Charles A. Buckley (1890-1967), a Democratic congressman from New York, sought to open Alaska to Jewish refugees from the Nazis.
First elected in 1934, Buckley represented his Bronx district on Capitol Hill for thirty years. In November 1938, following the Kristallnacht pogrom, Rep. Buckley wrote to the White House, offering to introduce a bill to permit Jewish refugees to settle in Alaska. He argued that the plan would not only save the lives of the refugees but would be beneficial to the undeveloped territory.
President Roosevelt’s reply, drafted by the State Department, rejected the proposal on the grounds that it “would in effect make Alaska foreign territory for immigration purposes, which would obviously be out of the question.”
Rep. Buckley was also a supporter of the Bergson Group’s American League for a Free Palestine.