freedom. He [Page 1562] stressed political science. This he believed to be important as a means of preventing spiritual and intellectual deterioration. He thought it feasible to subsidize reliable newspapers or journals for a starting period, to help in morale and ideology. He had found this technique useful and practical in Germany.

2. Expellees

He very strongly and persistently expressed the view that the presence of the expellees in Germany was a boon, and not a harm, to Germany, because of the availability of valuable manpower. He believed that they had been fairly well assimilated. I expressed surprise and stated that the oft-expressed view back home was to the general effect that we were putting billions of dollars into Germany, and that we could both save the American taxpayer money and move toward greater European stability by relieving Germany of the pressures of overpopulation. He disagreed with this view and stated that the billions would have had to be spent in Germany, quite irrespective of the refugees, because of the dislocations caused by war. He said that the problem had not been aggravated by the refugees. By and large, McCloy insisted, Germany benefited by the migration of people into it.

When I asked him if the Congress should extend the expellee program, he said “yes, not because of the help to the German economy, but because of the good to our own”. Germany did not need any such relief, he continued, but the U.S. did need and could use the good people who would thus be coming into the U.S. He repeated several times, take as many into the U.S. as you can get Congress to approve, but justify on the benefit to the U.S. and not on the benefit to Germany. He pointed out that historically countries of immigration gained and countries of emigration suffered thereby, and felt that Germany positively gained by the influx of refugees.

He cautioned me that some of his staff would disagree with his views. Further, he pointed out that his views were based on an anticipation of relatively early unification between East and West Germany, at which time there would be a counter-immigration back to Eastern Germany. He believed that such unifications would be under way in two years although not completed by then.

Ambassador Donnelly

1. Recent Iron Curtain Refugees

He firmly and vigorously espoused encouraging defection. He knew of the contrary school of thought, he said, but saw no point to it because if resistors stayed behind they would either be drafted into the slave machine or killed. He regretted the poor treatment defectors were receiving upon arrival in Austria. Vienna treated them reasonably well, but in U.S. Zone of Germany, they had a [Page 1563] tough time. Until recently they were fined for illegal border crossing, and they are still allowed to remain in camps only 14 days. He saw no discrimination against them in employment.

Something must be done, he urged, else we defeat the purpose of the defector program.

He urged that it was unfair to load the whole program on the Austrian Government or for that matter on the U.S. Government.

His proposed remedy was immigration. The defectors’ first preference was U.S. and their second was Canada. He proposed that recent Iron Curtain refugees be admitted into the U.S. at the rate of 200 per month, from Austria alone, on a selective basis.

He saw little point to an educational program for them in Europe because most of them want to immigrate and are not interested in staying in Europe.

2. Expellees

He prefers to keep the Volksdeutsche, as he kept referring to them, in Austria. He repeatedly stated that if we took them out, the Austrian economy would suffer. It was bad for Austria to lose its skilled labor and craftsmen.

He admitted that war uncertainty increased the interest of expellees in migrating, but said that stability would bring a sharp decrease of interest in migration. When pressed in legislative terms, Donnelly finally said that perhaps 500 Volksdeutsche per month, from Austria, could be taken. When Mr. Farrell,5 his DP and refugee aide, suggested 1,000 per month, Donnelly openly stated that he doubted there would be that many interested people.

General LeRoy Irwin, Commanding General, U.S. Forces in Austria

In addition to meeting with McCloy and Donnelly, I had a conference with General Irwin, in Salzburg, on Sunday, December 23rd. I was accompanied by Messrs. Tarczynski6 and Warren, Jr.7 Also present were Col. Perry and Mr. Espy,8 who is Ambassador Donnelly’s liaison with General Irwin, and Mr. Kulischer,9 Mr. Donnelly’s DP and refugee representative in Salzburg.

After we concluded discussion of a security question (which is the subject of a separate memorandum),10 the General himself raised the question of legislative future.

[Page 1564]

His views were as follows:

1. Recent Iron Curtain Refugees

The defectors are a most valuable source of intelligence information. If this program dried up, it would be hurtful to American interests.

With General Irwin’s concurrence, Col. Perry, the General’s G–2, put it thus: “The defectors are a most promising source of continuous low grade ore with an occasional nugget.” He continued that it all results in “a total of very considerable value”. If we let the defectors down, said Col. Perry, he was concerned about the negative effect on promotion of defection and the will to escape. He knew of no returns by defectors.

Both General Irwin and Col. Perry stressed immigration to the U.S. as a basic program for defectors. First, they were good people; second, they were less assimilable in Austria than the expellees; and, third, it would encourage further defection.

The General saw value in scholarships in European universities for such defectors. The Colonel preferred to see them come to the U.S. The General strongly urged that there ought to be a single central U.S. organization to coordinate the activities of all public and private agencies in connection with the defector program.

2. Expellees

All the non-DPC persons at the meeting were opposed to any expellee migration program from Austria. The General said their removal would damage the Austrian economy, that an enormous number of them had been absorbed into the economy and that the others were “not much good”.

Mr. Espy said that Linz would welcome more people as workers. Mr. Kulischer reported that many industries were complaining about the migration. All agreed there was no job shortage, but that there was a bad housing shortage.

The General put it thus: apart from housing, there is no expellee problem in Austria, and he was definitely disinterested in any real expellee migration from Austria.

Mr. Robert Corkery has seen this memorandum. So far as it relates to the conference with Mr. McCloy and Ambassador Donnelly, it accords with his recollection of the conversations. He makes the observation that both Mr. McCloy and Mr. Donnelly were not really thinking of the need for help to Germany or Austria, as regards surplus population conditions existing therein, but rather of what can the U.S. get out of the program in the way of good people to bring into the U.S.

  1. The Displaced Persons Commission was composed of three members: Gibson, Rosenfield, and Edward M. O’Connor. This memorandum was also sent to O’Connor.
  2. Apparently written in late December 1951 or early January 1952. The meetings referred to in this document were held on Dec. 19, 21, and 23, 1951. This memorandum as well as the one dated Jan. 9, 1952, infra, were attached to a covering letter dated Jan. 16, 1952, not printed.
  3. Coordinator for Europe, Displaced Persons Commission.
  4. Reference is to the program for admission of certain European displaced persons established by the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 (Public Law 80–774), enacted June 25, 1948; for text, see 62 Stat. 1009. Both Section 2, which dealt with the definition of “an eligible displaced person,” and Section 12, which established special provisions for persons of German ethnic origin, were amended by the Act of June 16, 1950 (Public Law 81–555); for text, see 64 Stat. 219.
  5. Michael A. Farrell, Chief, Displaced Persons Branch, American Embassy, Vienna.
  6. John T. Tarczynski, Senior Officer, Displaced Persons Commission.
  7. Presumably George Warren, Deputy Senior Officer, Displaced Persons Commission.
  8. James Espy, Special Assistant to the Ambassador and First Secretary, American Embassy, Vienna.
  9. Presumably William Kurylchek, Displaced Persons Officer, Salzburg, Austria.
  10. Not printed.