Statements from Representatives at the Evian Conference, July 1938

Statements from representatives at the Evian Conference in July 1938, discussing the Jewish-refugee situation in Europe.

United States of America

Statement included in the invitation issued from the United States of America to attend the Evian Conference

“No country would be expected to receive greater number of emigrants than is permitted by its existing legislation.”1

Myron Taylor, US Representative and Former Chairman of the Board of the American Steel Corporation

"[My] country’s contribution was to make the German and Austrian immigration quota, which up to this point remained unfilled, fully available."2


Hume Wong, delegate to the League of Nations

"Canada had much sympathy for the impossible situation in which the refugees found themselves, but that it could do no more than it was already doing-which was a great deal. Certain classes of agriculturalists were welcome in Canada; everyone else was out of luck."3

United Kingdom

Lord Winterton, Member of the House of Lords in 1938

“The United Kingdom is not a country of immigration.”4


T.W. White, Minister for Trade and Customs

“Australia has her own particular difficulties . . . migration has naturally been predominantly British, and it (is not) desired that this be largely departed from while British settlers are forthcoming.

Under the circumstances Australia cannot do more, for it will be appreciated that in a young country manpower from the source from which most of its citizens have sprung is preferred, while undue privileges cannot be given to one particular class of non-British subjects without injustices to others.

It will no doubt be appreciated also that as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration . . .  I hope that the conference will find a solution of this tragic world problem.”


Senator Henri Berenger, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee, French Senate

France had reached “the extreme point of saturation as regards admission of refugees.”5


  • 1 : Refugees from Nazi Germany and the Liberal European States, ed. Frank Caestecker and Bob Moore (New York: Berghahn Books), 162.
  • 2 : “The Evian Conference,” Yad Vashem website, accessed on April 29, 2015.
  • 3 : Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948.
  • 4 : "Evian Conference: Failure of the International Community", International Tracing Services website, accessed on April 29, 2015.
  • 5 : Ibid, Yad Vashem website.


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