British Ministers Served with Writ to Halt Return of Exodus Refugees to Germany
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British Ministers Served with Writ to Halt Return of Exodus Refugees to Germany

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A writ of habeas corpus, designed to prevent the return to Germany of the 4,400 Exodus refugees was served today on Foreign Secretary Bevin and Colonial Secretary Creech-Jones by D.N. Pritt, counsel for the Jewish Agency. The writ will be argued in the High Court on Wednesday. Although only six refugees are listed in the writ, it would affect all 4,400 if granted.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that the writ would not halt the ships at Gibraltar, which they are expected to reach tomorrow. Reports from there say that the mole has been barricaded and machine-gun posts set up at strategic points to prevent any attempt by the deportees to land.

The Foreign Office spokesman also stated that no reply to the British note to the French Government, requesting that France receive the refugees by rail from the British zone of Germany, was expected before Wednesday.

The Chief Rabbinate and the Beth Din have issued a proclamation calling on Jews throughout the British Empire to observe Thursday as a day of fasting and prayer in sympathy with the refugees. Thurday was decided upon in order to ensure that sufficient time had elapsed for the call to reach all corners of the Empire.


London papers report that Air Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas, commander of the British zone, has ordered that the press be given the fullest facilities to observe the arrival of the deportees next week, “in order to prevent misrepresentations of Britain’s actions, such as were circulated in France” when the prison ships arrived at Port de Bouc.

Morgan Philips, secretary of the Labor Party, reiterated that the government cannot permit illegal immigration into Palestine, in an interview appearing in the French Socialist organ, Le Populaire. Philips said that “we do not believe that the Jewish problem can be solved in Palestine alone. There must be absorption of displaced persons by other nations.”

The British section of the World Jewish Congress wired the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster, the Moderators of the Church of Scotland, the Trades Union Congress and the chairmen of the Labor Party and the Cooperative Union, asking them to support the Congress appeal to Prime Minister Attlee to reverse the decision to return the Exodus refugees to Germany.

The Manchester Guardian, liberal daily which has usually been pro-Zionist, said that the government’s decision on the Exodus case represented a “lack of imagination” rather than a lack of humanity. The paper said that the government failed to see the effect its decision would have on Jews everywhere and on France, the U.S.A. and others of the United Nations. At the same time, it adds that the government has a good case for demanding that illegal immigration stop. “In one sense it (illegal immigration) is nothing more than an unscrupulous form of political blacmail,” the Guardian asserts.

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