Saranac Lake, N. Y. (Jul. 8)
Interesting details of the developments preceding the issuance of the apology of Henry Ford were learned by the representative of the Jewish Daily Bulletin from Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, who is on vacation here.
“Earl J. Davis of Detroit, formerly assistant attorney general of the United States, and Joseph Palma of New York, both friends of Henry Ford, came to me as his representatives,” Mr. Marshall stated, “and stated that Ford was satisfied that those whom he had put in charge of the Dearborn Independent had taken advantage of him by publishing a series of articles attacking Jews, and as he had been covinced that all of the charges made against them individually and collectively were without foundation and unjust, he wished to know what could be done to put an end to these conditions.
“I stated very fully the gross injustice and the harm that had been done by these publications both here and abroad. I told them that the Jews had been grievously wounded by these libels and that mere words would not heal the injury.
“I stated that there were a number of things that must be done. Particularly that there must be a complete retraction of all the false charges made, an apology, a discontinuance of the attacks, and amends of the wrong. After further discussion they said they would report to Ford what had taken place in the interview.
“Some days later, ” Mr. Marshall continued, “they called on me again and indicated that Ford would accept these conditions. There followed further discussion over the telephone and otherwise, with the result that on Tuesday of last week I was told that Ford was ready to sign the document which I received on Friday of last week with a letter addressed by Ford to Davis asking him and Palma to deliver his signed statement to me,” Mr. Marshall declared.
WHAT FORD SAY
Mr. Ford’s statement, which was released by Arthur Brisbane to all newspapers in the United States, declared:
“In the multitude of my activities it has been impossible for me to devote personal attention to their management or to keep informed as to their contents. It has therefore inevitably followed that the conduct and policies of these publications had to be delegated to men whom I placed in charge of them and upon whom I relied implicitly.
“To my great regret I have learned that Jews generally, and particularly those of this country, not only resent these publications as promoting anti-Semitism, but regard me as their enemy, Trusted friends with whom I have conferred recently have assured me in all sincerity that in their opinion the character of the charges and insinuations made against the Jews both individually and collectively, contained in many of the articles which have been circulated periodically in the Dearborn Independent and have been reprinted in the pamphlets mentioned, justifies the righteous indignation entertained by Jews everywhere toward me because of the mental anguish occasioned by the unprovoked reflections made upon them.
“This has led me to direct my personal attention to this subject, in order to ascertain the exact nature of these articles. As a result of this survey I confess that I am deeply mortitied that this journal, which is intended to be constructive and not destructive, has been made the medium for resurrecting exploded fictions, for giving currency to the socalled protocols of the wise men of Zion, which have been demonstrated, as I learn, to be gross forgeries, and for contending that the Jews have been engaged in a conspiracy to control the capital and the industries of the world, besides laying at their door many offenses against decency, public order and good morals.
“Had I apprceiated even the general nature, to say nothing of the details of these utterances, I would have forbidden their circulation without a moment’s hesitation, because I am fully aware of the virtues of the Jewish people as a whole, of what they and their ancestors have done for civilization and for mankind toward the development of commerce and industry, of their sobriety and diligence, their benevolence and their unselfish interest in the public welfare.
“Of course, there are black sheep in every flock, as there are among men of all races, creeds and nationalities, who are at times evildoers. It is wrong, however, to judge a people by a few individuals, and I, therefore, join in condemning unreservedly all wholesale denunciations and attacks.
“Those who know me can bear witness that it is not my nature to inflict insult upon and to occasion pain to anybody, and that it has been my effort to free myself from prejudice. Because of that I frankly confess that I have been greatly shocked as a result of my study and examination of the files of the Dearborn Independent and of the pamphlets entitled ‘The International Jew.’
“I deem it to be my duty as an honorable man to make amends for the wrong done to the Jews as fellowmen and brotheres by asking their forgiveness for the harm I have unintentionally committed by retracting so far as lies within my power the offensive charges laid at their door by these publications and by giving them the unqualified assurance that henceforth they may look to me for friendship and good will.”
ARTHUR BRISBANE’S CONWARSATION WITH FORD
Arthur Brisbane, through whom Ford’s statement was published in all American newspapers, being prominently featured, gives the following version of how the apology came to be made.
“Some time ago this writer talked with Henry Ford at Dearborn, and Mr. Ford made it apparent at that time that he was not conscious of the effect of articles for which he had been made responsible, or of their true character. He said most earnestly:
“‘Nobody can accuse me of being hostile to the Jewish people as a race. I employ thousands of them. They include many of my ablest associates. This building, which I believe to be the finest of its kind in the world, was built for me by Albert Kahn, Jewish architect here in Detroit, a man in my opinion with no superior. You know about the Wayside Inn which I bought in New England to perpetuate its interesting memories. I wanted to have it refurnished with authentic furniture of the correct period, tried various dealers, not Jewish and could not get what I wanted. I then asked a Jewish dealer in Boston. Mr. Saks, to do the work for me and he has done it for me ever since, satisfactorily and honorably. I am hostile to concerns that seek to control others and make money harder to get, no matter what their race or religion, but I am not hostile to Jews.’
“Later, on the same day, the writer had luncheon with Mr. Ford at the Dearborn plant in a room reserved for Mr. Ford and his principal employes. The first man that entered, Mr. Ford introduced as ‘one of the best men that has worked with me from the beginning.’ The man is a Jew.
“Mr. Ford then told the writer that he had frequently protested against articles in the ‘Dearborn Independent’ dealing with Jewish criticism, and that it was his intention to forbid thereafter any articles that could be interpreted as reflecting race prejudice. The writer asked Mr. Ford if he would not make sure that his intention would be strictly carried out by selling the ‘Dearborn Independent,’ This writer offered him $1,000,000 for the property on behalf of W. R. Hearst.
“‘No,’ he said, ‘I won’t sell it, but I am going to make it a house organ, and I am going to stop absolutely everything that could possibly cause complaint or hurt the feelings of anybody.’
“Since that time the statement above quoted has been written.
“It heals a sore spot in our national life, and the whole country will rejoice at the news here published.
“It is as great a satisfaction to the writer to publish this statement as it will be to millions of others, Jews and non-Jews to read the statement. This column has been sent through all news agencies to all newspapers.
“The writer, knowing the work that Jewish men and women have done for civilization, industry, commerce, prosperity and charity all over the world, is glad of the opportunity to publish Mr. Ford’s generous retraction of anti-Jewish statements and accusations, not one of which was written by him. His work has made him one of the most useful men in the world, and for seven years past this writer has sought, as opportunity allowed, to impress upon him the fact that others acting for him have offended a great body of good useful and honorable American citizens.
“Mr. Ford’s statement, all of which is published above, settles the question so far as he is concerned for all time, and will be accepted by those most interested in the spirit in which it is made.
“There could be no greater curse tor this republic than race or religious hatred among those that should cooperate in building up national success and happiness. Henry Ford would be the last man, knowingly, to injure in any way the United States, to which he has rendered greater material service than any man since Lincola.
“This writer and many others can testify that Mr. Ford has not been conscious of the harm done and injury caused to the feelings of many of the most useful, praiseworthy citizens in this country by articles that have been published, backed apparenly by the great influence of Henry Ford’s name. Without that name they would have amounted to nothing.
“Mr. Ford has done more than merely order those in charge of his publications to discontinue articles painful and unjust to millions of good citizens. He deeply regrets these articles, prepared. of course, by others for the Dearborn Independent, and has completely retracte, individually and collectively, statements for which those hurt and injured by them have thought him responsible.”