EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France, (Jul. 10)
With Mexico and Peru leading the way, eight Latin American nations told the intergovernmental refugee-aid conference at a public session yesterday that they would cooperate with president Roosevelt’s humanitarian efforts and also with any decisions reached by the conference. In most cases, the offer of cooperation was qualified by declarations that admission of immigrants would be on a selective basis and largely limited to agricultural workers, with the gates shut against intellectuals or merchants.
The most encouraging statements were made by the Mexican and Peruvian delegates. The Mexican delegate, Primo Michel, indicated that his country would admit German refugees in proportion to the number accepted by other lands. The Peruvian spokesman declared Jewish refugees have already been admitted and would continue to be welcomed as they had proved a useful element, especially farm workers and technicians.
Other Latin American nations whose delegates put them on record were Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. The spokesmen for Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela stressed readiness to admit agricultural workers only, but indicated they would cooperate with president Roosevelt’ wishes as well as those of the conference. The Dominican delegate declared land would be offered to agricultural immigrants.
An interesting suggestion was put forward by the Colombian representative after he had indicated that his nation could admit only agriculturalists. He proposed that the conference establish a sub-committee to investigate whether Germany can, under international law, be forced not to oust its own citizens. If the committee found Germany was flouting the law, he urged that she be declared an international outcast. At the same time, the Dominican spokesman appealed to England and France to admit refugees to their South American possessions.
Other delegates addressing the conference were those from New Zealand and Denmark. The former declared his country could not permit mass immigration, but would consider individual requests. The Danish spokesman said his was not an immigration country, but would cooperate provided the conference dealt specifically with the german refugee problem, ruling out the question of east european refugees.
Australian delegate Col. T. White, chairman of one of the conferences two subcommittees, told the session that his group had been told “moving stories” by 25 representatives of 39 private organizations who had appeared before it. The organizations’ spokesmen. He said, had made pleas for “urgent amelioration” of the refugee situation. Col. White announced that his committee was preparing an analysis of the statements made at Friday’s private hearing for submission to the conference.