Just an interesting piece of evidence of the curious behavior of the Roosevelt administration toward the Jews during WWII
Bingham came from an illustrious family. His father (whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based) was the archeologist who unearthed the Inca City of Machu Picchu, Peru, in 1911. Harry entered the US diplomatic service and, in 1939, was posted to Marseilles, France, as American Vice-Consul.
The USA was then neutral and, not wishing to annoy
Marshal Petain's puppet Vichy regime, President Roosevelt's
government ordered its representatives in Marseilles not to
grant visas to any Jews. Bingham found this policy immoral
and, risking his career, did all in his power to undermine
In defiance of his bosses in Washington, he granted over 2,500 USA visas to Jewish and other refugees, including the artists Marc Chagall and Max Ernst and the family of the writer Thomas Mann. He also sheltered Jews in his Marseilles home, and obtained forged identity papers to help Jews in their dangerous journeys across Europe. He worked with the French underground to smuggle Jews out of France into Franco's Spain or across the Mediterranean and even contributed to their expenses out of his own pocket. In 1941, Washington lost patience with him. He was sent to Argentina, where later he continued to annoy his superiors by reporting on the movements of Nazi war criminals.
Eventually, he was forced out of the American diplomatic
service completely. Bingham died almost penniless in 1988.
Little was known of his extraordinary activities until his
son found some letters in his belongings after his death. He
has now been honored by many groups and organizations
including the United Nations and the State of Israel.