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Marshall Testimony of July 16, 1947
PERMITTING ADMISSION OF 400,000 DISPLACED
PERSONS INTO THE UNITED STATES
IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION OF THE
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
H. R. 2910
A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE UNITED STATES DURING AN EMERGENCY PERIOD TO
UNDERTAKE ITS FAIR SHARE IN THE RESETTLEMENT OF DISPLACED PERSONS IN
GERMANY, AUSTRIA, AND ITALY, INCLUDING RELATIVES OF CITIZENS OR
MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED FORCES, BY PERMITTING THEIR ADMISSION INTO THE
UNITED STATES IN A NUMBER EQUIVALENT TO A PART OF THE TOTAL QUOTA
NUMBERS UNUSED DURING THE WAR YEARS
JUNE 4, 6, 13, 20, 25, 27, AND JULY 2, 9, 16, 18, 1947
Serial No. 11
Printed for the use of the Committee
on the Judiciary
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
SUBCOMMITEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,
Washington, D. C.
The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Frank Fellows (chairman of the
Mr. FELLOWS. The committee will come to order.
We continue our consideration of H. R. 2910.
We are honored this morning by the Secretary of State, and former Chief of Staff,
General Marshall, who will speak to us.
Mr. Secretary, we await your pleasure.
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE C. MARSHALL, SECRETARY OF STATE
Secretary MARSHALL. I appreciate the courtesy of this committee in convening
especially to hear statements by some of the Cabinet officials in support of H. R. 2910. I
speak with a good deal of personal feeling on the subject of displaced persons. As Chief
of Staff during the war years I naturally followed the subject very closely. I saw the first
authentic and detailed reports on conditions in the concentration camps overrun by our
armies. Some of you may recall that, at the request of General Eisenhower, I invited a
group of representative congressional leaders to visit the concentration camps it that time.
I commend their report to you as an historic document. In the realm of foreign affairs, I
have also had a direct association with the problem, as I shall later describe. I believe that
the outcome of the discussion on this bill will have an important bearing on our foreign
policy. That is why I am here today.
There are about a million displaced persons in and around the displaced persons
camps. Most of them are people who were uprooted primarily from the Baltic States,
from the part of Poland east of the Curzon line, now within the Russian borders, and from
Yugoslavia. They were forcibly transferred into Germany by the Nazi armies before the
end of hostilities. A much smaller group includes the remnants of the Jewish population
of Germany and Austria, and also Jewish people, primarily from Poland who fled into
Germany and Austria after the close of hostilities. All of these million individuals are
now under the control of the western Allied armies in the occupied areas of Germany and
Austria and in Italy. It is they who present the problem we are discussing. [p. 503/504]
From 80 to 90 percent of these people now in Germany were there before the close
of hostilities. The remainder were Jewish refugees who entered since that time.
I desire to emphasize at the outset that by supporting this bill, we are not asking
Congress to take on a new problem. The problem of the disposition of these displaced
persons is one that Congress already has on its hands. It is a problem that is ours as a
result of our armies fighting their way into Germany and Austria and taking
governmental control of our zones and with it the fate of these captives of the Nazis.
Congress is at present the ultimate governmental authority for the 600,000 of these
victims of the war now located in the American zones.
Assistant Secretary Hilldring and other witnesses have already described the
character of these displaced persons, their present situation, and the four alternatives that
appear to confront the Congress in determining their disposition. These alternatives are:
First, forcible repatriation;
Second, closing the camps and turning these victims of the Germans back to the
Germans and the German economy;
Third, indefinite separate maintenance in Germany of these displaced persons in
assembly centers; or
Fourth, their resettlement in other countries, including the United States.
I wish to make certain observations on each of these alternatives.
As to repatriation: Very speedily after the end of hostilities the western Allied
armies repatriated to their countries of origin 7,000,000 persons who had been brought
into Germany by the Germans. For the most part, they were western Europeans-French,
Belgian, Dutch-and citizens of prewar Russia. We have aided and will continue to aid all
others willing to return. A substantial but diminishing number of Poles and a small
number of others have gone back to eastern Europe during the past year. But it has now
become clear that practically all of the displaced persons now remaining in our hands are
definitely and finally unwilling to return. We are therefore confronted with the question
as to whether we should return them forcibly against their will. They are, as I have said,
primarily people from the Baltic States, from that part of Poland east of the Curzon line
which is now under Russian authority, and from Yugoslavia. In these areas there has been
a change in the political and economic system which these displaced persons are
unwilling to accept
There is a sharp divergence of viewpoint between the Soviet Government and our
own as to what course should be pursued. The Soviet viewpoint has been vigorously
presented in every possible forum-the Control Councils of Germany and Austria, the
General Assembly of the United Nations, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, to
mention a few. The Soviet viewpoint is that those persons born in areas now subject to
the Soviet governmental authority are Russian subjects and under obligation to return to
such territory. They demand that we forcibly repatriate the displaced persons. Our view is
that it is against American tradition for us to compel these persons, who are now under
our authority, to return against their will to those areas or other areas under governments
whose political and economic systems they are unwilling to accept. [p. 504/505]
I have felt that the position which we have taken is in accord with the views of
Congress. I earnestly hope that the Congress will reject the alternative of forcible
repatriation as a solution of this problem. But this very difference of opinion has been a
constant source of international friction. It will remain such a source of conflict and
friction so long as these displaced persons remain in Germany and until they can strike
new roots elsewhere in friendly soil.
