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Rep. Fish Sees Peace Linked to Refugee Solution; Urges Large-scale Project

August 31, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

U.S.Representative Hamilton Fish of New York warned in an interview today that outbreak of war in Eastern Europe would overnight increase the total number of refugees by four to six million. He arrived here from Berlin last night.

Declaring the refugee problem was inseparably involved with the whole peace question and could not be solved piecemeal, Fish emphasized the urgency of commencing immediately large scale measures for a solution of the refugee problem, which, he declared, would serve as a contributory factor to peace.

The Jewish question is no longer discussed in Germany but is considered as a closed matter, he said.

Declining to discuss the Palestine question, the Congressman asserted that the refugee problem was the first consideration. He said there could be no peace settlement without full discussion of this as well as such issues as raw materials, foodstuffs and foreign exchange.

Warning American Jews against seeking liberalization of immigration laws, Fish said he represented a group of wealthy American Jews prepared to furnish $100,000,000 to finance a large-scale refugee settlement project, preferably in Africa, embracing Nigeria and Lake Chad, with the ultimate aim of colonizing a million persons if experimental settlements were satisfactory.

He said he had discussed the matter with Foreign Secretaries Lord Halifax and Georges Bonnet of Britain and France and French Colonial Minister Georges Mandel, all of whom were “very sympathetic.” He will discuss the project with British Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald this week. At the suggestion of French officials, Fish said, he did not discuss the project with German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop since it involved former German possessions. He expressed the opinion that the British Government would support the scheme.

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