An explanation of his part in bringing about Henry Ford’s apology was given by Joseph A. Palma, head of the United States Secret Service in New York, in a statement to the press.
In his statement Mr. Palma said that it was he who gave Mr. Ford the first intimation that misstatements of fact were appearing in “The Dearborn Independent”. The Secret Service man went to Ford to complain about errors that had appeared in an other article, and during the conference mention was made of the anti-Jewish articles. The retraction of last week, the Palma statement says, was made “without thought of personal gain, politics or anything else except to right a wrong to the very best of his ability.”
The statement in part read:
“Several months ago ‘The Dearborn Independent’ published an article in which my department was interested. At my first opportunity I took this up with Harry Bennett, chief of the Ford sercret service, whom I have known for a number of years, and called his attention to a number of inaccuracies. When I questioned him as to where he got such information, he made it very plain indeed that his department had had nothing to do with gathering it; that it had been handled entirely by the organization of ‘The Independent’.
“I then asked him if the same thing was true in regard to the Jewish articles, and he said that it was; that the Ford secret service had had nothing to do with them. Then he further surprised me by saying that Mr. Ford was really an admirer of the Jews.
“He regards them as an essential people,’ he said.
“Subsequent to my talk with Bennett we called on Mr. Ford and took up with him the article in which I was interested. He promptly called in one of the editors of the magazine–he seemed to be much put out that more misinformation had been published and told him that in the future nothing was to be printed unless the paper had full proof in its possession. ‘You know my policy is to print only the truth; that this paper is to be a medium of instruction and not of destruction,’ he said.
“After some further conversation, mention was made of the articles on the Jews. Mr. Ford said that for several months he had been making a quiet investigation and was really surprised at some of the statements that had been made in ‘The Independent’. He said that he was for the Jew; that he had thousands of Jews in his employ, and that he would employ thousands of others if men of the right type and character could be found.
“‘The Jew is essential not only to America but to the world in general,’ he said.
“‘I wish this thing could be stopped and the wrong righted,’ he exclaimed.
“I was so pleased that I really was stunned, so cannot say whether Bennett or I made the suggestion that he take steps to stop it. I remember I promised to help him all I could.
“‘Go to it,’ he said. ‘I know you can do it. It’s a fair and honorable thing to do. When my real views are explained to the proper people they will know that I’m prepared to act honorably in this matter, and that so far as I am able to repair any damage that has been done.’
“With Mr. Ford’s permission, we got in touch with Earl J. Davis. Mr. Davis was United States District Attorney in Detroit when I was stationed there; he was former Assistant Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Bennett and I called on Mr. Davis, and we had another meeting with Mr. Ford, wherein Mr. Ford expressed his sentiments and his wishes as he had to me.
“Mr. Davis and I came to New York. Knowing that George Nordinger, deputy field chief of the Internal Revenue Department, had a large acquaintance with influential Jewish people, we took the matter up with him, and with him met Nathan D. Perlman, former Representative, who is connected with numerous influential Jewish organizations. He arranged a meeting with Louis Marshall, which was held a few days later, and the negotiations started. Several days later Mr. Ford’s statement was prepared and signed and sent by air mail to Mr. Marshall after advising him by telephone that it had been mailed.
“There has been some comment on the fact that this retraction did not come until so late. Most people look on Mr. Ford merely as a builder of automobiles. But he has hundreds of other interests in addition to the motor cars; he is on the sea, in the air, he’s a miner, a glass manufacturer and at heart he’s an inventor. He detaches himself from the world in his inventions. Therefore it is reasonable to believe that he did not give attention to what was going on in his paper. But when he did find out he acted characteristically. I might say that he went all the way.
“I want to make it clear that the action he took was entirely of his own free will and accord. He did it without thought of personal gain, politics or anything else except to right a wrong to the very best of his ability.
“I want to say also that my part in this matter was merely that of a private citizen and a personal friend. I was in a position to be of service and I availed myself of the opportunity.”
“The American Hebrew” will publish an article in its issue of July 15th, by E. G. Pipp of Detroit, former editor of Ford’s paper, which declares without equivocation that Ford knew of the articles and that they were printed to further his ambition to become President of the United States.
The alien population of the United States increased by 29,592 persons in May, the Immigration Service announced, this being a balance left by the departure of 23,126 alien residents and the admission of 52,718 as newcomers.
Mexico furnished 6,856 immigrants during May and Canada 5,259. Germany accounted for 4,934 the Irish Free State 3,534, Great Britain 2,659 and Italy 2,507.