WASHINGTON (Mar. 5)
The House Immigration Committee today placed the drafting of an Alaskan colonization bill in the hands of a special subcommittee headed by Rep. Charles Kramer (Dem., Calif.) after hearing the proposal endorsed by Paul W. Gordon, Superintendent of Alaskan Affairs in the Interior Department, and bitterly assailed by John B. Trevor, representative of “The American Coalition.”
Kramer would not commit himself on whether he thought a bill satisfactory to both the committee and the Interior and Justice Departments could be drafted by the subcommittee. “We are going to go very slowly on this and if we do report a bill it will be much more specific and detailed than the Dickstein bill,” he declared.
Gordon told the committee that the colonization proposal represented an ideal method of at least partially meeting two problems confronting this Government –that of providing some aid to refugees from totalitarian persecution in Europe and of increasing the Alaskan population in order to bring about the maximum development of the agricultural, mining and industrial potentialities of their country, He added that the department had not changed its stand favoring the proposal which it had taken last year, but indicated it felt some changes from the bill proposed last year would be necessary.
In response to questions by Reps. Leland Ford of California and J. Leon Allen of Louisiana concerning the Interior Department’s failure to colonize Alaska with American citizens, Gordon said:
“In the first place, American citizens cannot be sent anywhere and they have displayed a great deal of reluctance to settle in Alaska. In the second place, I rather think that refugees from Europe and from the conditions there will have more incentive and hope to make good than did some of the colonists we have already sent there.”
concerning the fear voiced by Allen that the refugee problem would find its way into the continental U.S. , regardless of restrictions, the Interior Department official said: “I would hope that the United States is not utterly powerless to keep unarmed refugees from making a four-day journey to the United States.”
Trevor assailed the bill as one that would permit the dumping of more than 700,000 refugees in this country and quoted former Ambassador Bullitt as declaring that more than the spies captured by the French authorities were refugees from Germany. He admitted under questioning by Chairman Samuel Dickstein that he was not in favor of any immigration and that he also opposed the idea of the U.S. becoming an “arsenal for democracy.”
Bitter altercations between Reps. Ford and Allen, opposing the bill, and Dickstein and Lesinski of Michigan, supporting it, marked the brief hearing.