WASHINGTON (Jun. 18)
In an effort to save 2,000 refugees now confined in concentration camps in Germany or German-occupied countries, the United States and other American nations have decided to attempt to secure their release in exchange for a like number of German nationals held in the Americans, it was revealed here by secretary of State Cordell Hull.
The refugees, it was learned, are persons who hold visas issued by various American countries but who have never been permitted to leave Nazi territory. An explanatory statement issued here, simultaneous with release of a resolution on the refugees adopted by the Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense at Montevideo, says that the refugees have apparently been detained by the Germans in an effort to use them as a medium of exchange for German nationals abroad.
The statement says that it has been learned that the Germans are preparing to adopt the same repressive measures toward these refugees – who up until now have been treated fairly leniently – as have been applied to most persons held by the Nazis.
“Therefore,” it continues, “only the most urgent and decisive steps will prevent the annihilation of the persons under reference. These steps would include; 1) That the American Governments make definite representations to the German Government that the documents issued or the permits granted in their name to these individuals must be respected by that Government; and 2) that exchange proposals be promptly worked out on a collective basis for the purpose of liberating such persons.”
At the same time, the State Department released the text of a letter written by Mr. Hull to Dr. Alberto Guani, president of the committee. The letter said: “I note that this (the committee’s) resolution proposes that the American republics concert and intensify their efforts to rescue from German hands some thousands of oppressed minorities holding non-European documentation; that this be done by joint proposals to exchange German nationals from the American republics for these persecuted groups; and that such exchanges be achieved consistently with security consideration surrounding exchanges previously formulated by your committee in the interests of hemispheric defense. My Government will be most happy to participate actively in such an inter-American program.”