Ban on Refugee Entry Includes Those with Relatives in Soviet, Italy

The United States ban on admission of refugees having close relatives in Germany and occupied countries also applies to exiles with kinfolk in Italy and Russia, the acting American consul-general in London revealed today.

According to the consul’s information, the regulations mean virtual suspension of refugee immigration to the United States from the whole of Europe since it could hardly be expected that there would be any appreciable number of refugees with close relatives in no other countries than Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Spain, which are the only countries thus far unaffected by the ban, although the position of Spain is described as “doubtful” by the consul.

The information was conveyed by the consul to a delegation of the Polish Jewish Refugee Fund consisting of Lady Fletcher, L. Mirkin and A.M. Kaizer. The Fund later declared in a statement:

“The consul-general informed the delegation that the order applies not only to those who have near relatives in Germany or her occupied territories, but equally so in Italy, Russia and territories occupied by these two countries. This includes Lithuania, Latvia and Bessarabia.

“In point of fact, it was explained, the order applies to every country in Europe directly and indirectly within the orbits of these three states. The consul-general was not altogether sure about Spain, which is strongly suspected of being within the sphere of Axis influence. The same applies to unoccupied France.

“The consul-general made clear that the tern ‘relatives’ applies only to parents, children, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives. He explained that the order was a protective measure for the safety of refugees themselves, as well as the United States. It had been found that when governments affected by the order had been making demands on the United States they often exerted pressure through new arrivals by menacing close relatives left behind, treating them as hostages. This state of affairs compelled the United States Government to adopt such a measure, which the consul-general described as a war measure.

“The delegation spoke of the anxiety of those Polish refugees in England who, because of the new order, are unable to leave and consequently fall as a burden on relief funds. They also stressed the deplorable position of refugees in Portugal, who face danger of arrest and may ultimately be expelled to their countries of origin, which would expose them to risk of their lives, and requested that those already expecting visas should be included in the same category as those actually in possession of visas. They further requested the expediting of inquiries to check up on the statements of those not having close relatives in the affected countries.

“The consul-general said there would not be a general rule applied to all applicants and each case would be dealt with on its merits. Applicants for visas would have to furnish a sworn affidavit giving the names and addresses of close relatives in Europe and statements by those not having close relatives there would be checked as quickly as circumstances permit.”

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