Caution: The following MUST BE HELD IN CONFIDENCE
Note: Release is for ALL REGULAR EDITIONS OF MORNING
NEWSPAPERS of Sunday, January twenty-third, 1944.
Release by radio commentators, newscasters, etc. NOT
EARLIER THAN 9:00 P.M., E.W.T., Saturday, January 22, 1944.
The President today, by Executive Order, set up a War Refugee Board consisting
of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary
of War, to take action for the immediate rescue from the Nazis of as
many as possible of the persecuted minorities of Europe – racial,
religious or political – all civilian victims of enemy savagery.
The Executive Order declares that “it is the
policy of this Government to take all measures within its power to rescue
the victims of enemy oppression who are in imminent danger of death
and otherwise to afford such victims all possible relief and assistance
consistent with the successful prosecution of the war”.
The Board is charged with direct responsibility to
the President in seeing that the announced policy is carried out. The
President indicated that while he would look directly to the Board of
the successful execution of this policy, the Board, of course, would
cooperate fully with the Intergovernmental Committee, the United Nations
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and other interested international
The President stated that he expected to obtain the
cooperation of all members of the United Nations and other foreign governments
in carrying out this difficult but important task. He stated that the
existing facilities of the State, Treasury and War Departments would
be employed to aid Axis victims to the fullest extent possible. He stressed
that it was urgent that action be taken at once to forestall the plan
of the Nazis to exterminate all the Jews and other persecuted minorities
It will be the duty of a full-time Executive Director
of the Board to arrange for the prompt execution of the plans and programs
developed and the measures by the Board.
The Executive Order follows:
ESTABLISHING A WAR REFUGEE BOARD
WHEREAS it is the policy of this Government to take
all measures within its power to rescue the victims of enemy oppression
who are in imminent danger of death and otherwise to afford such victims
all possible relief and assistance consistent with the successful prosecution
of the war.
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested
in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, as
President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Army
and Navy, and in order to effectuate with all possible speed the rescue
and relief of such victims of enemy oppression, it is hereby ordered
There is established in the Executive Office of the
President a War Refugee Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board).
The Board shall consist of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of
Treasury and the Secretary of War. The Board may request the heads of
other agencies or departments to participate in its deliberations whenever
matters specially affecting such agencies or departments are under consideration.
The Board shall be charged with the responsibility
of seeing that the policy of the Government, as stated in the Preamble,
is carried out. The functions of the Board shall include without limitation
the development of plans and programs and the inauguration of effective
measures for (a) the rescue, transportation, maintenance and relief
of the victims of enemy oppression, and (b) the establishment of havens
of temporary refuge for such victims. To this and the Board, through
appropriate channels, shall take the necessary steps to enlist the cooperation
of foreign governments and obtain their participation in the execution
of such plans and programs.
It shall be duty of the State, Treasury and War Departments,
within their respective spheres, to execute at the request of the Board,
the plans and programs so developed and the measures so inaugurated.
It shall be the duty of the heads of all agencies and departments to
supply or obtain for the Board such information and to extend to the
Board such supplies, shipping and other specified assistance and facilities
as the Board may require in carrying out the provisions of this Order.
The State Department shall appoint special attaches with diplomatic
status, on the recommendation of the Board, to be stationed abroad in
places where it is likely that the assistance can be rendered to war
refugees, the duties and responsibilities of such attaches to be defined
by the Board in consultation with the State Department.
The Board and the State, Treasury and War Departments
are authorized to accept the services or contributions of any private
persons, private organizations, State agencies, or agencies of foreign
governments in carrying out the purposes of this Order. The Board shall
cooperate with all existing and future international organizations concerned
with the problems of refugee rescue, maintenance, transportation, relief,
rehabilitation, and resettlement.
To the extent possible the Board shall utilize the
personnel supplies, facilities and services of the State, Treasury and
War Departments. In addition the Board, within the limits of funds which
may be available, may employ necessary personnel without regard for
the Civil Service laws and regulations and the Classification Act of
1923, as amended, and make provisions for supplies, facilities and services
necessary to discharge its responsibilities. The Board shall appoint
an Executive Director who shall serve as its principal executive officer.
It shall be the duty of the Executive Director to arrange for the prompt
execution of the plans and programs developed and the measures inaugurated
by the Board, to supervise the activities and the special attaches and
to submit frequent reports to the Board on the steps taken for the rescue
and relief of war refugees.
The Board shall be directly responsible to the President
in carrying out the policy of this Government, as stated in the Preamble,
and the Board shall report to him at frequent intervals concerning the
such recommendations as the Board may seem appropriate for further action
to overcome any difficulties encountered in the rescue and relief of
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 22, 1944.