Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman File, Dulles–Herter Series

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President

  • Subject:
  • Emergency Immigration Legislation

Reference your memorandum of March 24, 19531 on the subject of immigration legislation, I recommend that you request Congress to adopt a temporary emergency measure authorizing the admission of 240,000 non-quota immigrants during the next two years to help alleviate the European problem of refugees from East Europe and overpopulation in Italy, the Netherlands and Greece. Bills on [Page 1625] this subject introduced by Representative Celler and Senators Langer2 and Hendrickson,3 although similar in scope, differ in numbers to be admitted and in other respects. This type of legislation would be independent of any general revision of the McCarran–Walter Act4 and would not deal with the general quota question.

I believe that the bill introduced by Miss Thompson,5 providing for emergency admission of immigrants from the Netherlands alone, would have undesirable political repercussions in other countries in Europe suffering from an overpopulation or refugee problem. The Dutch Government itself prefers not to be singled out in this way.

The immediate urgency for a policy decision arises from the scheduled discussion of the general subject at the North Atlantic Council meeting in April, our delay in responding to NATO inquiries made in preparation for the meeting and the effect a policy announcement may have upon the national elections in Italy at the end of May.

If you agree with my recommendation you may wish to discuss it with Congressional leaders and to make a preliminary announcement at a press conference of your intention to submit a request for Congressional action on this subject.

If your reaction is a favorable one my Department in cooperation with other interested government agencies will prepare a transmittal message and legislative suggestions on this subject which you may then forward to Congress.

Insofar as the McCarran–Walter Act itself is concerned I will have a study made in order to develop a comprehensive policy proposal.

John Foster Dulles
  1. Not found in Department of State files.
  2. William Langer (R.–N.D.).
  3. Robert C. Hendrickson (R.–N.J.).
  4. Reference is to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Public Law 82–414).
  5. Representative Ruth Thompson (R.–Mich.).