From a report of the Chief of the French Police in the Bouches du Rhone Department to the Minister of the Interior, 30 December 1940
Subject: the suspect activity of Mr. Varian Fry…
I respectfully submit the information that you have requested in the above mentioned letters about the American Rescue Center and Mr. Varian Fry who is its President.
Mr. Varian Fry was born 15 October 1907 in New York where he resides. He entered France on 14 August 1940 and came directly to Marseille. His visa is valid until 15 January 1941. In America Mr. Fry serves as an editor in an association that deals with foreign policy matters. In France he is the president of the American Rescue Center, 60 rue Grignan in Marseille. He resides in 63 Avenue Jean Lombard Campagne, Air-Bel.
I. Activity of the American Rescue Center: This organization’s objective from the beginning was the rescue of most prominent intellectuals who had been expelled from their countries, by having them released them from camps, enabling them to leave France, to enter the USA and assisting them financially.
In reality the Committee soon expanded its activities and it is not clear that they don’t have other interests in mind. At any rate, it is certain that the Committee did not always adhere to legal formalities in obtaining its objectives. The proof is that the Rescue Center is operating separately from the Comite de Coordination des Oeuvres which deals with emigration and is headed by Mr. Lworie, the President of the YMCA in Marseille.
The American Rescue Center supports even those foreigners that are not interested in emigration. It rather focuses particularly on international extremists who are not more interesting for the USA than for France or the Reich.
II. Relations between the American Rescue Center and the American Authorities: This is no doubt the reason that the American government, estimating that the activity of the Committee may harm the good relations with France, has asked Mr. Fry and his close associate Mr. Bohn to return to the US. This order was given on 25 September 1940. Dr. Bohn obeyed, Mr. Fry is still in Marseille.
III. The Activity of Mr. Fry and his relations with the French Authorities: since his arrival, Mr. Fry addressed many requests to the authorities in Vichy and to my department in Marseille. The insistent nature of his approach, the hints of blackmail in his letters when he doesn’t shy from alluding to American interests and the resulting difficulties between his government and France if I and my services didn’t oblige satisfactorily – all these caused the greatest reserve on our part.
IV relations between Mr. Fry and the police: He was classed “under surveillance” by the Special Police from the moment of his arrival in Marseille. On their part, the surveillance services searched the premises of the American Rescue Center on 22 October 1940, implementing an order by the Judge Leon who is investigating an affair of false passports and foreign currency trafficking. Although this operation was unsuccessful, the Commissioner who his the chief of the surveillance services believes Mr. Fry and his associates to be extremely harmful to the relations between the American and French authorities, especially in what concerns emigration….
V. Relations of Mr. Fry with the American authorities in Marseille. Mr. Fullerton, Consul-General of the US in Marseille, came to see me several times in order to discuss the Fry case. He informed me among other things that I have reported to my superiors, that the US embassy notified the American Press Association not to follow up on Fry’s requests. He also asked me to do the necessary in order to rid him of Fry. He assured me that Fry would not miss the opportunity to exploit his arrest in producing anti-French propaganda.
VI. Conclusion: to sum up – 1) Mr. Fry is leading an operation that under the guise of emigration protects foreigners of doubtful morality or of political tendencies that are hostile to France. 2) Although the Special Police, the Surveillance services and the Surete are unable to make concrete charges, they are all three interested in Fry. 3) He keeps the company of and hosts anarchists. 4) Not only doesn’t he enjoy the support of the American government, but they will be glad to see him leave.
In consequence, I propose Mr. Fry’s expulsion.