We could eliminate this friction by abandoning our principles: But the principles
which we have been upholding are not only our own. They have been adopted by the
General Assembly of the United Nations. To adopt the alternative of forcible repatriation
would therefore be violating not only our American traditions but also standards of
As to the second alternative-that is, abandoning the displaced persons to the
German economy: There is, quite naturally, a fierce resentment between the displaced
persons and Germans. The displaced persons know that the Germans are responsible for
their present plight. The Germans regard the displaced persons as an uncomfortable
burden and a constant source of annoyance. To turn them back to the Germans would be
to perpetuate grave tensions and an ever-present threat of internal conflict. It would
increase the present difficulty of our occupation and prolong the necessity for it. It would
not lessen the international tension over the displaced persons. Further, from an economic
standpoint this alternative is impracticable. The western zones of Germany are already
overcrowded with the millions of Germans and people of German stock who have fled or
have been transferred into Germany since the end of the war. If we should in addition
throw these displaced persons onto the German economy, we would have to continue our
contributions to their support, though indirectly, as an alternative to their starvation.
The third alternative is to continue indefinitely the segregation and maintenance of
these displaced persons in Germany with a prolonged contribution from the American
taxpayer for their support indirectly or indirectly through the International Refugee
Organization. Quite apart from the dollars-and-cents burden that this country would thus
saddle itself with, I feel profoundly that it is an alternative we should not adopt. So far
these people have done well in making the best of their situation. They have been active
in such work as it is possible for us to find for them and indeed, for them to find for
themselves. They have created much which is excellent the life of their small
communities. But men and women cannot cut off indefinitely from any opportunity to
help themselves or to plan for their own lives and the lives of their children without an
inevitable deterioration. That deterioration would have disastrous effects on these people.
That demoralization also would have disastrous effects on the larger problem of the
reconstruction of the Europe that will alone make possible a peaceful world. The
fundamental American tradition as to all people under our governmental authority is the
opportunity to help oneself. To continue to hold these people where there is no
opportunity to help themselves and without hope of such opportunity is contrary to that
The fourth alternative is the resettlement of these people in the various countries of
the world who will be willing to receive them. [p. 505/506] Determined efforts have been
made in that direction. Helpful results have already been accomplished. Belgium is taking
substantial numbers. So is France. England has assumed responsibility for the care of the
several hundred thousands of the Anders Polish Army and is receiving currently
substantial numbers of displaced persons. Norway has admitted some.
I might say, gentlemen, this is the root of my principal difficulty in relation to this
and in relation to related matters.
The question is naturally asked: Why is it not better for these displaced persons to
participate in and contribute to the reconstruction of Europe?
The answer must be: So far as this is practicable, it is desirable. However, for the
reasons already outlined, the return of these people from the eastern European areas to
those eastern areas for this purpose is not one we can urge. It would take force to do it
and a surrender of our principles. On the other hand the western areas of Europe, which
are already making arrangements for taking several hundred thousand of these displaced
persons, are now densely populated. Their needs, economists tell me, are not primarily
for additional manpower. Certain of these areas are on or across the border line of
overpopulation. Their need is primarily to replace and bring up to date capital equipment,
with the necessary working capital of raw material and subsistence and a restored fabric
of trade and commerce, so that available manpower can again effectively produce and the
product be effectively distributed. Some expert and experienced top-level technical
assistance from the outside might be helpful to them but so far as it might be drawn from
displaced persons it would not be numerically important.
I have received from a member of your committee a suggestion that in the plans
now being formulated by these countries for their economic reconstruction provision be
made for increasing the number of displaced persons they have agreed to admit. As you
know, we have suggested to the European countries that they initiate their own survey of
their own needs and of steps which might be taken in reconstruction. These countries
may well find it possible as part of these new reconstruction plans to convert a larger part
of this burden into an asset by the more extensive use of this manpower than they have so
far found it practicable to plan. Such efforts will certainly have our support. But the
problem is of such magnitude that both we and the South American countries must also
take steps to aid in its solution.
We had hoped a year ago that admission of displaced persons into Latin America
and other countries outside of Europe would solve the whole problem but we now know
that it will not. Shiploads have moved to Paraguay and Brazil and some are now on their
way to Venezuela. Other plans are in the making. But we cannot, I feel, sit back ourselves
and expect other countries to make all the positive efforts to solve this problem in which
we are so directly concerned.
In our discussions with other countries we are constantly met with the question,
“What is the United States, which is urging others to accept these people as useful and
desirable immigrant, doing about accepting a part of them itself?” If we practice what we
preach, if we admit a substantial number of these people as immigrants, then [p. 506/507]
with what others are already doing and will do we can actually bring an end to this tragic
situation. In so doing, we will also confirm our moral leadership and demonstrate that we
are not retreating behind the Atlantic Ocean.
If we practice what we preach, if we admit a substantial number of these people as
immigrants, then with what others are already doing and will do we can actually bring an
end to this tragic situation. In so doing, we will also confirm our moral leadership and
demonstrate that we are not retreating behind the Atlantic Ocean.
I repeated that because it is the kernel of the whole business. You cannot assert
leadership and then not exercise it.
Although we have left it to other countries to take the lead in active measures to
alleviate this tragic situation, yet we are actually in a better position to receive a
substantial number of these people than any other nation. We have numbers of the stock
already in this country who know their language and who have the resources and interest
to assume the task of fitting a relatively small number of their kinsmen into our vast
economy, without expense to this Nation in their resettlement, and with a reasonable
assurance that they will not become public charges.
I am, it goes without saying, deeply concerned with the readjustment of our
veterans into the tasks of peace. Already it has proceeded at a pace far more rapid than
anyone believed possible. I do not believe that the great rank and file of our veterans,
aware of the facts, would want this relative handful of our allies and victims of the Nazi
armies to be forcibly returned to areas where economic and political systems alien to our
own prevail and which they are unwilling to accept. Nor do I believe that they would
desire them to be turned over again to the people who uprooted them and enslaved them
or kept them hopeless in these camps.
I urge prompt decision and action by Congress on this question. We must not
continue these allies of ours, these captives of the Germans, indefinitely in the
camps-prolonging their abnormal existence and killing their hope.
