WASHINGTON (May. 14)
Persistent rumors that President Roosevelt is about to inaugurate a system of “free ports” for the salvage and temporary safekeeping, on American soil, of victims of hitlerism, could not be confirmed in any official quarter today. A distinct possibility exists, however, that either by congressional or executive action some step in this direction may be taken, in view the fact that public sentiment overwhelmingly favors this proposal.
In support of the possibility of the establishment of free ports an informed source today gave the following analogy: If shipwrecked victims were found swimming on the waters off our coast, they would be picked up and landed, and there would be the question of their applying for immigration visas. Once landed, they would be cared for until they could be evacuated to their own countries.
From the international point of view, it is not so much a matter of large numbers of refugees coming here, as of the United States setting an example by doing its share of the rescue and human salvage work. The legal problem is whether people can be brought into the United States, not as immigrants, and without the right of residence outside designated areas. So entered into the country, they would camp here for a limited period and then after the war go back to their countries of origin, or leave the country to enter later on in strict compliance with immigration laws.