London (Dec. 17)
The headquarters of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees today termed “absolutely incorrect” the authoritative interpretation given in Washington yesterday to the terms of its mandate as meaning that the Committee can undertake direct negotiations with Germany for the release of Jews and other persecuted peoples.
(The text of the mandate as read to the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long provided that “the operation of the Intergovernmental Committee shall extend to all countries from which refugees come, as a result of the war in Europe, or in which they may find refuge.” The Assistant Secretary of State interpreted this to mean that the Intergovernmental Committee “are given plenary authority to do whatever they can, within and without Germany and the occupied territories.”)
Sir Herbert Emerson, League of Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, today made public a report which he has submitted to the League, in which he emphasizes that the repatriation of refugees now in the Allied countries may prove to be “one of the least tractable of the many problems” which will follow the cessation of hostilities.
Sir Herbert points out that few refugees will be inclined to return to their homelands unless given assurances that they will be unmolested there. Since, he adds, “compulsory repatriation seems out of the question, this is likely to prove the least tractable of many problems.”
BRITISH PRESS CHARGES UNITED NATIONS WITH INACTIVITY IN SAVING JEWS
The position of the refugees after the war is also discussed in several articles appearing in the British press today on the occasion of the first anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Atrocities, which was issued on December 17, 1942. Eleanor Rathbone, Independent M. P., writing in the Manchester Guardian, says that many thousands of Jewish refugees cannot be expected to return to countries where their relatives have been murdered, their homes destroyed and anti-Semitism deep-rooted. She emphasizes that since 1938, the United States has only admitted one-third of its quota limitation, while Britain and Palestine could have absorbed more. She urges both the British and American Governments to give definite assurances that they will allow a number of those who were admitted to remain.
Harold Nicolson, Labor M.P., and a prominent journalist, writing in the Spectator, also expresses the opinion that a large number of the refugees in Britain will want to remain permanently. “I trust, he says, “that this country, especially the trade unions, will be generous and unselfish in absorbing these derelicts.” Both Miss Rathbone and Mr. Nicolson charged that the United Nations have not been sufficiently active in preventing the continued mass-extermination of Europe’s Jews. Nicolson describes the murders and deportations that have taken place since the Declaration was issued.