The tasks that are imposed by a declaration of war are not completed when the
guns ceased fire. This is one of the tasks which we have not completed. It is for you to
determine how it is to be completed.
That is the end of my statement, sir.
Mr. FELLOWS. Thank you.
Are there any questions?
Mr. CELLER. Mr. Secretary, you state in your statement that from 80 to 90
percent of these people now in Germany were there before he close of hostilities.
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. CELLER. Many questions have been directed-
Mr. GROSSETT. Mr. Chairman, he did not so state.
Mr. CELLER. I am reading from his statement.
Mr. GROSSETT. I beg your pardon.
Mr. CELLER. Am I right, General?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes. [p. 507/508]
Mr. CELLER. Is the gentleman from Texas satisfied that the general made the
Mr. GROSSETT. I agree the statement is there, but I want to ask the general some
questions about it. I did not catch it. I stand corrected.
Mr. CELLER. General, I just wanted to ask you a question or two on that
statement that you made.
In other words, from 80 to 90 percent of the displaced persons were in the camps
when the shooting stopped; is that correct?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. CELLER. On what do you base that statement, General? And I ask that
question because inquiries from this side of the table have been directed to witnesses
seeking to indicate that those are not the facts, and I would like to get that as clearly as
possible before the members of the committee.
Secretary MARSHALL. The data from which this was taken were the statistics
compiled by the UNRRA organization.
Mr. CELLER. Is it based also on personal observations of members of the military
staffs, like Colonel Sage, who is here in the room?
Secretary MARSHALL. That is correct, sir.
Mr. CELLER. General, the situation, as I take it, is very critical, is it not?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. CELLER. Do you think we should act now or wait until the next session of
Secretary MARSHALL. I think we should act now.
I might say, the continuation of these camps and this wholly abnormal life each
month is bad, and it grows continually worse. It is a long, long time since it started, and 6
months is seemingly almost a lifetime to these people that are incarcerated under the
conditions that exist in these camps.
Mr. FELLOWS. General, under this bill, it is going to take 3 years.
Secretary MARSHALL. I beg your pardon, sir?
Mr. FELLOWS. Under the Stratton bill it is going to take 3 years.
Secretary MARSHALL. It is the beginning of hope.
Mr. FELLOWS. I have heard that many times. But, of course, there is also another
thing connected with it. This Stratton bill calls for 100,000 a year only, and, of course,
those who are not taken in the first year will have to wait their turn and they are going to
leave 450,000 after we have operated under the Stratton bill as it is now written.
What would you say of the 450,000 in the meantime? What would their hope be?
Secretary MARSHALL. Two things would happen, I think, if you pass this bill.
In the first place, we have taken affirmative action. We have thrown out a very
definite hope. We have started with a sizable number of people, and we have created a
situation which would undoubtedly lead to increased numbers being received by other
Mr. CELLER. General, it is interesting to note this:
I inquired from the United Nations at Lake Success as to the number of countries
and their names that have already taken displaced persons and who are willing to take
more, and I find these names of countries: [p. 508/509] England, France, Belgium,
Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Canada, Australia, and Chile.
And I shall put a statement as to this subject into the record.
Now, is it not your opinion that if we start with 100,000, as is provided for in the
Stratton bill, other countries would readily follow and take their allocated portion of these
Secretary MARSHALL. That is my belief, sir, and I emphasize again what I think
is the importance of our taking a definite legal stand in the matter as promptly as
possible, because, to revert back to my written statement, the matter of our leadership has
to be considered. You have to do things affirmatively. You cannot merely act an a
negative manner, by failure to act, and continue any realism in the business that we are
taking a leading part in the great adjustments of the world. They all look to us for action,
and they are guided very much by what we do in a positive manner.
Now, in this particular case, I think that is more clearly a controlling factor than in
almost any other, because the conditions are well understood generally in Europe, and
our persuasions have been frequent and our own affirmative action has not been taken.
Mr. CELLER. I might say also, General, that in reference to taking the 100,000
now and taking the balance over a 3-year period at the rate of 100,000 a year, that plan is
the result of a compromise.
Mr. FELLOWS. By whom?
Mr. CELLER. A compromise by those who are interested in the legislation; and as
you know, General, and I am sure the gentlemen around this table know, we have to be
realistic. It might be easier to get the bill through if the rate is at 100,000 a year for 4
years than if it were 400,000 immediately. That is the basis of the bill. We have to be
practical and realize that we would have more opposition to the 400,000 at once than to
the 400,000 over a 4-year period.
Mr. FELLOWS. Are there any further questions?
Mr. GOSSETT. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the Secretary some questions.
Mr. Secretary, you spoke of your interest in this matter in its relation to our over-
all foreign policy. I am sure that you agree that in foreign policy and in domestic policy
our primary concern is what is for the best interest of this country. In other words, our
own interest. We serve the world best when we serve the world best in that particular; do
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes; if you take it in a very broad way and not in a
Mr. GOSSETT. That is the way I am trying to approach this thing.
I know this question is superfluous, because I know the Secretary agrees with me
that we have, theoretically, at least, repudiated policies of appeasement. It is not
becoming of a great people to try to appease or buy friendship. That cannot be done; can
Secretary MARSHALL. It has not been very successful in the past.
Mr. GOSETT. I find here a statement from General Rooks-we have heard a lot of
testimony that these people, if they went back, would be liquidated. Gen. Lowell W.
Rooks in June made the statement that 7,000,000 had been repatriated by the Allied
forces since the war, and that he did not know of any instances where the repatriates had
been persecuted. [p. 509/510]
Do you personally know of any campaigns of persecution launched against persons
who have been repatriated?
Secretary MARSHALL. I do not think we have any positive data on that particular
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, General, apparently those now left in the DP camps,
particularly in our zone, are simply unwilling to return. I notice that you use that word
“unwilling” in your statement, so it largely resolves itself into a case of unwillingness
rather than impossibility of return.
