SCA files, lot 62 D 146, “RRP—Legislation”
Memorandum by Frederick J. Mann to the Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs (McLeod)
- Implementation of the President’s Proposal for Special Immigration Legislation
I attended the meeting held this morning which was called to consider means of drafting legislation to implement the President’s proposal of April 22, 1953, that Congress enact a law permitting the entry of 240,000 refugees, escapees and distressed persons into the United States as non-quota immigrants over a 2-year period.1 Among State Department areas represented were: The Visa Office; The Bureau of Economic Affairs; The Bureau of European Affairs; [Page 1628] The Bureau of Congressional Relations; and The Office of Adviser on Refugees and Displaced Persons (UNA/R). Outside agencies participating were: The Bureau of the Budget; The Department of Labor; The Mutual Security Agency; The Immigration and Naturalization Service; The Central Intelligence Agency; and the Psychological Strategy Board Mr. George Gray, Bureau of Congressional Relations presided. The principal speaker was Mr. Max Rabb, assistant to Presidential Assistant Sherman Adams.
Mr. Rabb, who has been charged with coordinating the project for the White House, stated that the contemplated measure was one in which the President took a deep, personal interest, and which he desired to have pushed to successful completion as quickly as possible so that an acceptable legislative proposal could be transmitted to Congress at the earliest possible date.
Certain of the individuals present set forth their views on [or?] those of their areas or agencies. The representative of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, speaking for himself, declared he wished to have as simple an organizational structure as possible for administering whatever legislation is enacted and stated that the fewer the agencies involved the more effective would be the operation.
The MSA representative said that Mr. Stassen had personally interested himself in the proposal and had communicated directly with the President on the matter. It was emphasized that MSA’s interest lay primarily in the effect such a special immigration program would have upon the conduct of our foreign relations.
The Budget Bureau representative stated that his agency’s primary concern was with financing the program and deciding how the monies needed should be allocated.
Mr. Maney,2 speaking as Director of the Visa Office, emphasized that his area was concerned only with the technical visa operation involved in the program, and ruled out any question of interest in policy aspects, or of the desirability of including or discarding provisions on a policy basis.
Generally, it was agreed that as small a working group as possible, composed preferably of just one representative from each of the agencies most directly concerned and affected, should be established to draft a bill. This group could then confer and consult with other interested agencies and, of course, with the various areas concerned in their own departments or agencies.
Upon adjournment of this interdepartmental meeting the State Department members held a brief informal discussion among themselves. It was recognized that two major tasks confronted us: [Page 1629]
- Determination of the allocations within the 240,000 maximum by nationality and, possibly, preferences and priorities (see “Appendix”);
- Establishment of an effective mechanism for administering whatever legislation is enacted. This would involve not merely security screening of applicants, determination of their admissibility generally under the basic immigration law and the issuance of visas, but also such operations as the examination of visa recipients by immigration officers, transportation to the United States, their resettlement here, etc.
The consensus, among our Department people, was unfavorable on the whole towards the establishment of a special, independent Government agency, such as the Displaced Persons Commission which had primary responsibility for administering the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, to administer the new legislation. No definite decision was reached as yet on that point, however.
I may add that I mentioned that both the Office of Security and the Division of Foreign Service Personnel would have a material interest in whatever administrative machinery will be established and should be kept informed. The Bureau of German Affairs would also, of course, have a distinct interest in the operation of a considerable portion of the program as it did under the Displaced Persons Act.