We were advised by our friends in the State Department that the State
Department not only was not interested in the refugee problem, but that they
were actively suppressing information about the extent of the Holocaust by
sending instructions to their legation in Switzerland not to permit private
Jewish agencies to transmit any such stories.|
This suppression and cover up were the final straws in causing the Secretary [of Treasury Dept., Henry Morgenthau, Jr.] to
go ahead with the President on the establishment of the War Refugee Board.
We prepared a memorandum, prepared by Joe DuBois and Randolph Paul and myself
to Secretary Morgenthau recommending that he go to the President and that an
agency be established outside the State Department to handle the refugee policy
of the United States.
The suppressing of the information was the key to action being taken on behalf
of the refugees. If you don't know what is going on, and you suppress the
information, the government becomes an accomplice to what the Nazis were doing,
by hiding the information from the American public.
We had a meeting Sunday afternoon at the White House in the Oval Office and the
President was there, Secretary Morgenthau, Randolph Paul, and I. We gave the
President the memorandum but he largely listened, rather than reading the
memorandum. And Secretary Morgenthau left it to me to explain why we were
there, which I did. The President asked questions and was very interested.
And at the end of the meeting the President said, "We will do it."
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