Secretary MARSHALL. I would not say it largely resolved itself in that. I use the
term “unwilling.” But there is no doubt in our own minds that fear has been a dominant
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, insofar as our own selfish interest goes-that is, the building
up of our moral fiber and our citizenship here at home on which so largely depends our
leadership in world affairs-if a person or an individual is not useful to the economy of
that country, he would not be useful to our economy; would he?
Secretary MARSHALL. Presumably that is correct.
Mr. GOSSETT. So about the only real reason for our taking in any portion of these
DP’s, and I think the burden of the testimony of most witnesses on this subject agrees, is
setting an example—the moral leadership we set; demonstrating our bigheartedness.
Now, we have no reason to believe that other nations would follow suit, do we?
Have we got any positive commitments from anybody?
Secretary MARSHALL. The question is that we have no reason to believe that that
leadership would influence these other nations?
Mr. GOSSETT. In other words, we have no reason to believe that if we took
100,000 or 400,000, the remaining numbers would be divided up among, say, England
Secretary MARSHALL. I would say we have no more reason than I would find in
my own mind of the probable reaction of the other countries.
My judgment is it would have that result, but that is a matter of opinion.
Mr. GOSSETT. I understand; but we have been greatly disappointed in the
cooperation we have received on certain scores heretofore, and we might be disappointed
I am just saying, we might be.
Secretary MARSHALL. The implication was, I think, of their lack of utility to our
Mr. GOSSETT. Yes.
Secretary MARSHALL. I do not know just what your basis is for that statement.
Mr. GOSSETT. What I mean is, the testimony has been that there are nurses there
and doctors there. Europe needs nurses and doctors worse than we do. Is that not true?
Secretary MARSHALL. It probably is; yes. It undoubtedly is.
Mr. GOSSETT. I read an article not long ago of a commission of doctors from
this, country who voluntarily went in to Czechoslovakia at their own time and expense to
teach the Czechoslovakian doctors modern techniques that we had learned in the
treatment of disease. It seemed to be a very helpful and appreciated service. [p. 510/511]
Now, if we are sending technicians, as I think we should, to help those people, if
there are any already there in these camps, certainly they ought to be at work in those
Secretary MARSHALL. I said this in regard to that:
As to the second alternative, abandoning the DP’s to the German economy: There is, quite
naturally, a fierce resentment between the displaced persons and Germans. The displaced persons know
that the Germans are responsible for their present plight. The Germans regard the displaced persons as an
uncomfortable burden and a constant source of annoyance. To turn them back to the Germans would be to
perpetuate grave tensions and an ever-present threat of internal conflict.
Mr. GOSSETT. General, on that point, I have here the Meader report. Mr. Meader
went over as an expert investigator for the Senate committee, and his testimony agrees
with that of other witnesses here-in speaking of the Jewish people, now, and they have
been the primary victims of Nazi aggression and atrocity, and that is one of the blackest
pages on the records of civilization. There are only 30,000 Jews left in Germany,
according to Mr. Meader, and according to Rabbi Bernstein, who is the adviser to
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes; I know him.
Mr. GOSSETT. There are only about 30,000 left of the German Jews, but there are
some 150,000, or at least well over 100,000 Jewish persons who have come into our
camps, primarily from the Russian zones since the war.
Now, that is true: is it not?
Secretary MARSHALL. It was largely Poland rather than Russia.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, we have been hearing a lot about what the Poles would do to
these folks if they went back. I cannot testify to this but I have been told that at least half
of the Polish officials—that is, the Cabinet officers, the heads of the Government, the
present Polish Government-at least half of them are Jewish-Russian Jews-that are now
Do you know whether or not that is true?
Secretary MARSHALL. No; I would have to confirm that. I do not know.
Mr. GOSSETT. And all witnesses agree that there is no anti-Semitism and no
persecution of the Jews as such in Russia.
Secretary MARSHALL. What witnesses have you heard that know exactly what is
happening in Russia?
Mr. GOSSETT. Rabbi Bernstein testified here, and he gave as his opinion—and he
is the best authority on that angle that we have had. He is the adviser to General Clay.
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes; I know him personally.
Mr. GOSSETT. And he said that there was no persecution of the Jews in Russia
but there was persecution of the Jews in Poland. He gave his opinion that anti-Semitism
was just as bad in Poland as it was in Germany. But the thing that puzzles me is why
would there be any persecution of the Jews in Poland when half of the Polish
Government are Jews?
Now, this other thing, General.
We do know that thousands upon thousands, and perhaps 200,000, of those
persons now in our DP camps have come out of Russian-occupied areas since the
shooting stopped. [p. 511/512]
Now, it seems reasonable to me-and if it is not reasonable, I would like for you to
point out to me why it is not-that Russia is not going to permit people to leave her zone
unless she wants to get rid of them or unless she has some reason for sending them to our
zone. They have been letting those people leave by the thousand.
Here is an article appearing in a New York paper, January 26, 1947. It said:
Army headquarters meanwhile is warily watching the actions of approximately 40,000 Polish Jews
now temporarily located along the Polish-Czecho frontier.
This is January 1947.
While this group probably will not migrate in the severe winter months, it does not mean that the
Russian, Polish, and Czech Governments facilitate the movement of Polish Jews from east to west. This
strategy is based on the belief that the more of the Jews who become the responsibility of the western
powers, the more embarrassed the western powers will become in view of the tense Palestine situation.
Mr. CELLER. What is the source of that statement?
Mr. GOSSETT. It appeared in the New York paper.
Mr. CELLER. What are you reading from, I mean?
Mr. GOSSETT. Operation Immigration.
You will not deny that that statement ran in a New York paper, would you?
Mr. CELLER. I would not deny it, but I deny many things that occur in that
pamphlet from which you read. It is a tissue of lies and falsities.
