Atlantic City (Nov. 26)
The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration will do everything it can to return to their countries of origin Jews driven out by the war or forced by internal conditions to emigrate prior to the war, it was stated here today by Sir George Rendel, a member of the British delegation to the first conference on UNRRA, now meeting here.
Sir George, addressing a press conference, added that “anti-Semitism in Central Europe is one of the things we are fighting to destroy.” We hope to set up in Central Europe countries without racial theories which do not make persecution a fine art.”
The British delegate revealed that UNRRA will cooperate with the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees in seeking the repatriation of exiled Jews. He added, however, that UNRRA could not force governments to take back aliens. He cited in this connection a report approved today by UNRRA’s important committee on policy, which “expresses the hope that all the governments concerned will deal with any requests which they may receive from UNRRA in this connection in a spirit of wide humanity even if the request refers to persons who are not their nationals.”
REPORT OUTLINES UNRRA POSITION ON CARE OF REFUGEES
The committee report stated its position on refugees in these terms: “Another organization with which the closest cooperation will be necessary is the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees which has long dealt with those persons who have been obliged to leave their homes for reasons of race, religion or political belief. UNRRA will assist in the care and repatriation of such of these persons as can, and are willing to return to their countries of origin or of former residence. The Inter-Governmental Committee has the function of finding places of settlement for such of them as fall within its competence and as cannot or do not desire to be so repatriated. It should be the responsibility of the relief organs of UNRRA to assist, for a reasonable period, in the care of such of those refugees as cannot be repatriated, until the Inter-Governmental Committee is prepared to remove them to new places of settlement.
The final wording was the result of lively discussion in a subcommittee, it was learned today, at which Director-General Herbert H. Lehman clearly stated UNRRA’s willingness to undertake a large share of the responsibility in repatriating refugees. The original draft, drawn by Sir George, gave almost the whole responsibility to the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. Lehman made a strong plea to undertake the job.
Sir George said he knew that Britain, and hoped that the United States, would be generous in caring for refugees within their territories who cannot go back to their homes after the war. He pointed out that it would be hard to keep them indefinitely, however, Germany and Austria were included among the countries to which UNRRA would help send refugees back, he added. But he preferred to leave open the extent to which this might be done.
He estimated that 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 persons have been displaced by the war in Europe. A recent survey by the International Labor Organization said that 4,000,000 Jews have been uprooted since September 1939.