HAVANA (Jun. 5)
President Federico Laredo Bru tonight announced a plan for admission to the Cuban Islane of Pines of the more than 900 Jewish refugees aboard the Hamburg-American liner St. Louis who were prohibited from landing at Havana last week and forced to leave the harbor.
Final arrangements for landing the refugees and setting up a temporary camp will be completed by the Government before noon tomorrow, President Bru stated to the foreign press, culminating negotiations between a Government commission and representatives of American Jewish relief organizations which had been in progress for nearly a week.
The exiles must be provided with food and shelter, offer guaranties against becoming public charges and provide for their own reembarkation when they obtain entry to another country, the President said.
“I have no words,” he declared, “to express the deep pity and sorrow produced by the plight of the persons aboard the St. Louis, many of whom are aged men, women and young children. But my position has difficult obligations which drown the impulses of the heart before the harsh dictates of duty.” He maintained that Cuba had proportionately done more than many other countries for refugees, having accepted nearly 7,000.
The plan for admitting the refugees to the Isle of Pines was agreed upon over the weekend and submitted today to President Bru for confirmation. The negotiations were conducted by a commission named by President Bru comprising a Supreme Court justice, Finance Minister Oczotorena and Commandant Garcia, with Lawrence Berenson of New York, representing the National Coordinating Committee for Refugees and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
The Isle of Pines, lying off the southeastern coast of the mainland in the Gulf of Batabano, is eight hours journey from Havana.
Meanwhile, Col. Manuel Benitez, who was responsible for issuing the landing permits to the refugees, was removed as Immigration Director and replaced by a woman, Dr. Kandita Gomez Kalas, who issued a statement declaring she would strictly enforce the immigration laws.
Mr. Berenson received an anonymous telephone call at his hotel threatening him with death unless he broke off the negotiations regarding the refugees and left Cuba.