Mr. GOSSETT. I do not interrupt the gentleman, and I hope he will not interrupt
Mr. CELLER. I thought it might be well for the general to know that.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, is it not reasonable to assume that if the Russians are
permitting this great migration of persons from their zones into our camps, they are not
doing it for our benefit? Apparently they do not love us too much. They are not trying to
confer any benefits on us by permitting folks to go out of their zone into ours.
Is it not reasonable to assume that there is some reason why the Russians let all
these folks out of their zones into ours?
Secretary MARSHALL. There are a good many assumptions you are making there
that are a matter of debate.
Mr. GOSSETT. I grant you they are assumptions.
Secretary MARSHALL. I am dealing pretty largely with an existing fact and its
effect on our general considerations here and abroad.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, General, in kindness to yourself-and I am one of your
greatest admirers, sir, if you want to know it. I am not trying to embarrass you any at all.
We cannot assume that the Russians are trying to do us any favor by letting these folks
Secretary MARSHALL. I think you are correct in that. We do not make this
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, I have the feeling and I grant you here again it is merely
based on what people have told me-I have not been there-that there are a lot of folks in
those camps who would be detrimental to us, who are hostile to America and the
American way of life, and there are possibly a good many there who have subversive
intentions in seeking entry into this country. [p. 512/513]
Secretary MARSHALL. I do not doubt but what that is certainly in part correct
but, at the same time, we have the possibility for screening them very carefully, which, of
course, we would do.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, General, that is another point that I want to ask you about
and you are not responsible for this, either.
You know the President issued a directive in December 1945 in which he set aside
90 percent of the nonpreference quotas for DP’s, and thereafter the consulates were
instructed to facilitate the issuance of visas to displaced persons, and they were told to
waive the usual requirements, that is, birth certificates, police records, showing one to be
of good character, because it was said that these folks could not have those records, so we
have taken just superficial evidence of those facts.
Then for the usual evidence that one will not become a public charge, we have
taken corporate affidavits from charitable institutions.
Now, that certainly is waiving the more careful screening which we ordinarily
would do under the immigration laws, is it not ?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. GOSSETT. And again in this directive, the President stated—and I think it
was a fine thing to put in the directive
Visas should be distributed fairly among persons of all faiths, creeds, and nationalities. I desire that
special attention be devoted to orphaned children to whom it is hoped a majority of the visas will be issued.
Now, notwithstanding that, according to the testimony of the State Department,
which I have here, even though less than 20 percent of the persons in those camps were
Jewish, over 75 percent of all visas issued were issued to Jewish persons.
We asked about the orphaned children. This was a hearing in Detroit, and I believe
this is Mr. Hearing’s testimony :
Thus far in Europe, Germany, and Austria, and in the American zones, we found only about 600
possible orphaned cases. We have been beating the bushes in order to find them.
Now, these Jews did not bring any orphaned children. According to what evidence
I have, which may or may not be correct, the only orphaned children that we brought in
here were about 400, I believe, Polish orphans, from Mexico, and we had terrible
difficulty in getting them in, and that was only about half the number that were located
So the point I am making is that the screening heretofore under the President’s
directive has been a farce, and the only way we can judge the future is by the past; so we
just have not been screening those people.
Do you have any reason to believe we would do a better job under the Stratton bill
than we have done under the President’s directive?
Secretary MARSHALL. I would not wish to assume that I am going to do a very
much better job than my predecessors in relation to this.
Mr. GOSSETT. You cannot do it, General. You have to trust subordinates.
Secretary MARSHALL. But I think it would be a good job.
Mr. GOSSETT. As far as you are concerned, I know it would be; but you
personally cannot do that work. You have to entrust it to subordinates. [p. 513/514]
Secretary MARSHALL. I can do this: The State Department is a small institution
compared to the War Department during the war, and it is a matter of the quality and
integrity of your subordinates.
Mr. GOSSETT. But, General, to come down to that screening, that is another
thing. We get into this moral matter that my chairman brought up the other day. If this is
a humanitarian thing, what right have we got to go in there and say to this fellow that has
money and influence and can get first in line for the visa, “We will take you,” and leave
the others there-the penniless fellows there?
Secretary MARSHALL. I do not think there would be any frequency of cases of
Mr. GOSSETT. In other words, we are caught in a dilemma. If we screen, we are
getting the folks who need it most. If we do not screen, we are getting people that
certainly do not help the economy.
Secretary MARSHALL. I think that is quite soluble.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, another question—and this is purely selfish-it might be
called even mercenary-but cannot we assume that the cream has already been skimmed
off these camps as far as useful persons are concerned?
Secretary MARSHALL. I do not think so-not from the data that we have now
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, here is a statement, too, that worried me. In 1945 the
headquarters, United States forces in European theater, recommended to the War
Department that the camps be closed. In December-this was 1945-a plan was submitted
to the War Department for repatriation of certain groups and the closing of the centers
and the turning over to the German Army of persons not desiring repatriation.
Then, in April 1946, the War Department was notified by the State Department to
abandon that plan.
Now, why did the State Department veto the War Department’s plan to close those
Secretary MARSHALL. I would have to check up on that particular thing. I would
assume offhand it came out of the consideration of the fact that the actual closing of the
camps would create a situation which was opposed to our traditional policy in relation to
people who were, you might say, political outcasts.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, I believe the British have about 300,000 displaced persons
at this time. .
Secretary MARSHALL. I know they have taken quite a large number of Poles.
Mr. GOSSETT. And the French have about 33,000.
The Russians have no displaced-persons camps; is that true?
Secretary MARSHALL. I think that is true. They have camps, but I do not believe
they call them displaced-persons camps.
Mr. GOSSETT. Therefore this boils down to a question of asserting American
leadership in hopes that other countries will follow suit on taking their part of those DP’s;
that is about it, is it not?
Secretary MARSHALL. The tentative agreements, I understand here-and I have
not analyzed these figures myself carefully-are that about 357,000 would be taken by
Belgium, England, France, Netherlands, Norway, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile,
Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, and Canada, in addition to what has already been taken.
