Letter from General Secretary Carroll to Apostolic Delegate Cicognani with Proposal on a Catholic Committee for the Resettlement of Displaced Persons, October 22, 1946

Portrait of Bishop Howard Carroll

Portrait of General Secretary of the NCWC Bishop Howard Carroll, from the Bruce M. Mohler papers

Carroll writes to Cicognani in what is obviously a private letter, not intended for publication, introducing the War Relief Services-National Catholic Welfare Conference’s proposal on resettlement. Among other things, Carroll mentions that the Undersecretary of State had assured Cardinal Stritch confidentially that the US government would be willing to pay the cost of transporting Displaced Persons (DPs) from Europe to Latin America, and that the US government was in some stage of negotiation with Latin American governments over placing DPs there. In the proposal, on the other hand, we find more edited and smoothed-over viewpoints that seem intended for a larger audience. The document, written after the Vatican gave its approval for an American Catholic Committee on Displaced Persons, explains the global situation and the crisis which the US bishops are attempting to address. Although the US government has good intentions towards the DPs, the document says, it does not have enough resources to aid them on its own. On the other side, threatening the DPs with forced repatriation, stand the forces of Communism. The Communist mentality, or at least the US Bishops’ conception of it, is summed up in a section of the proposal entitled “The Totalitarian Attitude”. Among other things, in this proposal we find a handy sketch of the political events in post-World War II Europe that led to the rise of the “Iron Curtain” and the captivity of Eastern European nations in the Communist bloc. The proposal casts the Catholic Church in the role of savior for these DPs, rather than assuming that secular international organizations will do the work.

 

Letter from General Secretary Carroll to Apostolic Delegate Cicognani on a Proposal for a Catholic Committee on Resettlement of Displaced Persons

Carroll to Cicognani on Catholic Committee on Resettlement of Displaced Persons

Questions:

  • Why does this proposal rule out the possibility of refugees and DPs permanently settling in Germany, where many of them temporarily reside in refugee camps? Besides the United States, what other countries are discussed as potential destinations for resettlement?
  • Which US government figures have the US bishops been corresponding with regarding the question of Displaced Persons and their care?
  • Do the US bishops anticipate that they will receive help from the US government or from international organizations in the resettlement effort? Why or why not? If so, what kind of assistance?

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