I.r.o. Will Not Open Palestine Doors to Displaced Jews, Acheson Tells Senate Committee
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I.r.o. Will Not Open Palestine Doors to Displaced Jews, Acheson Tells Senate Committee

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The International Refugee Organization will not open the doors of Palestine to Jewish immigration, nor will United States membership in the I.R.O. in any way affect the immigration laws of this country, Under-Secretary of State Dean Acheson explained to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, when it met to consider a bi-partisan resolution providing for United States participation in the Organization.

After Acheson had read into the record a letter from Secretary of State George C. Marshall strongly urging United States participation, and had outlined the functions and program of the I.R.O., Senator Elbert Thomas, Democrat, of Utah, questioned him closely as to whether establishment of the organization would “help or hinder in the trouble with the Jews in Germany and the Palestine question.” Acheson expressed the hope that it would help “by finding places of resettlement for these displaced persons.”

To Thomas’ question as to whether the I.R.O. will “help to put into Palestine those who want to go there,” Acheson replied that it will not “and does not purport to solve that basic problem. “It will not open the doors of Palestine,” he added. During the exchange between Thomas and Acheson, Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg, chairman of the committee, interjected that the I.R.O. “will provide adequate subsistence for Jewish DP’s until the time when they can go to Palestine.”

Vandenberg raised the question whether the resolution empowering United States membership in the I.R.O. “implies any change in American immigration laws or in our acceptance of DP’s.” Acheson replied that that implication “can be dismissed from consideration of this bill.”


Later, Vandenberg said that the Foreign Relations Committee would agree to participate if President Truman receives no authority to by-pass immigration laws or quotas in admitting DP’s. He stressed that no change in the immigration laws were planned or intended.

Senators George, Democrat, of Georgia, Hickenlooper, Republican, of Iowa, and Wiley, Republican, of Wisconsin, devoted considerable time to questions suggesting fears that the I.R.O. would allow unrestricted immigration of refugees into the United States.

Secretary of War Patterson, reading a prepared statement, “earnestly supported the resolution,” declaring United States membership “essential to a unified and comprehensive treatment of the DP problem.” He said that the victims of the Nazis should not be made dependent on the Germans for life and livelihood. It is important for the DP’s, he declared, that they be returned to their place of origin or provided with opportunities for resettlement.

Assistant Secretary of State John Hilldring called the I.R.O. “the best and cheapest way” of settling a difficult problem which, he said, is now functioning under a “formula for pandemonium and expensive handling of DP’s.” He asserted that United States participation in the I.R.O. would mean a saving of $57,000,000 yearly to this country.

Questioned about the constancy of the DP population in the American zone, Hilldring said that it remained fairly constant, the 100,000 DP’s repatriated over a period having been counter-balanced by an additional 100,000, largely refugees who fled from programs in Poland. Acheson earlier pointed out that Jewish refugees have come to the American zone because they are better treated there than in other zone.

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