This letter. written in 1935 by James McDonald in the Office of the High Commission for Refugees Coming From Germany to New York financier Felix Warburg, expresses the view that there is no future for Jews in Germany and that this has been clear for more than two years. McDonald proposed evacuating 200,000 Jews over ten years. He acknowledges the plan would be costly but rejects the idea that no place could be found for the immigrants. He proposed that 10,000 go to Palestine and 5,000 to the United States each year. He concludes that American Jews must help the German Jews now.
Warburg asked Governor Lehman of New York bring up the issue with President Roosevelt, which he did on November 1. In a follow-up letter to Warburg, McDonald notes that it is unlikely the British or the United States will warn the German government of the repercussions of their anti-Semitic policy. He says that the American consul in Germany is making it difficult for Jews to emigrate and that the president could intervene with the State Department to authorize a more lenient policy that would make it easier for a few thousand additional Germans to immigrate to the United States.
On November 13, Roosevelt informed Lehman that he instructed the State Department to give German Jews applying for visas “the most generous and favorable treatment possible under the laws of this country.” Nevertheless, the State Department continued for most of the next decade to make it difficult for Jews, including American Jews, to reach safety in the United States.