Bru Turns Down J.D.C. Appeal; Refugee Issue Held “already Closed”

The Cuban Government today rejected a preferred guarantee of more than $500,000 for the approximately 1,100 refugees aboard the steamers St. Louis, Flandre and Orduna, and permitted only six of the Flandre’s 102 passengers to land when the ship arrived in port.

President Federico Laredo Bru sent a cable to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee rejecting the committee’s cabled appeal for reconsideration of the case on the basis of the funds deposited. The guarantees had been asked by the Government before it suddenly withdrew its offer to give the refugees temporary asylum on the Isle of Pines.

“The matter is already closed,” announced Secretary of Treasury Joaquim Ochotorena after a conference with the President. “It is morally and legally impossible to discuss it. The Government, however, reiterates its humanitarian feelings for the refugees.”

The Hamburg-American liner St. Louis, with 907 refugees aboard, was variously reported to be cruising off Bermuda and steaming back to Hamburg.

The French liner Flandre arrived at 7 o’clock this morning, en route back to Europe after its passengers had once been barred from Havana and had then made an unsuccessful attempt to disembark at Veracruz, Mexico. Cuban officials checked their papers, allowed six to land and told the others they must wait for a decision by President Bru.

The 96 refugees sat silent and glum in the smoking room as their credentials were being checked. They had been locked in this room when the ship left Veracruz to prevent any of them from leaping overboard. The passengers include penniless Greta Guggenheim, whose husband is in Havana and who expects a baby in three months, and Alfred Loew and his wife with their nine-month-old baby.

Officers of the Flandre said that if the passengers cannot land here the ship will probably try the Dominican Republic before returning to St. Nazaire, France. Meanwhile, M. Grousset, French Charge d’Affaires in Havana, after visiting the ship toured the offices of influential Government officials seeking entry for the wanderers.

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