A reported official order halting immigration of Jews into Chile on the grounds that they are “unproductive and of no benefit to the country” has aroused a storm of discussion in Parliament and concern among Jews.
The order is laid at the door of Foreign Minister Miguel Cruchaga Tocornal.
It is believed to have been issued shortly after President Don Arturo Alessandri had received a Jewish delegation which protested that Government officials were discriminating against Jews in immigration. The president promised at that time to investigate and end the alleged discrimination.
M. Tocornal himself had promised, during a conference with Samuel Guy Inman, assistant to the then League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees James MacDonald, that he would facilitate immigration of German Jews.
The Foreign Minister belongs to the Conservative Party, which is regarded as friendly to the Jews. Its head, Senator Rafael Gumucio, several months ago asked a united front against Nazi persecution of Jews and Catholics in a series of articles written for the Chilean and Spanish-Jewish press.
In Parliament, M. Tocornal has so far failed to reply to a series of questions by Deputy Vicuna Fuentes on the reported order. Backed by a 40-26 vote, the interrogations were:
1) Is it true that the Foreign Minister prohibited immigration of Jews and what are his motives?
2) If such prohibition has been issued, what methods are used by the Government to establish the nationality of persons denying their origin?
3) What is the guiding principle of the Foreign Minister in regard to Jews who have adopted Catholicism or other religions?
4) What is the Government’s attitude concerning children of mixed marriages?
a) When one of the parents is a Christian?
b. When the parents are Christian but the grandparents Jews?
c. When one grandparent is Jewish?
d. When the grandparents are Jewish but the immigrant baptized in childhood?
Trabajo, local Nazi organ, hailed the immigration restriction in an article assailing the Jews as a “menace to Chile.”
Declaring it has no desire to “arouse race hatred in Chile,” the paper says:
“Our people is in need of immigration and blood-mixing, and therefore we welcome all foreigners who come here to work and to increase the Chilean nation. We must, however, oppose sharply an immigration which menaces our people.”
It adds that Jews utilize the “demoniac forces of Communism and the pressure of international capital” for their ends, that they penetrate into all circles, and control governments and newspapers.
Recent issues of the paper have appeared with the heading:
“Chilean: do you know the Jew? Be on your guard:”