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Lehman Warns of “tragic Situation” if Iro Does Not Function Soon

A “truly tragic situation” is in the making if the International Refugee Organization is not ready to take over UNRRA’s duties on July 1–the date that UNRRA is scheduled to expire, former Gov. Herbert H. Lehman ?arned last night in an address at Columbia University’s McMillin theater.

“The International Refugee Organization remains a paper agency even though much more than a year has passed since the United Nations recognized their responsibility for the care and resettlement of refugees,” Lehman said. “Less than three months remain before UNRRA will be scrapped and the military withdraws, or greatly reduces, its assistance to displaced persons. Because of the failure by governments and their legislatures to act the International Refugee Organization has not yet officially even been declared operative. It has no funds. It is without any adequate expert, trained staff.

“And I speak from long experience when I say that to do all that needs to be done in order to make the International Refugee Organization an effective body will not take a week or a month, but a very long period of time. If I.R.O. is not ready when it is called upon to take over on July first–and I greatly fear that it will not be ready–we will have a truly tragic situation.”

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