Baggage label used by migrants in the the United States Escapee Program (USEP) circa 1950. It is part of a collection of shipboard souvenirs collected by Margaret Wood an officer in the Department of Immigration from 1951-1960. As part of her role Margaret met migrant ships arriving at Station Pier in Melbourne and she often received gifts from ship staff.

Margaret first worked in the Department of Alien Assimilation which focused on migrants post arrival, before moving to the Assisted Division which handled the reception of assisted European migrants arriving in Melbourne. Her final position was working for the General Assisted Passage Scheme, assisting migrants from the US, Scandinavia and Switzerland who came individually on general ships as opposed to migrant ships. She recalls her time with the Department with great pleasure. She was a young single woman and had just finished an Arts degree at Melbourne University. When she applied to the Public Service, she was placed with the Department of Immigration, as she spoke German. She left when she married in 1961 as per the policy at that time.

The USEP was launched in 1952 with a $4.3 million budget to help resettle people who had fled Communist Eastern Europe for the West. It has been suggested that the USEP was more than a package of measures designed to assist individuals fleeing to Western Europe. The program was described by a State Department official at the time as a 'a bright beacon to induce large scale defections from satellite Europe'.

Physical Description

White paper rectangular baggage label has stars and stripes shield in red, white and blue with black printed text.

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