Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President

  • Subject:
  • Emergency Immigration Program

Reference our telephone conversation of July 141 on the subject of your recommended emergency immigration legislation. If the Senate bill were to be redrafted into an all refugee bill, provided the refugee definition were sufficiently broad, immigrant eligibility from Italy would apply to the approximately one-half million Italians who returned to their country from Italy’s former colonies and who left the Venezia Giulia area in the post-war period.

There would, however, be several serious objections to the transformation of the approach in the program into an all refugee one:

Restriction of the program to refugees would, particularly in Italy and the Netherlands, have negative political repercussions and may eliminate the considerable goodwill which would result from the broader approach.
The Italian Embassy has already expressed to the Department in a note dated July 62 its judgment that restriction of the program to refugees in Italy “would be received unfavorably by the general public and entail adverse consequences both in the social and political field”.
The all refugee approach would reduce the extent of leadership which we could exercise with other countries in encouraging them to increase their levels of immigration on the broadest basis from among the NATO countries suffering most from overpopulation.
The broader base of selection from these countries would make possible the selection of a better group of immigrants from the point of view of the age group, occupational skills, and thorough security screening.

I therefore recommend that if the Senators who have until now opposed your program, do not accept the compromise all refugee approach offered to them, a return to the original program be made in the legislation.

John Foster Dulles
  1. A memorandum of this conversation, in which the President and the Secretary of State discussed the effect on Italy of Senator McCarran’s proposal to reduce the total number to be admitted under the emergency immigration program, is in the Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, “Telephone Conversations”.
  2. A copy of this note, delivered on July 7, is in file 865.411/7–653.