Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Russell, Richard B. (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971; Zylka, Josef
Refugees; Legislators; Emigration and immigration; Emigration and immigration law; International relations

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, April 15, 1952. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

April 15, 1952

Yesterday I welcomed the last Displaced Person and his family to the United States. The law allowed 339,000 to come to this country. He was No. 339,000. He had a lovely wife and two sweet little girls. He came from Poland. The Russians drove him out. Hitler's treatment of occupied countries was much better (a mild statement) than the treatment received by Russian occupied countries.

Russia now occupies Poland, Czco-Slavacia [sic], Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, East Germany, a part of Austria, north Korea, and all of China.

Ghengis Khan, Tamerlane, Atilla and the cut throats of history were gentlemen beside the Boshivic [sic].

When I was at Potsdam I looked into the displaced person situation. At that time there were 1,200,000 of them from all the countries named in Eastern Europe. After I arrived at Washington, I asked Dick Russell, who was the chairman of the emigration committee in the Senate, and his opposite number in the House, who came from Texas, to go to Germany and then to come and see me to talk about a plan for taking care of them.

Well these two great Chairmen went to Europe and came back. They both reported that we already had enough "furriners" in this country and we needed no more! I reminded them that "displaced" persons made this great nation what it is.

The idea I had was that we take 400,000, South America take 400,000 and the Commonwealth countries take 400,000.

After most bitter legislative fights we finally took 339,000.

I hope we will agree to 300,000 more. They are fine people and may be an addition to our blood stream that we need right now.

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