LONDON (Nov. 16)
Urgent action to evacuate Germany’s half million stricken Jews developed on at least two official fronts today, one involving the Roosevelt-formed Intergovernmental Refugee Committee and the other the British Cabinet.
The international body, it was learned, has been summoned to meet in emergency session on the problem as soon as possible. The meeting, it was considered likely, will be presented with United States Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy’s plan for Anglo-American cooperation in facilitating mass emigration of the German Jews. The conference, it was stated in diplomatic channels, will be confined to Britain, the United States, the Netherlands and Brazil — the committee’s directorate.
At the same time, it was reported in well-informed quarters that the British Cabinet, which met at ten o’clock this morning under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, discussed plans for creation of havens for the refugees in British Guiana, Northern Rhodesia and Kenya.
It was learned that the Cabinet discussed two aspects of the refugee problem. These were:
1–The representations made by the Netherlands Government yesterday to countries neighboring the Reich for immediate aid to refugees fleeing across the German border;
2–The initiative taken by Ambassador Kennedy seeking the establishment of German Jews in new lands.
The representations made by The Hague Government posed the problem in an urgent fashion. Although this aspect of the Jewish question affects Britain less than the Reich’s immediate neighbors London is not disinteresting itself from it, well-informed sources said.
Conservative party circles said that the Cabinet examined fully the American Ambassador’s recent proposals for establishing German Jews abroad and considered setting up a haven for 10,000 to 20,000 families in British Guiana and other colonial territories of the Empire.
Such a move would mean an expenditure of about $200,000,000. Under the reported scheme, half of this sum would be furnished by the British treasury and half by private organizations or subsidies from other countries.
It was stressed here that the qualities of Jewish initiative and organization would make the investment in the colonization plan not only safe but profitable as well. Well informed sources expressed the opinion that a decision to this effect would be announced tonight.
(British Guiana, a British Crown colony on the northeastern coast of South America, has an area of 89,480 square miles and a population of about 300,000, including 130,000 East Indians, an equal number of negroes and some 6,000 Europeans. It has more than 77,000 square miles of forests and 7,500 square miles of undeveloped land. Sugar cane, rice, coffee, coconuts comprise the principal agricultural products, while minerals include gold, diamonds, huge quantities of bauxite (aluminum ore). The climate, as tropical countries go, is not unhealthy. While malarial fevers are common they are preventible. The temperature is uniform on coast for ten months, averaging about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In August and September when the trade winds die away the heat becomes oppressive. In the interior the nights are damp and cold. Occasionally there are severe droughts and the rains are sometimes unduly prolonged.)
Prime Minister Chamberlain last night promised a delegation comprising members of the Council for German Jewry that he would give special, sympathetic consideration to the problem of evacuating the German Jews.
TIMES SEES COORDINATED EFFORTS NEEDED
Expressing approval of the British Government’s consideration of the refugee problem, The Times said editorially today that the problem required the wholehearted cooperation of all state departments concerned and a recognized public refugee body. Coordinated efforts by the treasury, the home and the colonial offices was listed as a prerequisite together with all British diplomatic efforts being directed toward inducing the German Government to allow the Jews to take with them part of their capital.
Prominent Britons, meanwhile, offered plans to facilitate movement of the refugees from Germany. In a letter to The Times, Sir Evelyn Wrench suggested establishment of a non-partisan committee of Christians in London, with representatives in the Dominions and colonies, to launch immediately a careful survey of migration possibilities in the British Empire with a view to ascertaining its “absorptive capacity” for Jewish refugees.
The Earl of Selborne proposed at the Church Assembly in Westminster that the British and Dominion governments cancel all immigration laws and consular formalities to permit Jewish refugees to enter British territory.
“Don’t wait until a plan is found and agreed upon by all the Governments and parliaments of the Empire,” he said. “The Jews will all be dead by then.”
The Rt. Rev. G.K.A. Bell, Bishop of Chichester, asked the Central Finances Committee of the Assembly to contribute $25,000 for refugee relief.
Former Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden tonight declared at a banquet of the Cymmrodorian Society that the words of President Roosevelt and Hendryk Colijn, Netherlands Premier, regarding the new anti-Jewish measures in Germany would find “a ready echo” in Great Britain. Capt. Eden mentioned no names, but indicted what he termed “a great tragedy in human history.”
In an editorial yesterday, The Times, deprecating the anti-Jewish persecution in the Reich, said that no responsible British statesman has ever considered transference of British colonies to the Nazi Government.
“The problem of the German claims to colonies,” the leading proponent of Anglo-German rapprochement said, “could hardly be regarded as propitious at the moment for those — if there were any — who had seriously considered its solution on the lines of merely ‘restoring’ certain native territories in Africa. The savage German outburst against the Jews, their manifest indifference to the common prompting of humanity where a defenseless subject population is concerned, and the wave of sympathy and indignation which has swept the civilized world — all these are convincing evidence that, whatever solution may eventually be found for the colonial problem will find no support nowadays if it lies in this direction.
“It is true enough that the Jews are regarded in Germany with a positive hate that would not extend to African natives. It also is true that the German people, as distinguished from their rulers, May well be made ashamed and uneasy by these excesses of their party leaders. That does not affect the simple view of the case as it is held in this country.
“What does matter is that no one at the moment feels disposed to risk an unconditional transfer of any backward race to the sort of subjection which finds favor in Germany today. Nor is there any reason to suppose that so crude a transaction is contemplated by any responsible British minister.