French High Commissioner in Syria Seeks Landing of 658 from Refugee Ship

The French Government was understood today to be giving sympathetic consideration to a report from its High Commissioner for Syria urging aid for 658 refugees from Czecho-Slovakia, held aboard the freighter Frossula at Beirut for deportation at the end of July.

The refugees, who were permitted to land for disinfection and then were forced to reembark, were scheduled to be forced to sail on Monday, but their departure was postponed as a result of the French High Commissioner’s sympathetic interest. Meanwhile, the Paris office of the Joint Distribution Committee dispatched emergency relief to Beirut.

The High Commissioner’s report, pointing out that the refugees had paid $1,000 each for passage and that they included more than 100 former Czech army officers and 250 women and children, asked that they be permitted to remain in Syria. While the French Government was said to be sympathetic, it was doubtful whether their landing in Syria would be permitted in view of a similar appeal received by Paris from another ship.

The captain of the steamship Osiris, carrying 600 refugees, radioed that he had been searching for a landing place for his passengers for several weeks and the ship’s food was exhausted. He appealed to the Government to permit their disembarkation in Tripoli, Syria, from which they had already been barred last week together with another wandering vessel, the Thessalia, carrying 550 refugees.

While Jewish relief organizations in Paris had not received direct advices regarding the plight of the Osiris and Thessalia, an S.O.S. from the Frossula passengers to the J.D.C. said: “Refugees in desperate condition. Final sailing date end of July on cargo boat completely deprived of water, food and coal and without authorized destination.” The message asked for relief to be cabled and for intervention with the French Government.

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