The Role of the US Department of State in the Actualization of Assistance Measures to European Refugees on the International Scene (1938-1952)

Keywords: State Department, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, political refugees, humanitarian law, the Secretary of State


The paper analyzes the role of the U.S. foreign affairs agency in implementing the humanitarian initiatives of US Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman in relation to political refugees from Germany and Austria in prewar and post-war time. It was the particular period of time that was characterized by the beginning of the United States active participation in assisting forced emigrants from the Third Reich at the expense of international actualization of that issue. That process took place against the backdrop of malfunctioning of existing institutional tools in the structure of the League of Nations on the one hand, and on the other hand, it was complicated by the complete rejection of foreign policy activity outside the American continent in any forms by the overwhelming majority of American congressmen.

Under such circumstances, President Roosevelt could act solely within his own sphere of competence, also relying on Cordell Hull, the Head of the US Department of State. In the sphere of foreign policy, the US Department of State activities aimed to follow the proclaimed at the end of March 1938 president’s course on the international application of the «responsibility of each nation» principle for the fate of European refugees from Nazism are of particular interest.

For the scientific coverage of the theme, the author uses published documents of the United States Department of State from the series Foreign Relations of the United States, and memoirs of Cordell Hull, the Secretary of State.

The contribution of the US State Department officials to the implementation of the plans of American leaders to establish international cooperation in the field of assistance to European refugees is retraced. Particular attention is paid to the coordinating work of professional diplomats with American delegations at international forums in Lima, Havana, Buenos Aires. The work of C. Hull on the realization of the president’s humanitarian initiatives, his participation in solving refugee problems at the level of the heads of foreign policy departments of Latin America states is analyzed. The activities of the US foreign affairs agency on the actualization of refugee issues during the presidency of G. Truman are also considered.

How to Cite
YushkevychV. (2018). The Role of the US Department of State in the Actualization of Assistance Measures to European Refugees on the International Scene (1938-1952). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, 1(4 (24), 94-99. Retrieved from
World History and International Relations