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France Plans Settlement of 25,000-40,000 Refugees in Madagascar, New Caledonia

July 14, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The French Government is completing plans which may lead to settlement of 25,000 to 40,000 German refugees in Madagascar and New Caledonia, it was announced last night at a reception in honor of Deputy Francois de Tessan, who recently returned from a visit to the United States on behalf of the World ORT Union, organization for retraining of Jews. The reception, tendered by the ORT, was presided over by former Foreign Minister Yvon Delbos and attended by prominent French and Jewish personalities.

The plan, Deputy de Tessan said, had been disclosed to him in conferences with Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet and Colonial Minister Georges Mandel following his return from the United States where he had discussed the refugee situation with George Backer, president of the American ORT Federation, and other Jewish leaders. He said Erich Warburg was due in Paris soon to discuss details of the settlement project.

M. de Tessan, who is a descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette and chairman of the French Parliamentary ORT Committee, voiced high praise for President Roosevelt and American generosity in treatment of the refugee question, and paid tribute to Mr. Backer as “a great humanitarian and a great friend of France.”

M. Delbos, emphasizing that France had always shown sympathy for refugees, declared that the nation’s experience refuted the allegation that Jews were unfit for agricultural work. He declared that France had in 1934 permitted settlement of a Jewish refugee group on land in the interior and that all had proved good farmers. He added that during the war scare last year, all able-bodied refugees in the group had voluntarily registered for service in the army.

Other speakers included Senator Justin Godart, Dr. Leon Bramson, ORT president, and Dr. David Lvovitch, vice-president. Senator Godart predicted that the Government would modify the status of refugees in this country, making their life easier.

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