Mr. GOSSETT. General, if our spending $350,000,000,000 and a million
casualties in the war, and our spending $20,000,000,000 since, and sending over all of the
personnel to help these people, and our plan, which is idealistic and practical, and which
we hope will work-if that will not convince the world of our moral leadership, taking
these DP’s would not do the job, would it?
Secretary MARSHALL. I would make this comment :
In the first place, we are remote from the area of these difficulties. We did not
suffer in physical destruction of property and the horrors of occupation suffered there.
We suffered in the casualties to our soldiers, and we suffered in billions that had to
be appropriated to operate in the war, but from the family destruction, from the material
destruction of our civilization, our homes, cities, and villages, and our countryside, and
from the destruction of our fiber to the extent that we were being ruled in an arbitrary
manner by our enemies, we escaped entirely.
Therefore, there is always the strong and inevitable feeling that we held ourselves
aloof from actually taking the heavy burdens of making the adjustments that are
necessary, in the opinion of many, to the rehabilitation of Europe.
I repeat again, we have produced these billions, and freely employed them in the
conduct of the war. We have freely contributed billions since the war.
Mr. GOSSETT. And we are going to continue to do that?
Secretary MARSHALL. We have freely contributed billions since the war, but we
have not as a nation suffered as the nations of Europe concerned in these areas have
suffered and despite these two factors that I mentioned, there is the feeling that we hold
ourselves remote from the actual participation in accepting physical contact, you might
say, with the burdens of the problem.
Now that, I think, is a very real reaction, and it operates in connection with this
matter very effectively, and unfortunately.
Mr. GOSSETT. General, this one further question.
I do not mean to detain you.
We get now, I judge, and again the statistics are not very accurate, several hundred
thousand persons a year, both legally and illegally, through immigration.
Now, would you be agreeable-
Mr. CELLER. Mr. Chairman, I did not hear that. Would the gentleman repeat that?
Mr. GOSSETT. I said we get 200,000 people a year legally and illegally through
immigration coming into the country.
Mr. CELLER. Of course; the gentleman will admit, Mr. Carusi, who is
Commissioner of Immigration, challenged that statement.
Mr. GOSSETT. I do not recall that but I have heard it placed at 800,000. I am just
trying to strike a happy medium. Nobody knows.
Mr. FELLOWS. He did say that there were 3,500,000 aliens in the country today
legally and illegally, or thereabouts.
Mr. CELLER. He did say also that most of those who were in the country illegally
crossed the Mexican border into Texas, the gentleman’s own State, for seasonal
occupation and forget to go back to Mexico, and that when the Commissioner tries to
return those men, many of the Representatives from Texas object and want to keep them
in Texas. [p. 515/516]
Mr. GOSSETT. I think the testimony shows that several million a year crossed the
border in Detroit, and I know your people in New York complain that they are getting
100,000 Puerto Ricans a year. Of course, they are Americans, and we cannot do anything
Mr. FELLOWS. May I interrupt you gentlemen to say this, please? The time is
getting short and we have before us the Secretary of War.
Mr. GOSSETT. I have just one more question.
Mr. CELLER. Except we cannot let that statement unchallenged dangle in the air,
about a million going in and out of Detroit. Of course, several million a year go and
return daily because they work on both sides of the border. They daily cross, and you
multiply those daily crossings, and you get millions of illegal entrants if you do not
examine the facts.
Mr. GOSSETT. The point I am trying to make is that we have no way of knowing
how many people come in here or how many stay.
Mr. FELLOWS. We do know that, according to the record, last year 57,000,000
aliens crossed our border.
Mr. CELLER. Tourists and visitors and students and ministers and American
citizens going in and out.
Secretary MARSHALL. I believe Mr. Carusi states here in his statement that the
largest estimate of illegal entries which can be made from the number of apprehensions
clearly shows that the figure of 1,540,000 is about 800 percent too high.
Mr. GOSSETT. General, if we should agree to take 100,000 or 200,000 or any
other number of DP’s do you not think we should correspondingly reduce our normal
immigration; in other words, charge them to future quotas, so that the sum total of
immigrants to this country will be unchanged?
Secretary MARSHALL. You are getting into a technical matter regarding the
general immigration quotas which I would not be prepared to make an immediate answer
on. I am sorry I cannot reply to it.
Mr. GOSSETT. I believe the facts will show that we have a larger percentage of
aliens and of foreign-born citizens, many of whom are leaders in this country, than any
other nation in the world.
Secretary MARSHALL. That is the significance of the Statue of Liberty.
Mr. GOSSETT. And we are proud of the immigrants who came here in the last
century, at least, and we want those who will help to build up the country. That is true, is
it not ?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. GOSSETT. And we do not want those who will not be assets to us; that is
equally true, is it not?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. GOSSETT. So assuming that we are going to have to take any number of these
DP’s, and assuming that our housing and our employment problems are heavy, as I think
will be agreed, then would it not be reasonable to charge them at least to future quotas
and not to increase our over-all immigration?
Secretary MARSHALL. As I say, you are getting into a technical consideration of
the entire immigration policy relation to the United States and our change in policy which
has come through later years [p. 516/517] here from complete freedom of entry to a
controlled allotment, and the basis of those allotments, which is a very intricate matter;
and I would not attempt to answer that offhand. I would have to have considerable
education on that particular subject before I could answer that.
Mr. GOSSETT. You would, not want to say whether you believe or disbelieve in
our immigration policies, would you?
Secretary MARSHALL. I would say offhand that I do believe in it. I think the
unrestricted, unchecked, unqualified immigration that went on through the years there
was a little too broad in its application.
Mr. GOSSETT. I believe that is all.
Mr. ROBSION. I would like to ask the general a question.
Mr. FELLOWS. Very well.
