Menu JTA Search

Hall and Patterson Make Strong Pleas for Stration Bill Before House Committee

Secretary of State George C. Marshall and Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson today strongly urged passage of the Stratton Bill (##)admit 400,000 displaced persons to the United States over a period of four years. Cabinet members testified before the full Judiciary Committee, which augmented Sub-committee on Immigration, which has been conducting hearings on the measure.

Secretary Marshall, emphasizing the importance of a definite stand by Congress, quickly as possible, urged admission of “a substantial number of DP’s as immigrants, demonstrate that “we practice what we preach.” In answer to questioning by Rep. (##)nuel Celler, Democrat of New York, he said that the situation is “critical” and (##)t continuation of the DP camps is “bad and grows continually worse.” As two com(##)ling reasons for passage, he declared that it would represent affirmative action (##)firming “our moral leadership,” and, by admitting a sizeable number of DP’s would (##)mulate other countries to take “an increased number.” Marshall told the Committee at he spoke “with a good deal of personal feeling” about the DP’s, in the light of (##) close association with the problem as Chief of Staff, and more recently, in its important bearing” on American foreign policy.

Rep. Frank L. Chelf, Democrat of Kentucky, said that in view of the probable difficulties in reporting favorably on the bill and of the intense sentiment in opposition to it, he would seek to amend it to admit 100,000 DP’s. Marshall replied at this would help, that it would be “a lot better than nothing,” but, answering a (##)estion by Rep. Celler, said that he “much preferred” admission of the 400,000.

WARNS DP’S CANNOT BE ABANDONED TO GERMAN ECONOMY

The Secretary reiterated testimony of other government officials that Congress not being asked to assume a new problem, but to dispose of one already “on its {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}nds.” Rejecting the alternatives of forcible repatriation, abandoning the DP’s to {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} Germany economy, and indefinite “segregation and maintenance” of the DP’s in Ger{SPAN}(##){/SPAN}ny, Marshall firmly stated his support for resettlement “in the various countries the world willing to receive them.”

“We had hoped a year ago,” he said, “that admission of DP’s into Latin America(##)d other countries outside of Europe would solve the whole problem, but we now know (##) will not. Shiploads have moved to Paraguay and Brazil and some are now on their (##)y to Venezuela. Other plans are in the making. But we cannot,” he emphasized,” sit(##)ck ourselves and expect other countries to make all the positive efforts to solve (##)is problem in which we are so directly concerned.”

Rep. Gosset asked the Secretary if the U.S. does not have a larger proportion of immigrants than any other country in the world. Marshall snapped, “thatis the signi(##)cance of the Statue of Liberty.”

SAYS U.S. IN BETTER POSITION TO ABSORB IMMIGRANTS THAN OTHER COUNTRIES

Marshall underscored the ability of the U.S. to absorb the DP’s. “Although we left it to other countries to take the lead in active measures to alleviate this {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}ic situation,” he said, “yet we are actually in a better position to receive a sub{SPAN}(##){/SPAN}tial number of these people than any other nation. We have numbers of their stock {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}ady in this country who know their language and who have the resources and the {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}rest to assume the task of fitting a relatively small number of their kinsmen in{SPAN}(##){/SPAN}ur vast economy, without expense to this nation in their resettlement, and with a {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}onable assurance that they will not become public charges.”

As one “deeply concerned” with the readjustment of veterans, Marshall vigorous-(##)doubted that they would favor turning over the DP’s “to the people who uprooted (##) and enslaved them, or kept them homeless in these camps.”

Rep. Gosset, citing the Meader report (which alleged that Jewish DP’s were un(##) material for American immigrants), and testimony of Rabbi Bernstein, adviser on (##)sh affairs to General Clay in Germany, alleged that 150,000 Jewish DP’s entered American zone since the war primarily from Russia, Marshall said they came large-from Poland. Gosset said he had been told that at least half of the high government officials of Poland are Jews, that “Russian Jews are now running Poland.” Mar(##)ll said he had no information to this effect.

TEXAS DEMOCRAT CHARGES DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF VISAS ALLOTTED JEWS

Gosset asserted that 75 percent of the visas issued under the President’s dir{SPAN}(##){/SPAN}ive of last December, giving immigration priority to DP’s, have been allocated to Jewish persons, although they constitute only 20 percent of the DP’s. He further {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}erted that those DP’s with money and influence would receive favored treatment in {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}ority of admission. Marshall doubted that there would be any frequency of such {SPAN}(##){/SPAN}es.

Rep. Louis Graham, Republican of Pennsylvania, expressed concern over Section (##)f the bill which gives priority to relatives of American citizens or of persons (##) served in the armed forces. He asked Marshall whether there was cause for alarm (##) that this provision might give special privilege to any racial group. Marshall (##)ediately replied “no.” He contended, however, that it is “more sensible” for DP’s (##)ing relatives in the U.S. to come here than to go, for example, to France, where (##) have none, and vice versa.

Celler asked the Secretary if he had confidence in Rabbi Bernstein, and Marshall replied “yes.” Celler then cited the case of Jewish DP’s who had returned to (##)land, and some of whom were killed in the Kielce pogrom. “Would you say that this persecution?” Marshall agreed, and said that there are “many ways of persecution” (##)er than physical torture or imprisonment. “You can be a pariah in your community, (##) can be made a failure in business effort, you can be made desperately unhappy in (##)ur family life,” Marshall declared.

Secretary of War Patterson argued for the bill on the grounds of humanity, (##)onomy for the U.S., the contribution to be received from the skills of the DP’s, (##)d help for world peace, He echoed Marshall’s argument of the importance of U.S. (##)adership in the over-all resettlement program.

To Rep. Gosset’s question whether admission of the DP’s is “tied in with the Palestine question,” Patterson retorted “not a bit.” When Gosset called for resettle of the DP’s in areas of smallest density of population, as in Australia, Patter-(##) who several times seemed on the verge of irritation, pointed out that “the(##)e of the interior of Australia is uninhabitable.”

Secretary of Commerce Harriman, in a statement placed in the record, declared (##)elf “wholeheartedly” in favor of the bill, contending that a haven in the U.S. the refugees would be “to our ultimate national advantage” in economic terms.

NEXT STORY