As of April 22, 1944, children began to arrive in Spain; the JDC took credit for their escape through the Pyrennes. Norweb conveyed a message from Joseph Schwartz (the JDC rep. in Lisbon) to Moses Leavitt (JDC in NYC): “six children arrived in Spain as first group and more are expected to follow...guides arranged by us brought them thru Pyrennes and they are now in our care in Barcelona...will attempt to provide children with visas under US commission plan or, in case of those having close relatives there or preferring Palestine, certificates for Palestine." On May 1, Hull relayed a message from Pehle to Robert Dexter (the WRB rep. in Lisbon) that the World Jewish Congress (and its rep. Isaac Weissman) should cooperate with the Joint Distribution Committee and its representative Joseph Schwartz. In his cable to Robert Dexter, Pehle argued that the rescue program would be "greatly endangered" and fewer lives saved if these two organizations (one Zionist and one not) would not cooperate. In addition, Pehle made implicit reference to Palestine when he stated that the "problem" of where the children would go, should only be decided once they had been saved.
Norweb to Cordell Hull, conveying a message from Joseph Schwartz to Moses Leavitt, Cable no. 1214, April 22, 1944, WRB, Box 46, File 15.
Hull to Norweb (relaying message from Pehle to Dexter), at the American Legation in Lisbon, Portugal, cable no. 1229, May 1, 1944, WRB, Box 46, File 15.
Joseph Schwartz (JDC) in Lisbon sent a cable to Moses Leavitt (JDC) in NYC to advise him that the World Jewish Congress representative (probably Isaac Weissman) had set up "separate relief child care facilities for children who may arrive from France." Schwartz seemed alarmed since this representative refused to "avail himself of existing facilities"; Schwartz explained that the "alleged" reason for this was that the JDC opposed the children's immigration to Palestine. In addition, this representative was claiming that he had "authorization" from his central office in New York, even though Arieh Tartakower (the director of relief/rehabilitation of the WJC in New York) told Schwartz that this was not true. No children had yet arrived, but these arrangements were causing "confusion" for the embassies and community members. He asked Leavitt to "clarify with World Jewish Congress," exactly what their plans were. This demonstrates that the organizations themselves believed their work to be in conflict. The WJC set up separate facilities (thus creating competition over the same population of children refugees) and claimed it was because the JDC opposed immigration to Palestine.
Cable from Joseph Schwartz to Moses Leavitt (JDC in NYC), May 6, 1944, WRB, Box 46, Folder 15.
The WRB was "deeply disturbed" about the "friction" between the JDC and the WJC in Portugal; Pehle feared it would "interfere with the actual rescue of children from France." Pehle asked Robert Dexter to use his power as the WRB representative there to "prevent competitive duplication" since the main goal was the "saving of lives." Pehle additionally stated that while the WRB "appreciated" having Isaac Weissman's (WJC) perspectives, they wanted to hear from Joseph Schwartz (JDC representative) and Dexter. Pehle reiterated that the decision about where to send the children should only be made "after they have been saved." He reminded Dexter that there were 1000 US visas and Canadian visas (number unspecified) available for the children in Spain and Portugal. There were also Palestine certificates available. The last part of the cable emphasized that the WRB would not be financing this rescue or maintenance effort but instead would rely on "private organizations" unless funds were inadequate. Pehle reminded Dexter of the license provided to the JDC to carry out rescue from Portugal and of the substantial funds the JDC had available. The WJC had applied for a similar license, and the WRB had recommended that a license be issued to them.