17 AUGUST 1944, Page 2

Uprooted People

The report which Sir Herbert Emerson presented to the Inter- governmental Committee on Refugees last Tuesday was an en- couraging document ; encouraging no less for its evidence of dove- tailed co-operation than for its record of practical fieldwork. This Committee, which was founded in 1938 at the Evian Conference promoted by President Roosevelt, was reorganised last August so that it might deal with the immediate rescue of fugitives from perse- cution, and with post-war problems of relief and welfare. It now has thirty-seven members, including neutral Argentina. But mean- while many other organisations have come into being to tackle the problems of reception and relief of refugees. To the many existing voluntary associations the departments of 'national governments, the International Red Cross, the High Commission of the League of Nations and the I.L.O., have now been added the War Refugee Board of America and U.N.R.R.A. The Intergovernmental Committee

has contrived to define its functions in relation to these bodies- carefully co-operating where there is an overlap, but assuming as its special role the care of those who cannot or do not wail to be repatriated, and who, therefore, must be found new homes and new citizenship. It works through accredited representatives in tht countries most affected, and already has representatives in Wash. ington, Rome and Algiers. Since the end of April Sir Clifford Heathcote-Smith has done much valuable relief-work in Italy, where. he is officially attached to the Allied COntrol Commissioh. As a result of massive German persecutions and deportations, the relief of refugees is of immense scale and complexity, and there is plenty of work for official, semi-official and voluntary bodies of all kinds. But complexity would only be increased by untidily overlapping organisations, and it is essential much care should be given to co-ordination and smooth co-operation.