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The Acquiescence Of The U.S. Government In The Murder Of The Jews

(January 13, 1944)

A group of senior aides to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. uncovered a pattern of attempts by the State Department to obstruct rescue opportunities and block the flow of Holocaust information to the United States. In January 1944, they drafted a report to the secretary which documented “the acquiescence of this government in the murder of the Jews.” The report noted that “the slaughter of the Jewish people in Europe is continuing unabated” and that U.S. policy is “to save those Jews of Europe who could be saved.”

Randolph Paul signed the report for the Foreign Funds Control Unit of the Treasury Department. He concluded:

I am convinced on the basis of the information which is available to me that certain officials in our State Department, which is charged with carrying out this policy, have been guilty not only of gross procrastination and willful failure to act, but even of willful attempts to prevent action from being taken to rescue Jews from Hitler.

It was indeed officials in the State Department who not only did little or nothing to save Jews but actively placed obstacles in the way of their rescue. The person most responsible was Assistant Secretary Breckinridge Long. Even in 1944, when this document was written, long before all the facts about his behavior were disclosed, the report noted:

If men of the temperament and philosophy of Long continue in control of immigration administration, we may as well take down that plaque from the Statue of Liberty and black out the “lamp beside the Golden door.”

Morgenthau used the report to warn President Roosevelt that the refugee issue had become “a boiling pot on [Capitol] Hill” and Congress was likely to pass the rescue resolution unless the White House acted. Roosevelt pre-empted Congress by establishing the War Refugee Board

Click on the documents to enlarge or click here to read the text.

Source: Rebecca L. Erbelding, “About Time: The History Of the War Refugee Board,” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, George Mason University, (2015), pp. 147-148.