Mr. ROBSION. Mr. Secretary, you replied in answer to the question of Mr.
Gossett of Texas, which was that the persons in these DP camps would likely be more
needed in Europe than in the United States
Secretary MARSHALL. Would you mind repeating that a little louder, sir?
Mr. ROBSION. I say, in answer to a question of Mr. Gossett of Texas, you stated
that the nurses, in these DP camps, are more needed in Europe than in the United States.
Secretary MARSHALL. I think I said there were probably more nurses needed in
Europe than in the United States.
Mr. ROBSION. More needed.
Now, it has also been stated before our committee here that there are many
technicians, carpenters, mechanics—skilled mechanics, machinists, and other craftsmen
among the DP’s, in the DP camps.
I think we all agree that Europe must be rebuilt.
Would there not be more need for those persons, nurses, doctors, technicians,
craftsmen, mechanics, and carpenters; in Europe, than in the United States?
Secretary MARSHALL. Possibly that is so; but I think you have to take into
consideration whether or not the man can find a job in Europe; whether or not he will be
accepted, and can find any reasonable happiness in the occupation.
I have in mind now these people who have reason to feel in a way that is hardly
comprehensive to us, an extreme bitterness for their wretched plight of the last 6 or 7
years, more accentuated now, almost, than then, by the fact that the war is over and still
no help has come to them, of finding a useful occupation with their talents among the
people who are responsible for their plight.
Mr. ROBSION. Of course; I am not suggesting that these people be retained and
employed in Germany but the high purpose of the Secretary, and I think all of us, is that
Europe be rehabilitated and rebuilt.
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROBSION. And what concerns me quite a lot is that we plan to send them
money and equipment and materials, and of course somebody will have to be there to use
those materials to rebuild Europe.
Secretary MARSHALL. Might I answer that question in this way?
Here is Belgium that is proposing to take 110,000, considering it; Great Britain
quite a large number, in addition to those they aready [p. 517/518] have; France is
contemplating 100,000; Netherlands, 16,000; and Norway, 800.
That, in part, supplies the answer to your question, it seems to me.
Mr. ROBSION. Yes, but there are other countries.
Mr. GOSSETT. Will the gentleman yield there?
Mr. ROBSION. Just a minute.
Yes; you may proceed.
Mr. GOSSETT. Had we better not have them sign up on the dotted line, General,
before we move in that particular?
Secretary MARSHALL. I think it is exactly the reverse, sir.
Mr.. CELLER. Mr. Chairman, I have a question.
If you were a carpenter or a nurse, general, and your native land was Yugoslavia,
would you be willing to go back if you would be purged upon your return?
Secretary MARSHALL. I do not imagine I would, sir.
Mr. ROBSION. My question was not directed to the countries where there is
purging at all but to countries where there is no purging.
Mr. CELLER. Let us assume that many of these displaced persons are nurses and
carpenters and doctors, like the Calvinists and the Pilgrims
Mr. GRAHAM. And the Democrats-don’t forget those.
Mr. CELLER. I am sure that many of these carpenters and nurses, like the Pilgrims
and the Calvinists and the Puritans who came to this country to escape religious
persecution, feared to go back to their native lands because of religious persecution. Is
not that so, General?
Secretary MARSHALL. I think that history proves that.
Mr. FELLOWS. Mr. Graham would like to ask one question.
Mr. GRAHAM. General Marshall, I have a $64 question I would like to ask you.
May I say at the outset I appreciate that both you and Judge Patterson are very
busy men and. you have come here at a sacrifice. I will confine my question entirely to
Some of us are very much concerned about section 3, which gives priority to
relatives of American citizens and war veterans. I do not know whether you are familiar
with that or not. I will read it, if you will pardon me.
Sec. 3. Priority under this act shall be given to the widow, parents, children, and other relatives
within the fourth degree of consanguinity of citizens of the United States or of persons who served
honorably in the armed services of the United States during World War II and World War I;
Do you have any reason to be apprehensive that by reason of the terms of this
provision, that special coverages, privileges, or priorities will be granted any racial or
nationalistic group under the terms of that section?
Secretary MARSHALL. No, sir.
Mr. GRAHAM. Thank you.
Secretary MARSHALL. I would say this: That the vital point in the bill is that it
should make provision for admitting displaced persons. The question of whether or not
there should be any priorities or what they should he is somewhat secondary. It is one
which I am sure everyone would be willing to accept the judgment of the committee on.
The priority provision, just referred to, applies to those persons who have relatives
in the United States or relatives who served honorably in the United States armed forces.
The fact that the displaced per[p. 518/519]sons may have relatives in the United States
and that these relatives may have money does not make them my better off as long as
they are in camps in Germany than those persons who do not have relatives in the United
It might make it easier for them to find work and to fit into the economic life of
this country if they were admitted here.
For that reason, it would seem more sensible for the displaced person who has
relatives in the United States to come here rather than to go to France where he has no
relatives and for a displaced person who has relatives in France to go there, rather than
I am informed that among other nations in admitting displaced persons, they
recognize this practical aspect of the question. Probably the number who have relatives is
in any event a small proportion of the total. If priorities were given those with relatives in
the United States, the major portion of those who came here still would be persons
without relatives and who would have to look primarily to the organizations which are
interested in the matter, for guidance, as to where they would settle in the United States,
and their placement in the economic picture.
I repeat again my answer to your general question. I do not think that that would be
cause for fear.
Mr. CHELF. General Marshall, inasmuch as the sands of the present legislative
hourglass have about run out, and there will be no doubt great difficulty in reporting
favorably on this bill to the extent, at least, time being the essence, and especially due to
the violent opposition to the Stratton bill as such, in your opinion, do you think that if we
could get together here in subcommittee and amend this bill to, say, receiving 100,000, in
your opinion, sir, would that help you in your problem?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. CHELF. In other words, do you believe that would show good faith and be a
step in the right direction?
