Economic Approach to the Refugee Problem is Urged by Refugee Economic Corporation
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Economic Approach to the Refugee Problem is Urged by Refugee Economic Corporation

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The advantages of the economic approach to the refugee problem were emphasized here today in a report issued by Charles J. Liebman, president of the Refugee Economic Corporation, which reviews the work of the Corporation for the last two years.

Pointing out that the refugee Economic Corporation has played a major role in the opening of new lands for settlement through the economic approach, the report says that “new and greater settlement possibilities will continue to develop as governments are convinced that intelligently planned refugee immigration enriches the national economy and culture of the receiving countries.

Discussing the far-flung settlement activities of the Corporation in various parts of the globe – from the United States to Australia – Mr. Liebman reports that small farm and industrial projects were set up in Australia under the corporation’s direction, and these made such a favorable impression on the Australian Government that the refugee quota was increased from 600 in 1938 to 5,000 in each of the last three years. Other projects were established in Bolivia and Palestine and negotiations for settlements in British Honduras and the Philippines were well advanced when the war broke out. An experimental dairy farm is operated by refugees at Van Eden, N.C., and it is hoped to settle additional families there.


The outbreak of the war in the Far East has disrupted refugee work in the Philippines, to where about 1,000 refugees immigrated under a program of selective immigration worked out by the Refugee Economic Corporation in cooperation with the American High Commissioner, the Philippine Government and a local group of American businessmen. A commission of experts has already reported favorably on an area in the Philippines and outlined a plan for the colonization of 10,000 refugees. An understanding between the Corporation and the Philippine Government regarding the terms of entry and the conditions of settlement had been reached when war broke out, the report discloses.

“Beyond the exigencies of the present situation there is the problem of post-war rehabilitation of refugees,” Mr. Liebman said in his report. “Experience underscores the necessity of laying strong foundations now for that reconstruction. Notwithstanding the war, the democratic governments of the world maintain their interest in this phase of the problem.”


Research and field studies made under the auspices of President Roosevelt’s Advisory Committee on Political Refugees with funds supplied by the Refugee Economic Corporation have provided comprehensive data on areas to which refugees from war-torn Europe might emigrate after the war, Mr. Liebman declared. In its work of economic rehabilitation, the corporation has “looked skeptically upon panaceas and overly ambitious proposals,” he reported. It refrained, he said, from placing all its investments in one locality or relying too heavily on one type of project.

Officers of the corporation besides Mr. Liebman are Bernard Flexner, vice-president; Albert D. Lasker, treasurer; George W. Naumburg, secretary, and Emery H. Komlos, assistant secretary. The board of directors include George Backer, Paul Baerwald, Bernard Flexner, Philip S. Frieder, Harry F. Guggenheim, Henry Ittleson, Albert D. Lasker, Charles J. Liebman, George W. Naumburg, William Rosenwald, Percy S. Strauss, Robert K. Strauss, Eric M. Warburg and Max M. Warburg.

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