Congressional Body Urges U.S. to Aid Jewish Emigration from No Africa
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Congressional Body Urges U.S. to Aid Jewish Emigration from No Africa

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The State Department declined to comment today on a proposal by Rep. Francis E. Walter chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, that the United States assist in the movement of Jews from North Africa to Israel. The proposal was made by Rep. Walter to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in a letter dated September 2.

A high State Department source said that the Department’s views would be set forth in a reply to Rep. Walter, who plans to visit Israel early next month. It was not indicated when this reply could be expected. The full text of Congressman Walter’s letter to Secretary Dulles reads:

“I am fully aware, of course, of your terribly crowded schedule but in view of the fast deteriorating situation in French North Africa, I believe it my duty to draw your personal attention to one part of a report which I have submitted to the House of Representatives just before adjournment. I have in mind the complex and pressing problem of the mass exodus of Jews from French North Africa to Israel.

“In connection with the forthcoming visit in Washington of Mr. Tittman, the director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, and that committee’s semiannual session scheduled to open in Geneva on October 17, I wish to request that the United States delegation be instructed to carry out the recommendations of the House report and to lay before the member governments the necessity of ICEM’s immediate participation in assisting in the removal of Jews desirous to leave French North Africa because of fear of persecution or of physical danger.

“A perusal of ICEM’s constitution shows that Clause 3 of Article 1 authorizes the committee to concern itself with the migration of refugees from areas other than Europe, and such function of the committee would in my opinion be in accord with the basic aims of those of us who have conceived and founded ICEM in Brussels in 1951.

“More than that–ICEM would again assert and fortify its position among the various organizations dedicated to international cooperation if it would accord higher priority in its migration activities to a humanitarian action, rather than to continue to stress migratory movements of manpower prompted solely by economic factors. I might add that my report and the recommendations therein contained met with the unanimous approval of the Committee on the Judiciary, and that no dissension to it has been voiced by any member of Congress.”


The subcommittee report to which Rep. Walter referred stated: “According to observations made by this subcommittee, the political unrest in French North Africa, particularly in Algeria and in Morocco, has caused a rather widespread feeling of fear among the Jewish population of that area. It is not difficult to observe there a very definite trend toward migration from the disturbed areas, and the direction of that trend is Israel.

“In the past. Israel has assimilated, in addition to the migrants who arrived from the West, over 200,000 Jews from the Near East, to wit: approximately 33,000 from Libya, 50,000 from Yemen, and 125,000 from Iraq. Some 80,000 Jews from North Africa entered Israel between May 1948 and May 1955. Leading experts from the Jewish Agency, which is the organization handling migration to Israel, estimated, in informal conversations with members of the subcommittee, that facilities would have to be found for the moving of upward of 20,000 migrants annually, or more, from French North Africa to Israel.

“The same source estimated that a total of 200,000 Jews from that area might desire to move to Israel within the next five to six years, depending, of course, on political developments which are taking place in that area. The amount of violence that seems increasingly to enter into these developments will have considerable bearing on the attitude of the Jewish population of French North Africa.

“At the present time the Republic of Israel is bearing the brunt of all the expenses involved in the moving and resettlement of migrants from French North Africa. Voluntary contributions, a considerable part of which originates in the United States, and efforts of the Jewish Agency, only partially alleviate the economic burden placed upon the young State of Israel.

“If international cooperation in the field of migration is not to remain an empty slogan, it does not appear to this subcommittee that Israel should be called upon to continue to receive Jewish immigrants–in fact, refugees–from French North Africa at its own expense, with only voluntary contributions making its difficulty easier. In the opinion of this subcommittee, Jewish migrants from French North Africa could justifiably claim the status of refugees, fleeing their centuries-old abodes in fear of persecution on account of race or religious beliefs. These migrants are not much different from refugees fleeing to escape Communist persecution and they therefore appear to be deserving of international support and assistance.

“It is recommended that the U.S. delegation to the forthcoming session of the Council of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration recommend that ways and means of assisting Israel, a member in good standing of ICEM, be found–under special provisions, in accordance with Article: 1 (3) of ICEM’s Constitution–so as to render assistance in the movement of Jewish migrants from territories administered by France.”

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