WASHINGTON (Nov. 18)
President Roosevelt announced today he has instructed Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins to extend for six months the visitors’ permits on which approximately 15,000 German and Austrian Jews are now in the United States. The President indicated at his press conference that he favors indefinite extension, but said that matter would be taken to Congress in January since it could not be accomplished under the present law.
It would be “cruel and inhuman” to force the Jews to return to Germany at the expiration of their permits on Dec. 30, where prison or concentration camp would probably be their fate, the President told the assembled newspapermen. This country cannot, in decent humanity, throw them out, he declared, adding it would not be right from the point of view of humanity to send them home.
Mr. Roosevelt conferred with Secretary Perkins yesterday, after which she stated that no decision had been reached as to attempting a revision of the 1924 Immigration Act because there had been no crystallization of sentiment among the American people. Miss Perkins stressed that a “cautious approach is necessary to be certain we are doing the right thing and that the American people will cooperate.”
Meanwhile, the State Department announced that President Roosevelt has asked Myron C. Taylor, American vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Refugee Committee, to go to London as soon as possible to meet with committee at its emergency session. Mr. Taylor, it was stated, will sail on Nov. 26. The announcement also disclosed that no answer had yet been received to diplomatic approaches in Berlin to the effect that George Rublee, director of the refugee bureau, was prepared to discuss “practical measures” involved in the emigration problem.
“The developments of the last few days in Germany,” Secretary of State Cordell Hull said, “have redoubled the urgency of finding new homes for hundreds of thousands of persons. This Government is already granting admission to these unfortunates to the full extent permitted by law. I am confident that these latest developments have brought home to those in authority in many other governments a vivid realization of the need for finding a solution of this problem, which can only be solved by all governments actively participating in the search for its solution. The director of the Intergovernmental Committee, Mr. George Rublee, has for some time been prepared to go to Berlin in an attempt to work out with the competent authorities of the German Government practical measures for the solution of the problems involved. Although the German Government was advised some weeks ago by the diplomatic representatives in Berlin of several of the members of the Intergovernmental Committee that Mr. Rublee was prepared to discuss these questions at the convenience of the German Government, no definite reply has yet been received.”
Another member of the Cabinet spoke out vigorously today against Nazi persecution. Homer S. Cummings, retiring Attorney-General, issued the following formal statement: “The recent happenings in Germany, with reference to the persecution of Jews has shocked the conscience of the world. It shows what happens when sheer brute forces takes the place of reason. It is a sordid picture, as uncivilized as the cruelties of nineteen centuries ago, when the Christians were fed to wild beasts.”
The horror which the Nazi persecution drive has caused will also have a reaction in the legislative branch of the Government when Congress convenes in January. Representative Donald L. O’Toole (Dem., N.Y.) announced today he will introduce a resolution for suspension of relations with Germany “until such time as Germany guarantees religious freedom to all the people.” Senator King and other Congressmen have already expressed themselves in favor of severance of diplomatic relations with the Reich.