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Thomas T. Handy, Assistant Chief of Staff, Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, February 8, 1944, on reassuring the British that military forces will not be used to rescue refugees


8 February 1944

MEMORANDUM FOR THE CHIEF OF STAFF:

Subject: Appointment of the Secretary of War as a Member of the War Refugee Board.

I. Discussion.

1. Regarding the enclosed memorandum from the Office of the Chief of Staff dated 7 February 1944 on above subject, it appears highly desirable to communicate with the British Government offering assurance that military forces, units or individuals will not be used in rescuing refugees except insofar as these rescues may result from planned military operations conducted to defeat the Axis military.

2. Since the information from the British Government was received through Mr. Winant it is believed preferable to transmit any answer thereto in a confidential status to Mr. Winant for passing on to the British Government.

3. It is a sound military principle that the strength of the armed forces should not be diversified in secondary efforts which lack military objectives. For this reason, it is believed that Mr. Bundy's proposed message should be broadened in its scope to be made applicable to all types of operations. A suggested reply follows:

"It is not contemplated that units or individuals of the armed forces will be employed for the purpose of rescuing victims of enemy oppression unless such rescues are the direct result of military operations conducted with the objective of defeating the armed forces of the enemy."

II. Action Recommended.

Inform Mr. Bundy of the War Department counter proposal set forth in paragraph 3 above.

Thos. T. Handy
Major General
Assistant Chief of Staff


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