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Soviet Would Admit Refugees on Individual Basis

The House of Commons was informed today that the Soviet Government is prepared to accept refugees for settlement in the autonomous Jewish territory of Biro-Bidjan, but only on an individual basis with each case being considered “on its own merits.”

Asked by S.S. Hammersly, Conservative, for information on the state of development of Biro-Bidjan and if the Prime Minister would cooperate with the Soviet authorities with a view of finding in the territory “some amelioration of the pressing Jewish refugee problem,” the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs replied in writing as follows: “As I stated on December 19, in the absence of British consular officers in the region concerned, Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, has no detailed reports on the development of the autonomous Jewish province, Biro-Bidjan. In answer to enquiries which were made at the beginning of this year by His Majesty’s Embassy in Moscow, the Soviet Government stated they were prepared to accept refugees but each case must be considered individually and on its own merits.”

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