London (Dec. 15)
Sir Herbert Emerson, director of the Intergovernmental Committee On Refugees, is blocking allocation to the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency of $22,500,000 assigned for Jewish resettlement and rehabilitation by the Allied Reparations Conference, it was learned today on the eve of the sixth plenary session of the IGCR which opens here tomorrow.
The original directive by the reparations body provided that the funds to be used for Jewish rehabilitation were to be given to the IGRC for allocation to the Jewish organizations. Emerson, however, has chosen to interpret the directive to mean that he has been appointed trustee of the funds, rather than just the paymaster.
He has, therefore, demanded that the Jewish Agency and the J.D.C. submit to him detailed plans of relief and rehabilitation projects for which the money is to be used. It is reliably reported that the reason for Emerson’s action is his desire to accommodate the British Government by delaying use of the funds until the Palestine situation has been clarified.
The reparations, which are to come from non-monetary gold captured in Germany and the assets from heirless property of Nazi victims, will be derived mainly from valuables and property which originally belonged to Jews. To facilitate rapid allocation of the money, the Allies instructed Switzerland and Sweden to make available $12,500,000 each from Nazi assets in their possession, but so far they have procrastinated. However, the chief obstacles to the Jewish organizations securing is Sir Herbert.
In his report, which will be presented to the plenary session tomorrow, Emerson doubts that resettlement of the world’s displaced persons can be completed before 1951, and says that “it would be idle to imagine that there can be any large movement of emigrants for some months. He states that voluntary repatriation is the most suitable remedy for the refugee problem, adding that “it is essential that every possible measure should be taken to induce as many displaced persons as possible freely to return to their countries of nationality or former habitual residence.”
It is learned that Britain, which, with the United States, has been sharing the entire cost of financing the IGCR will propose that both its contribution and that of the U.S. be reduced to 15 percent each, while the other member countries make up the balance.