McDonalds quits his job - his call for "collective
[Early 1935: France
refuses work permits to Jewish refugees [also] because
of economic crisis]
McDonald's main problem was France. There, in early
1935, French Jewish committees defending French
government policy explained why no work permits could be
given without increasing anti-Semitism in an economic
crisis situation. JDC, McDonald's main ally, was
represented by Kahn, who stated his strong disapproval
of the French Jews and argued that many people,
including 1,200 children, were literally starving in
Paris - a situation that was completely unjustifiable.
(End note 33: R16)
The partial or complete failure of his efforts finally
led McDonald to consider resigning his post. By the
autumn of 1935 the French were treating McDonald "like a
small office boy whose services are no longer needed and
who should be dismissed on the spot", as Kahn put it.
(End note 34: WAC, Box 323 (c), Kahn to Warburg,
10/30/35 [30 October 1935])
[Sep 1935: McDonalds
gives up his post and suggests Norman Bentwich]
McDonald was too independent, too demanding, and too
energetic. He was moving to radical positions. In a
letter to Eleanor Roosevelt he prophesied a further
great exodus of German Jews and asked how long these
matters were to be regarded as purely of German domestic
(End note 35: WAC, Box 324 (a), McDonald to Mrs.
Roosevelt, 7/24/35 [24 July 1935])
Finally in September he decided to resign, and suggested
Norman Bentwich as his successor.
(End note 36: WAC, Box 324 (a), McDonald to Warburg,
9/9/35 [9 September 1935])
[On 15 September 1935 the Third Reich is issuing the
letter: McDonalds calls for "collective action"]
His resignation was a political act. It took the form of
a letter to the secretary-general of the League of
Nations and was published in the world press either
verbatim or in fairly extensive (p.149)
(End note 37: Dated 12/27/35 [27 December 1935]; see
Jewish Chronicle, 1/3/35 [3 January 1936])
Norman Bentwich, James N. Rosenberg, and Felix M.
Warburg had been fully consulted, and the letter was
really something of a collective effort. Specifically,
McDonald condemned Nazi policy toward Jews and called
for "collective action" by the League of Nations,
denying that this was an internal German problem.
Practically speaking, his demand for "friendly but firm
intercession with the German Government, by all pacific
means on the part of the League of Nations, of its
Member States and other members of the community of
nations" was hardly likely to move the Germans, even had
it been accepted. But the value of the document lay
mainly in the unequivocal condemnation of German
policies emanating from the international official
charged with dealing with the refugee problem.
[British voices mean,
Hitler would give in]
McDonald's resignation had no immediate positive effect.
Some papers in Britain that published extracts from the
letter showed in their comments how far removed they
were from a realistic appreciation of the situation.
On December 10, 1935, for example, the London Times
Germany would not be able to withstand the pressure of
public opinion, and the News Chronicle
added that Mr. Hitler
would ignore world opinion at his peril.
[14 February 1936: New
high commissioner is Sir Neil Malcolm]
On February 14, 1936, the League of Nations designated a
retired British general, Sir Neil Malcolm, as the new
high commissioner. When asked what his policy would be,
he replied clearly and succinctly: "I have no policy,
but the policy of the League is to deal with the
political and legal status of the refugees. It has
nothing to do with the domestic policy of Germany."
(End note 38: Quoted in Morse, op. cit [While Six
Million Died; New York 1968], p. 191)
[Joint sees that the
High Commission cannot help - Joint has to help
The attempt to deal with the Jewish refugee problem on
an international and humanitarian level had met with its
first failure; it constituted a severe check to JDC's
efforts of rescue and aid to German Jewry. These efforts
centered mainly. (p.150)