Dominican Project, Hailed As “historic,” to Be Launched in Few Months
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Dominican Project, Hailed As “historic,” to Be Launched in Few Months

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Hailing as “historic” the Dominican Republic’s offer to admit immediately 500 refugee families and praising the “unprecedented generosity” of ex-President Rafael Trujillo in undertaking to finance the upkeep and education of unmarried persons among the settlers, James N. Rosenberg, chairman of the Agro-Joint (American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation) today declared that he expected the settlement project to get under way “within a few months.”

Emphasizing that it was “more important to make the beginning right than to make it quick, “Mr. Rosenberg outlined the steps still to be taken before actual settlement activity can be initiated. In an exclusive interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he described these steps as follows:

1–Creation of a Dominican settlement corporation which will consult with the President’s Advisory Committee and the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees on every step to be taken;

2–Drawing up of a formal contract between the Dominican Republic and the settlement corporation, based on a letter addressed to Mr. Rosenberg by Minister Andrea Pastoriza containing a detailed outline of the Republic’s offer.

3–Dispatch of a body of experts to conduct final detailed surveys preliminary to actual settlement.

Mr. Rosenberg at the same time made public the text of Mr. Pastoriza’s letter to him, in which the Dominican Government is committed to an extensive program of facilitating the settlement project. High points of the letter (published in full elsewhere in this issue) are a pledge to enact legislation assuring the settlers full civil, economic and religious rights; naturalization after a two-year residence; waiving of import duties on necessary tools and equipment, as well as exemption from the $500 per person entry fee; precautions against discrimination, enabling the settlers to pursue their occupations “free of molestation and persecution;” extension of diplomatic privileges to the representative of the settlement corporation, and a provision that the bulk of the settlers must engage in farming or related enterprises.

The letter and other details of the Dominican Republic’s offer were discussed yesterday in Washington at a luncheon given by Mr. Rosenberg for officers of the Intergovernmental Committee, the Dominican representatives, the heads of interested organizations and Government officials.

Mr. Rosenberg revealed that he has been invited by the Dominican Government to visit the country and that he will probably avail himself of the opportunity sometime during the winter. He voiced the hope that the services of Dr. Joseph Rosen, Agro-Joint president, will be available to help the settlement project get under way and emphasized that ultimate success of the plan depended to a large extent upon the caliber of refugees selected and the proper personnel to direct its execution in the field.

Special praise for their “immensely helpful” activities in behalf of the project was accorded by Mr. Rosenberg to Arthur M. Lamport, the investment banker; Charles J. Liebman, president of the Refugee Economic Corporation, and George L. Warren, secretary of the President’s Advisory Committee.

Guests at Mr. Rosenberg’s luncheon in Washington included Dominican Generalissimo Rafael L. Trujillo; Andres Pastoriza, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Dominican Republic; Sir Herbert Emerson, Paul Van Zeeland; also Adolf A. Berle, assistant secretary of State; Robert T. Pell of the State Department; Carlos Davila, former President of Chile; George Rublee, former director of the Intergovernmental Committee; Alfred Jaretzki, Arthur M. Lamport, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Edmund I. Kaufmann, George L. Warren, executive secretary of the President’s Advisory Committee; Dr. Isaiah Bowman, president of Johns Hopkins University; Stephen V.C. Morris of the State Department; Joseph P. Cotton of the Treasury Department; Dr. Francisco Benzo, Dominican Secretary of Public Health; Plinio B. Pina, Chevalier, Commercial Attache of the Dominican Legation.

Among the speakers were Sir Herbert, Mr. Van Zeeland, Mr. Berle and Dr. Bowman who is universally recognized as the leading authority on resettlement problems. It was under Dr. Bowman’s advice, and through the efforts of the Refugee Economic Corporation of which Charles J. Liebman is president, that experts’ surveys have been made demonstrating the satisfactory possibilities for settlement in the Dominican Republic.

The speakers, in expressing their appreciation to President Roosevelt, to the Dominican Government, to General Trujillo and Minister Pastoriza, and to Messrs. Myron C. Taylor and James G. McDonald, united in emphasizing the importance of this matter, pointing to it as the first definite, concrete governmental arrangement following the Evian conference called by President Roosevelt. This step, they all agreed, is a milestone in dealing with the problems of settlement of refugees.

Responding to a toast in his honor, General Trujillo, whose efforts to bring this project to realization have been unflagging, stated “I am happy to think this important project will soon achieve reality. The problem of resettlement of refugees is not either a racial or religious problem; it is much larger; it affects the peace of the world. I hope that my country will be able to contribute at least its share toward the solution of these grave problems. Settlers, pursuant to this plan, will not be considered as immigrants but as colonization settlers and will be free of the $500 per person entry tax which applies to immigrants.”

General Trujillo’s concluding statement that he would take the entire financial responsibility for a period of two years for the education of a group of young settlers met with great applause.

Minister Pastoriza gave special thanks to Mr. Warren for his valuable assistance, stating that his government and Mr. Rosenberg’s group counted on their continued active cooperation. Following is the complete text of Minister Pastoriza’s letter to Mr. Rosenberg which sets forth the basis of these settlement plans looking toward an ultimate settlement of 100,000 people in the Dominican Republic.

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