WASHINGTON (Nov. 15)
President Roosevelt today condemned persecution of Jews in Germany as events he would think impossible “in a twentieth century civilization” and revealed that he had ordered the return of Ambassador Hugh Wilson for “report and consultation.”
“The news of the last few days from Germany has deeply shocked public opinion in the United States,” the President said in a statement to the press which–contrary to White House practice–he authorized for direct quotation. “Such news from any part of the world would inevitably produce a similar reaction among the American people in every part of the nation.
“I myself could scarcely believe that such a thing could occur in a twentieth century civilization.
“With a view to gaining a first hand picture of the situation in Germany, I have asked the Secretary of State to order our Ambassador in Berlin to return at once for report and consultation.”
The President declared he had given a great deal of thought to the problem which German mistreatment of Jews had brought on the world, and also that he had given a great deal of attention to an attempt to find some haven for Jewish refugees, but had not reached any conclusion on this question.
The Intergovernmental Refugee Committee has given constant attention to the problem, the President said, expressing the hope that something would come from its deliberations. He declined to comment on reports that Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy was seeking to obtain British cooperation for the committee’s work.
The President also declared that the United States would rearm to any extent necessary to protect the United States and the western hemisphere.
While Secretary Cordell Hull’s action yesterday in instructing Mr. Wilson to come to Washington does not necessarily mean a break in diplomatic relations, the unusual step, taken only in unusual circumstances, led to speculation as to whether the United States Government intends to administer some rebuke to the Reich, such as leaving the Berlin Embassy under a Charge d’Affaires.
Ambassador Wilson’s return from Berlin constitutes a protest by the United States Government against Nazi persecution “unequaled even in the Middle Ages,” Prof. William E. Dodd, Wilson’s predecessor, declared today at his home in Round Hill, Va.
“I know the attitude of Secretary of State Hull on this matter, and can say that Ambassador Wilson’s return certainly is a protest against racial and religious repression in Germany,” said the ex-Ambassador. “There is no doubt that Wilson has been called home as a protest against events of recent days in Germany. Even if i were not positive on that point personally, the fact that the Department formally announced the order for his return would constitute proof enough.”