Slattery Report

The Slattery Report, officially titled The Problem of Alaskan Development, was produced by the United States Department of the Interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's secretary Harold L. Ickes in 1939–40. It was named after Undersecretary of the Interior Harry A. Slattery. The report, which dealt with Alaskan development through immigration, included a proposal to move European refugees, especially Jews from Nazi Germany and Austria, to four locations in Alaska, including Baranof Island and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Skagway, Petersburg and Seward were the only towns to endorse the proposal.

The reportEdit

In November 1938, two weeks after Kristallnacht, Ickes proposed the use of Alaska as a "haven for Jewish refugees from Germany and other areas in Europe where the Jews are subjected to oppressive restrictions." Resettlement in Alaska would allow the refugees to bypass normal immigration quotas, because Alaska was a territory and not a state. That summer Ickes had toured the Territory of Alaska and met with local officials to discuss improving the local economy and bolstering security in a territory viewed as vulnerable to Japanese attack. Ickes thought European Jews might be the solution.[1][2]

In his proposal, Ickes pointed out that 200 families from the Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin had settled in Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna Valley.[citation needed] The plan was introduced as a bill by Senator William King (Utah) and Representative Franck R. Havenner (California), both Democrats. The Alaska proposal won the support of theologian Paul Tillich, the Federal Council of Churches, and the American Friends Service Committee.


The plan failed to win support from leaders of the American Jewish community, with the exception of the Labor Zionists of America. Rabbi Stephen Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, stated that adoption of the Alaska proposal would deliver "a wrong and hurtful impression ... that Jews are taking over some part of the country for settlement."[1]

Some non-Jewish Americans also moved against the proposal, relying on a backlash of anti-Jewish rhetoric to suggest that the proposal would allow Jews to enter America as "Trojan horses" and carry Marxist ideology with them.[1][3]

The plan was dealt a severe blow when President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Ickes that he insisted on limiting the number of refugees to 10,000 a year for five years, and with a further restriction that Jews not make up more than 10% of the refugees. Roosevelt never mentioned the Alaska proposal in public, and without his support the plan died.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Raphael Medoff (November 15, 2007). "A Thanksgiving plan to save Europe's Jews". Jewish Standard. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  2. ^ Tom Kizzia (May 19, 1999). "Sanctuary: Alaska, the Nazis, and the Jews". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  3. ^ Kizzia, Tom (16 May 1999). "Sanctuary: Alaska, the Nazis, and the Jews. Part 1, Beacon of Hope". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2009.