||Title: Despatch from H.M. Ambassador at Washington Reporting on Conditions at Ellis Island Immigration Station. Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty.
At the invitation of the American Secretary of Labor, the British Ambassador was given a tour of the facilities at Ellis Island by Robert E. Tod, Commissioner of Immigration, Port of New York. Ambassador Geddes reports on the deporable conditions he witnessed, and goes on to make practical recommendations towards the future, including the construction of separate stations for Jews and non-Jews: “After considering the matter with some care, I have come to think that it might be feasible to divide the stream into its Jewish and non-Jewish parts. Persons of the Jewish faith require special food and utensils, and their being mixed with Christians on the island undoubtedly creates considerable administrative difficulty” (p.9). Ambassador Geddes goes on to suggest that the United States Government “build a relief station and supply at it...food prepared in accordance with the Jewish ritual and send all immigrant Jews to that station and all non-Jews to the other” (ibid.) Earlier, Geddes observes how distatsteful it was for “a cleanlooking Irish lad” to be thrown in with “a very unpleasant-looking individual...from some Eastern European district” (p.7).
The following year, the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act of 1924, imposing severe quotas limiting immigration to this country, effectively closed the doors of the United States to Jewish immigrants. The clear aim of this legislation was to restrict the entry of immigrants from Eastern Europe, while welcoming large numbers of newcomers from Britain and Ireland.