MRS. LEAH MANNING'S REPORT ON THE PARIS CONFERENCE, JULY 15/16th 1939.
The Paris Conference on the problem of refugees from Spain was the most successful international Conference on Spain I have attended. The opening session, which was planned to give speakers from the various countries represented an opportunity of stating what had been done in their country towards the problem of resettlement, showed that England and France were far ahead of other European countries in their contributions, both financial and moral, towards the solution of the problem. The three methods being adopted are:-
(1) Emigration to one of the S. American countries. England's effort with the " Sinaia " is the most outstanding of these. S.E.R.E.
has also sent and continues to send a large number of refugees to Chile, Mexico and Venezuela.
(2) Settlement on the land in France. This is probably the most satisfactory and least expensive of the solutions. The French have set up a semi-official committee to survey the whole problem. There are vast tracts of excellent agricultural land as well as many hundreds of farm houses in the S. Eastern districts of France which are quite derelict owing to the scarcity of agricultural labour. It is in these areas that the French Government propose to establish their land settlement schemes.
(3) The settlement of refugees in French Morocco. The British Committee, through its office in Perpignan, have already settled many hundreds of refugees and their families in Tangier.
Three other important points stressed during the course of the morning session were:-
(1) The absolute necessity of removing from the camps at the earliest possible moment all children and all sick and wounded.
(2) The necessity of extending the work of the High Commissioner for refugees at the League of Nations to include the refugees from Spain.
(3) The importance of continuing emergency relief in the shape of food, medical benefits, clothing, hygienic assistance and cultural opportunities to those still in the camps awaiting a permanent solution to their difficulties.
The French Committee are receiving large sums of money from all European countries and from America for this type of work. The mobile dispensaries and the parcels about which this Committee has already heard, are part of this emergency relief. In addition the cultural opportunities comprise dictionaries, text books, writing, drawing and modelling materials, musical instruments. A splendid exhibition of work done in the camps was on show and will shortly be brought to London.
The real work of the Conference was carried out in the various Commissions which were as follows:-
1. The settlement of refugees
2. Medical Aid.