Kellogg Impressed with Plea of Jewish Delegations for U.S. Intervention Against Roumanian Persecutio
Menu JTA Search

Kellogg Impressed with Plea of Jewish Delegations for U.S. Intervention Against Roumanian Persecutio

Download PDF for this date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Secretary of State Kellog declared that he was deeply impressed with the gravity of the charges regarding the persecution of Jews in Roumania, at the conclusion of pleas presented to him for the intercession of the United States government by a delegation representing the American Jewish Congress, headed by Dr. Stephen S. Wise.

“This is abhorrent to every American,” Secretary Kellogg said in referring to the persecutions. The Secretary promised to reply to the delegation after making a careful study of the protest. He added that he had every sympathy “with the ideals of religious liberty and racial and cultural equality.”

The Secretary of State gave a lengthy sympathetic hearing to the delegation at the State Department.

It was declared by members of the delegation that the hearing given to the delegation at the State Department was impressive and dramatic in character both because of the impassioned plea of Dr. Wise and the recital of Rev. Louis C. Cornish of Boston, vice-president of the American Unitarian Association and twice chairman of the Anglo-American Christian Commissions to Roumania. Rev. Cornish spoke in the name of all Christian groups in denouncing Roumania’s anti-Jewish persecutions. He told the Secretary that he was overwhelmingly convinced as a result of his investigation in Roumania, of the ill-treatment of the Jews in that country and the failure of the Roumanian government to take proper preventative steps. This information, he declared, was not obtained from Jews, who did not dare to complain because of fear of government retaliatory measures, which usually follow any Jewish protest, but by certain Christian ministers in Roumania who pleaded with him to use all his efforts to secure American intercession, particularly on behalf of the Jews who are in such great danger, although the other minorities are also persecuted.

It is understood that the Secretary of State will request a full report from the American Minister in Bucharest, William S. Culbertson. What formal position the United States Government will be able to take cannot be forecast in view of the various international technicalities regarding American-Roumanian relations. The Secretary displayed such sympathy and interest, however, that it was plain he will take official reports bear out the delegation’s charges.

Secretary Kellogg requested the delegation to submit full data. This request was complied with by the delegation which submitted material which had been prepared. Supplementary data will be submitted to the Secretary, it was stated.

Dr. Wise, in behalf of the delegation, presented to Secretary Kellogg a set of resolutions adopted at the mass meeting held recently in New York. Dr. Wise told of the efforts made to rectify the abuses–constant promises and evasions on the part of the Roumanian government. Citing various instances of the interest which the United States government has shown in assuring fair play and justice to oppressed peoples, Dr. Wise made a fervent plea for action. He said the continuous and never-ending maltreatment of the Jews in Roumania was a blot upon our civilization and stood in the way of that advance of peace and human fellowship for which the large masses of people here and abroad are working and praying.

Dr. Cornish stated that Christian fellowships in the United States, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Unitarian, having religious affiliations with the same denominations in Roumania, were intensely interested in the welfare of the Jews. As a Christian minister, Dr. Cornish said that he represented the Christian interest in the United States on behalf of the Jews. In conclusion he stated that before Roumania took possession of new territories, particularly in Transylvania, Jews, Catholics and Protestants had lived together in mutual respect and good will; that this good will among the Christian minorities in Transylvania today found expression in profound sympathy for the appalling sufferings of the Jews.

Following the address of Dr. Cornish, Leo Wolfson called the attention of the Secretary to the inhuman treatment of Jewish students in the Roumanian universities. He stated that there has been introduced by the Roumanian government practically a numerus clausus which has really turned into a numerus nullus, as in some schools of the universities there is not a single Jewish student.

Judge Gustave Hartman, Grand Master of the Independent Order Brith Abraham, pointed to a number of precedents in the Department of State for taking action. In connection with this matter, he recalled the note which the late Secretary of State, John Hay, sent to Roumania with reference to the persecutions of Jews in Roumania at that time.

“While it is true,” Judge Hartman declared, “that one government may no” interfere in the internal affairs of another government, nevertheless when such government fails to protect its inhabitants or a considerable portion of them from crimes of violence and bloodshed and so conducts itself towards them as to subject them to barbarous and inhuman treatment, to persecution, oppression, pillage and massacre as to shock the finer sensibilities of the civilized world, it is a recognized tenet of international law. and justice that another government, in the name of humanity, may intercede in their behalf and adopt such measures as may be deemed proper and necessary to save them from the outrages so cruelly inflicted upon them.

“It was this principle of international law that the government of the United States invoked years ago when John Hay, Secretary of State, issued his memorable protest against the massacres of our people and brought them immeasurable relief as a result of the vigorous action of the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt.

“We urge that the government of the United States now do likewise with respect to the deplorable situation of the Jews in Roumania, confident that the intercession of the United States will bring to an end the terrible sufferings of our people and earn their everlasting gratitude.” Judge Hartman stated.

The Delegation consisted of Dr. Stephen S. Wise, President of the American Jewish Congress; Hon Elihu D. Stone of Boston, Honorary Vice-President of the Congress; Emanuel Hertz and Benjamin Titman, members of the Executive Committee; Judge Gustave Hartman and Max L. Hollander, respectively Grandmaster and Grand Secretary of the Independent Order Brith Abraham; Maurice D. Rosenberg, representing the Independent Order B’nai B’rith; Martin O Levy, Grand Secretary of the Independent Brith Sholom; Henry J. Hyman, Grand Secretary of the Independent Order Free Sons of Israel; Leo Wolf-con, Solomon Sufrin, Bennett E. Sieg-elstein and Herman Speier, representing the United Roumanian Jews of America; Judge Milton Strassburger, representing the Washington Jewish Congress Committee, and Bernard G. Richards, Executive Secretary of the American Jewish Congress.

Accompanying the Delegation were also Representatives Isaac Bacharach of Atlantic City, Meyer Jacobstein of Rochester, Mrs. Florence G. Kahn, of California, Samuel Dickstein and Nathan D. Perlman of New York.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund