Statement by the President on the Problem of Jewish Refugees in Europe

(November 13, 1945)


Following the receipt of information from various sources regarding the distressing situation of the Jewish victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution in Europe, I wrote to Mr. Attlee on August 31 bringing to his attention the suggestion in a report of Mr. Earl G. Harrison that the granting of an additional 100,000 certificates for the immigration of Jews into Palestine would alleviate the situation. A copy of my letter to Mr. Attlee is being made available to the press. I continue to adhere to the views expressed in that letter.

I was advised by the British Government that because of conditions in Palestine it was not in a position to adopt the policy recommended, but that it was deeply concerned with the situation of the Jews in Europe. During the course of subsequent discussions between the two Governments, it suggested the establishment of a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, under a rotating chairmanship, to examine the whole question and to make a further review of the Palestine problem in the light of that examination and other relevant considerations.

In view of our intense interest in this matter and of our belief that such a committee will be of aid in finding a solution which will be both humane and just, we have acceded to the British suggestion.

The terms of reference of this committee as agreed upon between the two Governments are as follows:

1. To examine political, economic and social conditions in Palestine as they bear upon the problem of Jewish immigration and settlement therein and the well-being of the peoples now living therein.

2. To examine the position of the Jews in those countries in Europe where they have been the victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution, and the practical measures taken or contemplated to be taken in those countries to enable them to live free from discrimination and oppression and to make estimates of those who wish or will be impelled by their conditions to migrate to Palestine or other countries outside Europe.

3. To hear the views of competent witnesses and to consult representative Arabs and Jews on the problems of Palestine as such problems are affected by conditions subject to examination under paragraphs 1 and 2 above and by other relevant facts and circumstances, and to make recommendations to His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States for ad interim handling of these problems as well as for their permanent solution.

4. To make such other recommendations to His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States as may be necessary to meet the immediate needs arising from conditions subject to examination under paragraph 2 above, by remedial action in the European countries in question or by the provision of facilities for emigration to and settlement in countries outside Europe.

It will be observed that among the important duties of this committee will be the task of examining conditions in Palestine as they bear upon the problem of Jewish immigration. The establishment of this Committee will make possible a prompt review of the unfortunate plight of the Jews in those countries in Europe where they have been subjected to persecution, and a prompt examination of questions related to the rate of current immigration into Palestine and the absorptive capacity of the country.

The situation faced by displaced Jews in Europe during the coming winter allows no delay in this matter. I hope the Committee will be able to accomplish its important task with the greatest speed.


Source: Public Papers of the Presidents, Harry S. Truman, 1945