JUNE 14, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Slowly but surely we move a step toward taking some share in the burden of rehabilitating the people in Europe's DP camps and finding them new homes throughout the world. The bill passed last week in the House is a more liberal bill than the one passed in the Senate and contains far fewer restrictions. It will permit 202,000 people from the camps and an unspecified number of orphan children to enter the United States. To the 200,000 who have been living in camps in Germany, Italy and Austria since April 21, 1947, it adds 2000 Czech refugees who fled their homeland after the recent change of government.
The bill now goes to the Senate-House Conference Committee, and it is hoped that there will be no further delay. Although I have not read the bill, I imagine the provision that persons must have lived in these camps since April 21, 1947 means that anyone who has been there before that date is eligible to come into this country.
Just why people who came into these camps after that date are barred is a little hard to understand. There must be a number of people who fled their countries under new regimes during the past year. They would probably make good citizens, since they are certain to be anti-Communists and have not spent such a long time living the kind of camp life which has a deteriorating effect on all. I suppose there is some reason for this date which I do not understand, and I shall anxiously await an explanation of the purpose for putting this exact date into the bill.
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Many people in this country will regret the death of David Marcus, former Commissioner of Correction of New York City, who, after serving in World War II as a colonel with important staff and combat missions to his credit, served as Supreme Commander of the Jewish forces in Jerusalem. He died trying to open the road to get food through to the people of Jerusalem.
His death brings up a very important question, because it seems to me that his mission was really a U.N. responsibility. By a decision taken last November in the General Assembly, it was provided that an international regime be set up for Jerusalem, with free access to that city by all. If this had been implemented at the time, none of the devastation which has occurred in Jerusalem would have been necessary and the holy shrines, which mean much to many different religions throughout the world, would have been unharmed. At the same time, many who have died in the fighting in Jerusalem would still be alive and great suffering for many more could have been avoided.
This points up again the need for armed forces at the disposal of the United Nations. Whether these are on a voluntary basis in certain parts of the world, or whether they are formally set up in agreement with the various military advisers who have been sitting for months trying to evolve a plan, is something which should be settled now.