Washington (Dec. 10)
The Government of the United States is ready to back 11 projects to help refugees, it was disclosed by Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long, testifying before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.
The testimony, made public today, was given by the Assistant Secretary of State two weeks ago at an executive session of the committee, which is hearing testimony on the Baldwin-Rogers Bill which urges the establishment by the U. S. Government of a commission to plan the rescue of European Jews. Emphasizing that this country has admitted 580,000 refugees since the beginning of the Hitler regime, and is continuing to admit them at the rate of 100 a week, Mr. Long said:
“The historic attitude of the United States as a haven for the oppressed has not been stopped. It is carefully screened, but the door is open, and the demands of for a wider opening cannot be justified for the time being because there just is not any more transportation. There are vacancies on the list of quotas, and any wholesome person who appears and applies for permission to enter the United States can, under the laws, and under the direction of the Department of State, enter the United States.
PEACE TREATIES WILL PROVIDE AID FOR REFUGEES RETURNING HOME
Long revealed that the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed on a declaration “concerning the return of the refugees to their homes after the war,” and are urging the other European governments to endorse it. “That is a very important matter which will require the cooperation of our governments in the peace treaties,” he told the committee. “It is one of those things you do not want to talk about. We do not want to talk about it now. But the Axis nations from which these people have been forced to flee must be forced by the peace treaties, and by the military if necessary, to allow these peoples, if they desire to, to return home.”
The Assistant Secretary of State also detailed the efforts under way to enlarge the scope of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. “The U. S. and Great Britain each pay one-half of the cost of any project which the Intergovernmental Committee decides upon as being possible of execution,” he said, “and which is recommended and acceptable to both of our governments. Nobody knows what the costs of those projects will be, or where the activity will be. The administrative expenses of the Intergovernmental Committee are to be paid by the U. S. through a regular appropriation of Congress.” Other nations would be invited to participate, he added.
Long did not endorse the Baldwin-Rogers Bill or disapprove it. He pointed out that an international agency already exists to handle refugees, and that is working with the United States Government. On the other hand, he said that “a repudiation of the cause of the Jews” would be “very unfortunate.”
“I think,” he said, “we must treat all persons irrespective of their race, religion or political beliefs, in the same way. I do not think the situation has arrive today, as evidenced by the fact that this committee is considering this matter formally, where something definite ought to be said concerning the Jews.” Further hearings on the bill are expected next week.