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U.S. Policy During WWII: Diary Says Roosevelt Backed State Department Policy On Visas

(October 3, 1940)

So when I saw him [FDR] this morning the whole subject of immigration, visas, safety of the United States, procedures to be followed; and all that sort of thing was on the table. I found that he was 100% in accord with my ideas. He said that when Myron Taylor, [the President's personal representative to the Vatican], had returned from Europe recently the only thing which they discussed outside of Vatican matters was the visa and refugee situation and the manner in which our Consulates were being deprived of a certain amount of discretion by the rulings of the Department...The President expressed himself as in entire accord with the policy which would exclude persons about whom there was any suspicion that they would be inimical too the welfare of the United States no matter who had vouchsafed for them and irrespective of their financial or other standing. I left him with the satisfactory thought that he was wholeheartedly in support of the policy which would resolve in favor of the United States any doubts about admissibility of any individual.

From: “The War Diary of Breckinridge Long”; ed. Fred L. Israel; University of Nebraska Press, 1966.

Sources: PBS