Lake Success (Dec. 1)
Two attempts to specify that displaced Jews as such are eligible for resettlement by the proposed International Refugee Organization were rejected yesterday by the United Nations Social Committee.
The ninety-minute discussion made clear that the western powers were opposed to making an exception for displaced Jews by mentioning them by name in the IRO constitution now under debate, believing that they were adequately covered in the general provisions for resettlement.
The issue arose over a Yugoslav amendment to the constitution which proposed that European Jews “whose families, or who have themselves suffered from racial persecution during the war” as well as other exceptional cases, be eligible for resettlement.
The recommendation was immediately opposed by half a dozen delegations, including Britain, Union of South Africa, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States, on grounds that no exceptions should be made for particular cases of refugees. Furthermore they argued that it was against Jewish interests, since it would limit resettlement only to those Jews who had been persecuted during the war.
Critics of the amendment were strongly assailed by Leo Mattes of Yugoslavia. In an apparent thrust at Britain, he lashed out at “countries who could open their gates to Jews,” but instead criticized other nations which tried to aid the refugees. Uruguay and Chile insisted that an exception should be made for Jews. Senora Amand Labarca moved that a sub-committee be appointed to redraft the proposal so that Jews would be adequately covered.
The Chilean motion lost by the close vote of 15 to 17, with the Slavac bloc and South American countries voting in favor. The Yugoslav amendment itself was defeated by a vote of 22-7. The committee changed the wording of the original provisions by making it clear that “persons for whom repatriation does not take place” should be resettled.