398.18 ICEM/4–253

Memorandum by the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (Gibson)1

Without passing judgment upon whether the McCarran–Walter Immigration Act is good or bad legislation, the fact remains that this legislation has probably done more to create misunderstanding towards the United States, particularly in Europe, than any other single Act for some time.

In the light of the misunderstanding which this has created among the otherwise friendly peoples of the world, careful and serious consideration must be given to the problem of overcoming these unfortunate and unintended consequences of the adoption of the McCarran–Walter law.

Essential as U.S. immigration legislation may be from the viewpoint of dispelling the misunderstanding and unfriendly atmosphere abroad, even more essential and more immediate is the need for a strong unequivocal human declaration on the part of the Administration which will have the desired effect abroad.

It is suggested that a declaration by the President, perhaps a letter from the President to Ambassador Gibson, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), to be read at the Committee’s opening session in Geneva on April 16th and released simultaneously in Washington, incorporating the following factors, will go a long way towards reaching the desired result:

That this Administration views with extreme concern, interest, and understanding the problem of excess populations in certain of the free countries in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
That this Administration recognizes that the problem of excess populations is an acute one and carries with it evils of unemployment and underemployment and subjects such populations to standards of living which make them easy prey to totalitarian ideology.
That while this great human potential is being wasted in Europe it will be welcome and most profitably employed by a great many overseas countries which lack sufficient populations to develop their natural resources and raise their standard of living.
That this Administration has and will continue to take steps to show our friends abroad that we are well aware of the excess [Page 1627] population problem which they face by taking further initiative directed towards the ultimate solution of the problem.
That this Administration fully and whole-heartedly supports the efforts which the free countries of the world have taken at the initiative of the United States government in forming the ICEM, which already has made important if modest strides in evolving solutions to this problem.
That this Administration will continue to give its full support to the ICEM and will continue to examine with deep and friendly interest the excess populations problems; and through the medium of the ICEM will bring to the attention of the free world its suggestions and recommendations looking towards an increase of movement of excess populations from the free countries of Europe to the under-manned regions overseas.
That this Administration whole-heartedly welcomes the support which the emigration countries of Europe, the immigration countries overseas, and the other interested countries have given to the efforts to find solutions to this problem and hopes that all interested countries will do their full and fair share, confident that the United States government is anxious and desirous that the excess population problem be solved through mutual international effort in which the United States will actively participate.2

  1. This memorandum was attached to a covering letter from Abba P. Schwartz, Counsel to Hugh Gibson, dated Apr. 2, 1953, and addressed to Warren. In the letter, Schwartz explained that the memorandum was a copy of the one left with Maxwell Rabb, the Assistant to the Assistant to the President, by Gibson, following his meeting with the President at the White House on Mar. 26, 1953.
  2. According to the confidential report of the Fifth Session of the ICEM held at Geneva, Apr. 16–24, 1953, Warren, at the request of Director Gibson, read to the Committee a letter to the Director from President Eisenhower “commending the Committee on its work and the manner in which member governments had assisted in receiving migrants and refugees.” The letter indicated that the “United States Government would continue to give consideration to the manner in which it could, in concert with other governments, most helpfully assist the Committee in its further efforts.” A copy of the report is in file 398.18 ICEM/5–2853.