HAVANA (Jul. 21)
The Joint Distribution Committee will close its office here on October 1, it was announced here today. The local office of the agency provides for approximately 200 Jewish refuses who are unable to support themselves because of Cuban legislation banning the employment of non-citizens.
At a meeting with Jewish community leaders here last week, Louis Sobel, special J.D.C. representative, explained that the J.D.C. is ready and financially able to assume responsibility for the refugees. This is in line with the agency’s policy of asking communities to handle local problems when they are able to do no. Current obligations in Europe, Shanghai and–to an ever-growing extent–in Moslem countries, compel the J.D.C. to reduce its present appropriations in countries where the needs are comparatively not as acute, he pointed out.
Although the Cuban Jewish leaders agreed to take over eventually the program of providing aid for the 200 refugees, they asked the J.D.C., through Sobel, for additional time during which the present program of J.D.C. assistance would not be stopped. The J.D.C could not agree to this, however, Sobel told the meeting, since the $75,000 which the agency expends annually in Cuba is required more urgently in other areas.
There are at present 12,000 Jews living in Cuba, Most of the 200 refugees in Havana have no relatives in the United States and, since they are not permitted to become self-sufficient, must depend on relief assistance.