Volume #12 - 219.|
IMMIGRANTS ET RÉFUGIÉS
Mémorandum du sous-secrétaire d'état aux Affaires extérieures|
au Premier ministre par intérim
le 26 juillet 1946|
The United Kingdom High Commissioner, on urgent instructions from his Government, left with me today the attached Aide-Memoire concerning action desired to deal with the problem of displaced persons in Europe, and particularly of Jews. Towards the end of this document the hope is expressed that the Canadian Government will take the following steps:
1. To co-operate fully in securing a satisfactory international agreement on the general problem of displaced persons;
2. To make a declaration in this sense before the end of July including, if possible, an offer to accept a specified number of displaced persons.
I told Clutterbuck that it was obvious from the record with respect to (a) that we were co-operating fully, pointing out the position which the Canadian representatives had consistently taken at the General Assembly in London, the Sub-Committee on Refugees and the Economic and Social Council. I indicated that a further general statement of our intention to co-operate seemed hardly required in the circumstances, since I was sure we would continue to take the same line at the next meeting of the General Assembly and the further international discussions before then.
With respect to (b) I said that, while I could appreciate that a statement of readiness to accept a round number of refugees for permanent residence had a dramatic public effect, it seemed to me from past experience that such declarations often turned out in the long run to bring smaller results than changes in Immigration regulations. We had recently considerably widened the scope of our Immigration regulations largely with an eye to admitting to Canada displaced persons from Europe who had relatives here, and while it was hard to dramatize such a change it would undoubtedly involve, as transportation became available, the movement of thousands of individuals, many of whom come within the description of displaced persons. I added that, under our Immigration system, it was difficult, if not impossible, for us to announce that we would receive a specified number of refugees within a given time. In any event it seemed clearly out of the question for us to make any such announcement before the end of July, especially as you had just made public the decision to admit four thousand men from the Polish Forces. I suggested that he should draw the attention of his Government to the recent alteration in our Immigration regulations.
We shall have to give some reply in writing to this approach and we are proceeding to discuss the matter with the Immigration Branch. I am sending a copy of the enclosure and of this note to Mr. Glen, for his information.'
[PIECE JOINTE /ENCLOSURE]
Aide-memoire from Government of Great Britain
TOP SECRET July 26, 1946
As the Canadian Government is aware, the United Kingdom Government has been engaged in discussion with United States representatives on the subject of the recent report of the Anglo-U.S. Committee which recommended inter alfa the immediate admission of 100,000 Jews into Palestine.
It seems essential, if Arab "opposition to any such plan for dealing with Jews who desire to leave Europe is to be overcome
(1) that this particular proposal should be treated, not in isolation but as pa rt of the main problem of dealing with displaced persons and refugees in Europe;
(2) that it should be made clear that other contributions are being made towards the solution of that problem.
Further, on humanitarian grounds, in the interests of efficient administration in ex-enemy territories and on account of the political difficulties which arise from the presence of displaced persons in the occupied zones in Europe, it is most desirable that the numbers of displaced persons should be reduced as rapidly as possible.
It stands out accordingly that the first objective should be to create in Europe conditions which are such that a substantial number of the displaced persons can be resettled in circumstances enabling them to live free from discrimination and oppression. It is recognized, however, that whatever steps can be taken to this end, there will still remain a substantial number of persons for whom it will be necessary to provide outside Europe. The Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States intend to continue their efforts in the negotiations they are now conducting within the framework of the United Nations to promote the establishment of an international organisation which will be able to deal effectively with the whole problem. But creation of this machinery is bound to take time and meanwhile it is import ant to proceed at once with measures designed to aid the re-settlement of displaced persons, including Jews, overseas.
The main elements of the plan in mind are as follows:
1. It is proposed in the first place that the strongest possible support should be given to the appeal which is to be made to the United Nations at the forthcoming general assembly calling upon all member Governments to consider what contribution they can make by receiving in territories under their control a proportion of the displaced persons in Europe, including the Jews.
2. The United Kingdom Government has already accepted a substantial commitment in promoting the re-settlement of Polish troops unwilling to return to Poland, the number involved being about 228,000 apart from civilians.
3. As regards the United States, under existing quotas over 150,000 European immigrants can be admitted for permanent residence each year. Entry is also available to substantial additional numbers in classes exempt from quota restrictions. The total of the quotas from European countries from which the majority of displaced persons originate and of the average number of non-quota immigrants from these same countries, is some 53,000 each year, and it is assumed that in the next few years the majority of the immigrants will be Jews and other displaced persons. In addition it is understood that the United States Administration are prepared to seek the approval of Congress for special legislation for the entry into the United States of 50,000 displaced persons including Jews.
4. Pending the establishment of an international organisation for dealing with refugees, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States
will continue to explore through the agency of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees the possibility of securing admission of displaced persons to other countries and will promote such settlement as far as practicable. Active consideration is already being given to a concrete proposal relating to Brazil and similar proposals relating to other South American countries are being explored.
It will clearly be of first importance for the success of this plan that other countries should also be prepared to make their contribution. In bringing this matter, therefore, to the notice of the Canadian Government, the United Kingdom Government would wish to stress the importance which it attaches, particularly from the point of view of dealing with the Palestine problem, to securing a satisfactory international agreement on the general problem of displaced persons, and to express the hope that in view of the great value which would be derived from co-operative action in this matter the Canadian Government will be willing to take similar positive steps and to adopt also a sympathetic attitude towards this question when it comes before the General Assembly of the United Nations. It would be of very great assistance if a declaration on the pa rt of Canada in this sense could be made before the end of this month, especially if such a declaration could contain a definite offer to accept a specified number of displaced persons (including Jews). The United Kingdom Government greatly appreciates the recent action of the Canadian Government in agreeing to accept conditionally the admission of 4,000 Poles to Canada, but it very much hopes that some further contribution on the pa rt of Canada towards the solution of the problem of displaced per sons in Europe, including Jews, may be found practicable.