EVIAN-LES-BAINS (Jul. 8)
The refugee-aid conference turned today to technical tasks facing it as two subcommittees began to hear governments’ declarations on immigration possibilities and private delegations’ statements on emigration needs, following a public session yesterday at which six governments made discouraging statements on their ability to absorb refugees.
Giving confidential information on the number and type of immigrants they can absorb, representatives of the various governments appeared in the forenoon before a subcommittee headed by judge Michael Hansson of Norway, head of the Nansen Office. This committee, after compiling the desired data, will make a report to the conference clarifying immigration possibilities throughout the world. The question of issuing internationally-recognized passports to refugees similar to those issued by the Nansen Office, was also discussed at the subcommittee meeting.
Jewish delegations began to appear with memorandums this afternoon before the other sub committee, headed by Colonel T.W. White of Australia. They were grouped in several units, with one spokesman for each unit.
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, representing. the World Jewish Congress, urged that the conference press Germany to permit refugees to take out capital, and also that it consider the problem of the Jews in Eastern Europe. He was told by the chairman that the conference was dealing only with German and Austrian refugees.
Dr. Arthur Ruppin, of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, outlined the Holy Land’s possibilities. He stated that 40,000 German Jews had been settled in Palestine since the Nazis came to power, of whom 10,000 were settled on land, but these came with money. Emigration without money is as difficult to Palestine as to other countries, Dr. Ruppin said. He urged the conference to seek an agreement with Germany to permit Jews to take out capital. He also asked that the conference take note of Polish and Rumanian Jews as prospective emigrants.
Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, said that American Jews, through the J.D.C., were ready to cooperate in any constructive plan worked out by the conference. He outlined the work done by the J.D.C. hitherto in Germany, and also for German-Jewish refugees outside Germany, giving financial aid, assisting emigration and retraining and providing shelter. He said that in France alone 10,000,000 francs had been spent by the J.D.C. to help refugees and similar large sums were spent for refugees in Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and other countries neighboring Germany. He added that the J.D.C. was cooperating with the league of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as with all large private organizations helping refugees.
The first speaker representing a private delegation was Professor Norman Bentwich, of the Council for German Jewry, who made an appeal for aid to the Jews of Germany and Austria. He also touched on the Jewish position in Rumania, Poland and Hungary. He was followed by Lord Marley, on behalf of the World ORT Union, who spoke on the necessity of vocational. training for prospective emigrants, and Edouard Oungre, for the Jewish Colonization Association, HIAS-ICA Emigration Association and Alliance Israelite Universelle, who outlined possibilities for emigration and colonization.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Palestine, who was expected to be here if given an opportunity to appear before the conference, has not come because the Zionist delegation did not consider an appearance before a subcommittee worth while.
Special Sabbath services were arranged here for the numerous Jewish delegations. Evian has no Jewish population but the Jewish Consistory of Paris established a temporary synagogue here.
AUSTRALIA BLUNT IN BARRING REFUGEES
The scale which holds the fate of hundreds of thousands of refugees and potential refugees moved downward yesterday when the representatives of Brazil, Argentina. Belgium, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands had made declarations at a public session. Some, like the Brazilian and Canadian, were polite but non-committal on admittance of refugees. Others, like Belgium, Argentina and the Netherlands, stated that they would admit practically no more refugees. Australia was blunt, the delegate stating that his country “does not have a racial problem and does not wish to import one,” adding that Australia was ready for immigration of British stock, but not of Jews.
These declarations will be followed by statements of more countries at Saturday’s public session. Meanwhile, the conference constituted itself, appointing by acclamation and to the accompaniment of applause Myron C. Taylor, the American delegate, as chairman.