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Truman Tells Congress U.S. Has Not Admitted Enough Refugees; Decries Racial Bigotry

January 7, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Truman, in his State of the Union message personally delivered today to Congress, emphasized that the United States has not done enough with regard to the admission of displaced persons to this country and called for Congressional legislation to enable the entry of more refugees from Europe.

The President also told the joint session of Congress that existing legislation does not reach “the limit of federal power to protect the civil rights of its citizens.” He decried “racial and religious bigotry” and declared that freedom to engage in lawful callings has been denied to many citizens as a result of such bigotry.

“The will to fight these crimes should be in the hearts of every one of us,” the President said. He declared that the Department of Justice is carrying on the “fight” for the Federal Government to the full extent of its powers. The recently-established President’s Committee on Civil Rights will study and report on the whole problem of federally-secured civil rights with a view toward making recommendations to Congress, he stated.


Emphasizing that only about 5,000 displaced persons have entered the United States since May 1946, President Truman said that he did “not feel that the United States has done its part” in admitting refugees. He pointed out that the executive agencies “are now doing all that is reasonably possible under the limitations of the existing law and established quotas” and asked for “Congressional assistance” in the form of new legislation.

“I urge the Congress to turn its attention to this world problem,” the President stated,” in an effort to find ways whereby we can fulfill our responsibilities to these thousands of homeless and suffering refugees of all faiths.” He lauded the United States for its care of war-ravaged peoples and for “the shipment of more supplies to the hungry peoples of the world since the end of the war than all other countries combined.”

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