Following the creation of the War
, Secretary of Treasury Henry
L. Morgenthau, Jr
. sent letters
government departments and senior military commanders to establish
a working relationship. However, neither the State Department nor
the War Department were interested in promoting WRB's activities, nor in allowing
any hint of WRB encroachment on their prerogatives. This
memo by Major General Joseph T. McNarney to Assistant Secretary of War
John J. McCloy reflects the War Department's reticence to cooperate. It also reflects
the armed forces' conviction that the best way to
rescue civilian victims was through a speedy Allied victory.
OPD 334.8 War Refugee Bd (28 Jan 44) [Received on
4 Feb 1944 ?]
Subject: Creation of War Refugee Board for Rescue and Relief of Victims
of Enemy Persecutions.
With reference to Secretary Morgenthau's letter of
January 28, 1944, in which he suggested that the instructions be sent
to appropriate theater commanders concerning the creation and responsibilities
of the War Refugee Board, I am sure you agree with me that the War Department
is at present doing everything within its powers to rescue and relieve
not only the Jews of Europe, but all other victims of enemy persecution.
Plans have been and are being formulated for the relief and rehabilitation
of liberated territories during the period of military control.
We must constantly bear in mind, however, that the most effective relief
which can be given victims of enemy persecution is to insure the speedy
defeat of the Axis. For this reason I share your concern over further
involvement of the War Department, while the war is on, in matters such
as the one brought by Secretary Morgenthau.
In as much as instructions to theater commanders can be given only by
the Combined Chiefs' of Staff, I am taking the necessary action to present
Secreatary Morgenthau's proposal for consideration by the Combined Chiefs'
of Staff. I will inform you regarding their action in this matter.
Attached hereto is a proposed reply to Secretary Morgenthaus letter
prepared for your signature.
JOSEPH T. McNARNEY,
Lt. General, U.S. Army
Deputy Chief of Staff.
1 Incl: Draft reply.