State Dept. Asks Congress to Approve Funds for Intergovernmental Refugee Committee

The State Department has recommended to Congress that legislation be adopted authorizing U. S. contributions to the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. A draft bill has been submitted by the department to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Acting Secretary of State Grew has embodied the department’s proposals in a letter to Senator Kenneth McKellar, president of the Senate.

Congress provided two small appropriations for U.S. participation when the committee was formed in 1938 on the initiative of President Robsevelt, but has not been asked for further funds, since there have been no operating expenses requiring them. The American representative on the committee, Earl G. Harrison, former Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, conferred with the committee at its London headquarters shortly after his appointment last March, but then returned to the United States. With the probable active revival of the committee’s activities, Harrison may return to London at any time, according to the State Department.

The committee is responsible for the resettlement of some 14,000 refugees now in neutral countries, the State Department points out. Repatriation of refugees able and desirous of returning to their native countries is a function of UNRRA, for a “reasonable time,” or possibly for the duration of UNRRA. After that period, the responsibility will devolve upon the Intergovernmental Committee which, in addition, must handle resettlement of refugees who cannot, or do not wish to, return to their home countries.

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