Secretary MARSHALL. I will put it this way: It would be a lot better than nothing.
Mr. GRAHAM. It would be a token gesture would it not?
Mr. CELLER. But you would prefer the 400,000?
Secretary MARSHALL. Oh, yes; I would much prefer that.
Mr. CELLER. Have you finished?
Mr. CHELF. I might say this to you, General: I was one of the some 10,000,000
that followed your leadership. Through your matchless ability and your leadership we
were able to win an honorable conflict. I for one would be willing to follow your advice
and your leadership and your counsel now, and I will seek to amend this bill to admit
Mr. CELLER. Mr. Secretary, you have confidence, I am sure, in Rabbi Bernstein,
have you not?
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. CELLER. The statement has been made in the form of a question that there
was no evidence of any persecution of the displaced persons that returned to their native
lands. Rabbi Bernstein countered by saying specifically that a group had returned to
Poland. They were Jews. They returned to the city of Kielce, and 40 of them in a pogrom
were killed and several hundred were wounded. There were many casualties, I
understand. [p. 519/520]
Would you say that that is persecution?
Secretary MARSHALL. I would say that that was persecution. I will go a little
further than that. The extreme of purging or persecution would be torture and death or
imprisonment under very cruel circumstances but there are many ways of persecution that
do not take the form of, we will say, physical violence, and yet are tragically effective.
You can be a pariah in your community. You can be made a failure in any business
effort. You can be made completely unhappy and desperate in your family life, and yet
you will not be purged in the popular conception, which is being shot or made away with.
So there are many ways to effect a practical as well as a spiritual control of the
individual, and. make his life almost unbearable or make him break completely with
every belief he has in order to live in a reasonable degree of peace.
That is part of the process.
Mr. CELLER. General, the statement has been made that the cream of these people
has been skimmed off as to their capabilities and their possibilities of assimilation in the
You know, of course, of Director General Rowell W. Rooks, of UNRRA, do you
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes; I know him personally.
Mr. CELLER. And you have confidence in him, have you not?
Secretary MARSHALL. Very great confidence.
Mr. CELLER. In a letter that he sent to Governor Lehman under date of June 28,
1947, in the last paragraph, he says the following:
My information is that in the main these displaced persons-
He used the word “they”-
they consist of honest and potentially useful members of society, comprising farmers, laborers, skilled
artisans, and representatives of many of the arts and sciences. With a careful selection to eliminate the
small percentage of undesirables, it would be possible to fill large quotas with good material for future
Do you subscribe to that statement, General ?
Secretary MARSHALL. If General Rooks says that, my feeling would be that it is
Mr. CELLER. Now, the statement has also been made that these displaced
persons, not being useful for the European economy, would not be useful to our own
Would you not say that they are not useful to their own economy because of that
fear of religious or racial persecution and their unwillingness to go back? That does not
militate against the idea that they would be useful to our own economy, since they are
carpenters and farmers and nurses and agricultural workers and so forth, employables
whom we need?
What is your comment on that, General?
Secretary MARSHALL. I think that the conditions over there are so abnormal that
the mere statement that they are not useful to the European economy is not answered, but
endorsed, by the fact that it is not practical to utilize their services there under the
conditions that now exist, whereas I am of the opinion, and I am so advised by people
who are supposed to understand these things very thoroughly, that they would be
absorbed in this country with great ease and dispatch.
Mr. CELLER. General you have no information, have you, that half of the
members of the Government of Poland are Jews? [p. 520/521]
Have you any such information?
Secretary MARSHALL. No, sir; I just heard it today.
Mr. CELLER. And I will say with an assurance equal to the gentleman from Texas
that that is not the case.
Mr. FELLOWS. That is an issue between you and Mr. Gossett.
Mr. GOSSETT. How many of them are Jewish, I would like to ask the gentleman?
Mr. CELLER. Two or three of the entirety.
Mr. GOSSETT. I hate to keep butting in here, but I have studied this thing a long
while and the question keeps recurring to me.
General, as a matter of fact, the DP’s that we have been taking care of are better fed
than the civilian population is in the surrounding area, are they not?
Secretary MARSHALL. Probably so.
Mr. GOSSETT. And I am not complaining at that. We should do a good job. on
that. But we have maintained and run those camps in a way that to be in the camp is
better than to be out, if you did not have a job. Is not that true?
Secretary MARSHALL. If you did not have a job, I think that would be true; but I
do not think that is the basis of the urge at all. It is the completely abnormal conditions
under which they have to live and the conditions of control, and things of that kind.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, we offered a food bonus last year to persons who would
voluntarily repatriate themselves.
Secretary MARSHALL. Yes.
Mr. GOSSETT. And how many accepted that bonus, if you know?
Secretary MARSHALL. Forty-five thousand, they tell me.
Mr. GOSSETT. And did we not reinstate that bonus again this year?
Secretary MARSHALL. For about 9,000 or 10,000. I am told.
Mr. GOSSETT. As a general thing, the thing that I cannot get through my mind is
that if 7,000,000 could be repatriated, why could not the 800,000 remaining be
Secretary MARSHALL. The 7,000,000 included masses of people out of France,
Belgium, Holland and all those countries. It was just a question of transportation to get
them in motion and get them back to these countries. There was very little problem there.
Mr. GOSSETT. Why have we been taking these folks, letting them come out of
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria, and Hungary, into our American camps?
Secretary MARSHALL. Some of these have been fleeing. Some of these have just
been getting into what they thought was a better future for them. There is no question
about that. We have reports right now of people fleeing across the border out of the
Mr. GOSSETT. Have we closed those camps now or are we still letting people
Secretary MARSHALL. They are closed.
Mr. GOSSETT. Thank you, sir.
Mr. FELLOWS. Are there any further questions?
Mr. FELLOWS. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary MARSHALL. Thank you very much, gentlemen.